Monthly Archives: August 2012

The Code of the Classroom

Like Andrew, I also had to write a first draft of my “philosophy of education”. Perhaps calling it a “hypothesis” would be better- either way I’m sure reality will do an awful lot of editing for me! Here’s my plan … Continue reading

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My “Philosophy of Education”

It is silly for me to have a philosophy of education, as I am twenty-two years old. Still, I was asked to write one for class, and this is what I came up with. There are some slightly annoying terms … Continue reading

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In which I preach (hopefully) to the choir.

Please be nice to retail people. Don’t drop things on the floor. Make eye-contact. Don’t make comments about their physical appearance. Pretend like they are a real person with feelings. Don’t let your children run wild. Don’t snap at them … Continue reading

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Today I discovered a superpower- I’m pretty sure. My jam finally gelled (jelled? jammed? became solid-ish) and after a serious taste test Andrew and I have approved it. It’s hard not to approve it because IT IS DELICIOUS. Ginger-peach jam … Continue reading

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In which I confess my fascinations

While looking for a fairy tale that I’ve been thinking about I stumbled across this short story (  that completely blew my mind. There’s something about Jewish writers- Potok is hands down one of my favorites of all time- that has a latent power. I don’t know if it’s the story centered culture or the mixture of mysticism and reality that blends so naturally but it’s a chord that’s almost unmistakable. Really the only thing that comes close for me is the South American writers like Marquez or Allende who blend Catholicism, animism, and cultural upheaval with the same magical realism. Something about them has a stronger hold on me than almost any other style- perhaps is the deep awareness of suffering. These writers, both the Jewish and the South American deal with suffering in a way that both creates a reasoning for suffering but also faces it with a sort of stoic acceptance. It seems suffering simply is and as such must be written in a matter of fact way. There isn’t a strong sense of railing against it’s existence or attempting to avoid it. Fatalism is the bright copper thread that carries the spark of the stories. This fatalism isn’t that of defeat or despair but rather a sort of recognition of story. The power arises with in when the narrators accept our position as characters rather than authors. Things will play out as they must because people are who they are, because things are as they are, because the story must be told. As this short story says: “We have only to deliver the story,” cautions Gabriel. “We are not the authors of people’s lives.” 

For those who are interested, I strongly recommend Potok’s “My Name is Asher Lev”, Allende’s “House of the Spirits”, and Marquez’s “100 Years of Solitude” (“Love in the Time of Cholera” is a masterpiece as well). I’m afraid I’ll be setting all my other books aside until I re-read these. 

For further discussion of Potok and how much, and why, I love him, here are two attempts at explaining my fascination with him. They are poetic in form and therefore not as straightforward as this prose but Potok has a power I can’t handle in prose, at least not with the skill he deserves. 

First is “Why I read Asher Lev jealously” :

Secondarily is “Why I fear Asher Lev” :

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