A few of us here at The Compass went to college with Ryan, the author of today’s guest post. He is a deep thinker, able to conjure elaborate sentences and cut them down with a funny line. His post today is dense, but worth your time. So take a few minutes and read this story. Ryan shared this as way of introducing the piece: “…all I ask is that you say it is fiction so people will know it’s not about me. I stick with fiction because it is impossible to say just what I mean.” Enjoy.
Beyond the Scenes
Love was such an easy game to play”
He called up all the ringers. This was to put together a team specifically for a tournament that had been dominated for years by an exclusive group consisting of the sons and sons of friends of those who organized the event and thought they were in control. They were missing the point. The point is not control, the point is fun. It would be fun to beat them with a whole team of players they never heard of. The funny thing is that some of the players on this new team were as oblivious to the situation as everyone else was to them. At that young age my own brain, for instance, was only developed just enough to content itself with doing what I was still learning, in my own vague way, to do. Just playing took all of my focus, because a twelve year old is not supposed to have the discipline to understand how anything near perfection is only possible without effort. And yet on the other hand, doing what you’re not supposed to do is a cool thing for a twelve year old. What I remember the most about playing is not making a save, but waiting for a shot. The only way to be still enough to be ready to move wherever the shot went was to trust my reflexes to get me there no matter where it went.
The thing that will really help you in this game is that your first love, hockey, has already developed your instinct to let nothing get past you. When you get to every ball, the other guy will just fall apart.
The Trailhead that I posted on Sunday has gotten a few responses over the past few days. Here is the first from a reader. Sam Slaughter is someone I met roughly six months ago. He’s a writer, and this is hopefully the first of many guest posts to come. A quick reminder: if you’re interested in responding to this week’s Trailhead, please do so! Send your playlist to email@example.com or by clicking “Submit!” above.
Today’s guest post comes from an old friend of mine, Liana. Liana does a pretty good job of introducing herself below, so I won’t attempt to add anything. I will say that if you are ever interested in contributing something to The Compass, we would love to post it! Click the “submit” tab at the top of the page or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope you enjoy today’s post. - Paul
I’m a teacher in Baltimore City. Well, a teacher, a counselor, an advocate… in short, a wearer of the multiple hats I must be to achieve success with my students. I haven’t completed many written works in the past two years outside of the dozens of songs, poems, raps, skits, and stories created for the classroom. I have missed my personal creative side terribly.
Today, encouraged by two brilliant men in my life – one from the past, the other very much from the present – I felt that part of myself awaken again. I was driving along North Avenue when the first two lines came to me. This man from the present had used the phrase “lost in translation” three times within a twelve hour period. I had never given it much thought, shockingly as I consider myself a rather analytical polyglot. Yet, it wouldn’t leave my mind. By the time I had pulled into the parking lot of my school, my mind was racing and my fingers burning to hold a pencil – the way they used to. There was an issue of translation I knew I had to capture before the wave of creativity settled into foam.
When conversing, my students and I do not speak different languages, although sometimes it feels that way to both of us. What I have learned though, through my relationships with many amazing young people over my first three years in urban education, is that often the simplest student-generated conversation comes from a deeper place within my students: a place yearning for, at the absolute minimum, connection with humanity and stability. Many of my students have hung around, talking to me about their versions of what we adults refer to as “the weather.” Many of those many have hung around long enough to tell me what is really on their mind.
In this poem, each two part stanza is written about a different student – a real, flesh-and-blood person you are entirely able to bump into during the course of your life. The first part, comprised of four lines, tells their story – the reason they hung around to talk to me about “the weather.” If you read it and it makes you uneasy, you are reading it correctly. If you read it and it makes you angry, you are reading it correctly. If you read it and it makes you contemplate life – yours, ours, or theirs – a little bit more deeply, you are reading it correctly.
The second, two-line part of each stanza is what the students say. For this poem I have chosen to remain on one topic – that of a student borrowing a book. At first, there was little significance to this; today, when I wrote it, I was simply distributing free books from my classroom library to any interested student at the close of the school year. What I realized as I wrote was that each line the students say aloud can connect metaphorically to what they are thinking – be it in terms of length, beauty, sound, and more. If you can’t see it, try again. If you still can’t, drop me a line and we’ll set up a coach class.
The last thing I want to mention in this introduction is the “vernacular” as the man from the present puts it. As a lover of language and languages, I have paid attention to my students and their natural, free-flowing speech for years. While I thought of writing this in standard English, I realized I would be doing them such a disservice. The subject would no longer be they and the readers, whatever small number they may be, would never know my students for who they really are. So, I have given my best attempt to express these ideas and this conversation to you as my students have done to me.
Oh yes, one truly final note: I am Ms. C.
Hello all. What lies below has only occurred once before at The Compass: we have a reader-submitted guest post. Huzzah! If you are interested in sharing your own writing, artwork or any other creative work, click the pencil icon above labeled “Submit!” Part of the mission of The Compass is to inspire others to create - we’d love to provide a home for it, anytime.
Today’s post comes from a good friend of The Compass, Cait. Cait is a wonderful young licensed librarian concerned with issues relating to feminism and disabilities (and a lot of other things, as you can see from her Tumblr. She’s also on Twitter.) As a blog started by four young white guys, there has not been a great deal of diversity at The Compass. Cait’s helping us out with this essay (the title is mine, the rest is her’s).
I know I probably won’t win any fans with this, because this post is going to be about feminism. Feminism is an intensely polarizing subject for many people as they find themselves confused by, angry at, and dismissive of the issues presented. Feminist discourse ranges from critiques of public policy, analyses of your favorite media, and even dissections of commercials and portrayals of women.
These are all important, as trivial as some of it may sound. However, I would like to point out that I am not expecting to convert anyone. My goal is simply to get you to consider the media you look at and how it reflects society. I will attempt to break it down with this extremely link-happy post. Click them! They are interesting!
When I say I am a feminist, I mean that my feminism is intersectional. This means I do not only think about just how women are affected, but also how they are affected by race, gender, class, sexuality, disability - basically anything that can set a person apart. Unfortunately, most feminist discourse is dominated by the rich, hetero, cis women. There are a lot of factors to take into account here when thinking about feminism, because we are all shaped by different experiences. Straight women experience life differently than gay women. Cis women experience life differently than trans women. White women experience life differently than Black, Latin@, Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern, Inuit, Native American, Aboriginal, or Filipina women. Abled women experience life differently from disabled women. I also would also like to note, while we are still at the beginning, that I am a white, hetero, cis female with a disability (deafness). This is important to know, because I cannot speak for other people whose experiences I did not have – an especially important factor of intersectionality. You do not get to speak for someone else because all races are not a hegemony. This is something I have run into a lot when speaking about deafness – many people seem to think they understand what deafness is and that all deaf people share similar qualities, which isn’t true. That is why it is exceptionally important to seek out the perspectives of those belonging to the culture you are doing research on (and why I have included so. many. freakin’. links. that. you. should. read.). Don’t take my word for it because I am completely unable to speak for everybody – educate yourself on these matters.
It is important to take into account ALL of these experiences in order to determine how the world can be better for everyone. However, most people don’t. They simply chalk up feminism to women’s rights. But feminism should be more than just women’s rights. It should be about all of these different experiences and perspectives.
It is also extremely important to criticize portrayals of women in media. You don’t even know.