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No, this isn’t a post about drinking too many Red Bulls or Monsters.

This is about how we’re wired. What makes us go. What makes us stop. What makes us unsure.

motherboardNow, if we were all automatons, robots, gizmos, or devices, we would be wired to turn on when a human decided we should, programmed us to, or determined when we would be turned off. We would boot up at their discretion. They would push our buttons. The tragedy and bliss would be that if we were those robots, those motherboards, we wouldn’t care. We work for them. If I was an i-Pod and someone loaded me full of Lawrence Welk accordion music or Slim Whitman (look them up, kids) I wouldn’t have any say about it. I would play the music, and not have the opportunity to weigh in with my likes and dislikes.

Not so with people.

We LOVE to let everyone know what we think, how we feel, how others make us feel, all the time. That’s all we do. We are in our own little mortal coil packages, wired uniquely from all others. No one else knows what it’s like to be us, and we cannot ever completely imagine what it’s like to be them.

The tragedy and bliss comes from when we attempt to understand others, when we’re sympathetic, empathic, or antithetic. There’s the rub. When others think they are allowed just as much freedom as we are to weigh in with opinions, positions, ideas, and viewpoints, we think they’re geniuses when they agree with us, knuckleheads when they don’t.

That’s the very essence of tolerance. We do not have to agree with each other, but if we want to hang onto our humanity, we have to at least provide the free speech, free press, and basic human rights to each other. Otherwise, we might just be powered down.

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Penelope: Step away from the loom and no one will get hurt.

Penelope weaving colorI am in the middle of a BIG project right now. I just call it the BIG project. It’s BIG. It’s expensivem, and it’s all-consuming.

Smart Penelope, in an effort to ward off unwanted suitors, used the ruse of weaving a burial cloth for her father-in-law Laertes, and when she was done, she would choose. Cleverly, it was unwoven every night.

I am unintentionally unraveling myself every night. Every night, I think about the BIG project. Every moment, I think about the BIG project. I write a little bit. I edit a little bit. I read a little bit and try to make sense of the pattern, the weave, or the texture.

What colors do they want? Do they want something complicated, or will they understand some of the nuances? Do I explain everything to the point of over explanation, or are my sequenced commentary, albeit BORING, sufficient to jumping through the flaming hoops? They are the suitors. And somewhat unwanted. But the end result will be worth this journey.

I hope.

A trusted colleague reminded me this BIG project doesn’t really make one a better teacher, although many teacher say it does. I can’t really imagine how; I feel like I was already there, and in some ways, this process hinders my authentic connections with my students. I make an emotional note to myself that every time a student gives me a smile, is excited to work on a project, or shares some burden or joy. I cannot weave those textures into the BIG shroud. Those stitches hold me together, keep me believing, in myself, and what I do.

Dang. Now that’s really BIG.

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Interview with an immortal.

Hold your horses!
Hold your horses!

What would Zeus do?

Those are the questions you’re asking as you analyze a character.

There are many ways to analyze a character.


 Ask yourself:

What do you look like?

What is your day like?

What is your status in the world?

What relationships do you have?

What symbols or tools would represent you?

Do you have any special gifts or training?

What is one story that defines who you are?

If you could be someone else, who would it be?

What is one thing you regret?

What is one thing you are most proud of?


Once you have a handle on your own “character,” perhaps you can start to control another.