Saturday, April 13, 2013


with wanderlust I set out
fulfilling the prophecy of my departure
leaving home, finding home
a past could be erased

I grew without growing
knew without knowing
history is ever changing
the future's set in stone

destiny beckoned
I offered but my tongue
then veiled my blush behind Irish luck
and feigned yet indecision

Agony! to want not to want
then magic and war and children
taught nothing, but bore me on
and named me destroyer

again I fled, effacing the past
running here, then there
plunging into darkness
where finally I found light

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Internet and Education

I think education is going to have to change. Classrooms are no longer the primary source for knowledge; information on anything is literally at our fingertips. Whether or not this is a good thing I will leave for you to decide, but one thing is for sure: gaining knowledge is no longer going to require a classroom.

Teachers should transition from givers-of-knowledge to teachers of what-to-do-with-knowledge. How do we deal with contradictory accounts of the same events? How do we look critically at what we see and read online or anywhere else? How do I know how much I am influenced in my opinions by those around me?

We still need traditional teachers, obviously.  For math.  Just kidding.  We need teachers to teach how to learn, rather than what to learn: how to come to a conclusion after weighing information from multiples sources; how to process the surfeit of information that is pouring into us every day; how to find meaning in madness.

One of the reasons I love studying psychology is because everything I learn attempts to be as objective as possible and most of my teachers are very forthcoming about her or his own biases.  They will often present a theory then include what its critics say about it, leaving us to decide with whom we agree, or if we agree with either of them.

I doubt very much that we as humans can shed all biases and I think we're always going to be influenced by our social environment, but if we can learn discernment to any degree we will be better off, and with so many competing narratives, this is the direction the classroom should go.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Search for Authenticity

I've started reading a new book about how to write called, "If You Want to Write: A Book About Art, Independence, and Spirit" by Brenda Ueland.  I've read books on publishing, but for some reason I never thought I needed a book on how to write. As I get older (and humbler) I recognize how much room I have to improve.  Instead of a technical writing manual with rules about how to write compelling story lines, it promotes (as of the first 3 chapters) self-expression and an authentic voice as the key to good writing.

Just a few days ago I was asking myself what my voice as a writer should be. Hopefully this book will help to clarify that for me. More importantly I was reminded of the very first paper I wrote in my first college writing class; the thesis was that as an author I couldn't hide myself from a reader and so may as well embrace vulnerability and reveal myself through my writing. Funny how I had forgotten that.

A few years ago a really talented voice teacher (currently playing Marius with the touring company of Les Miserables), referred the book, "Freeing the Natural Voice"by Kristin Linklater, as a the text on which he based his singing technique. That technique improved my singing, my acting, and even the way I speak normally.

Psychologically, I think living authentically is one of the best things we can do for ourselves.  It makes sense to me that the best writing, and the best singing come from a natural and authentic emphasis as well.

So... in search of my authentic voice, and motivated by the inspiring writings of the late Ms. Ueland, I am going to write more, more often, and more conspicuously.  To hell with my obsession with perfection that normally dissuades me from writing. I expect that readers will forgive what they dislike in exchange for an authentic look into a writer's soul.