Stuck on this stupid planet,

Jan’s poetry class came in Friday. She is pushing them to pull research into their writing and is requiring them to find a piece of prose, a work of art, a historical writing…something that inspires them to write a response. Without the push, these new poets are inclined to write about a latest crush. So we did a session on berry-picking and finding inspiration. The pursuit of some info tidbit with the bigger intention of a brush with the serendipitously inspirational…I love this! It is joyful and even as it encourages sophisticated research, it really can’t miss so if feels non-threatening.

To introduce myself and get the discussion going I shared this story from my childhood. When Star Wars first came out I got to see it on the big screen. This was a big deal! In 1977 I was about 9 and being a small town kid from Sherwood I didn’t see a lot of movies in the theater. A whole group of us kids got to go and it was totally awesome, I think I may have said it was rad. That night at home, I climbed to the upper deck of our backyard fort and sobbed (a mini-meltdown). Luke was beautiful and tortured and needed my help…I could be Han Solo…or Darth Vader…my hair was almost long enough to roll into side braids…it was confusing and serious and none of it was happening in Sherwood. Where was my big life soundtrack? Why was I stuck on this stupid planet?!

Of course I thought my planet was boring because it wasn’t very big, basically my small town. When I started writing, that’s what my journals were all about “my backyard”…the Michele story…me. All about me and now that I’m done writing about me, what do you think of me? This bores even me. How could I make my planet bigger? What could I bring to my writing that wasn’t just in my backyard? And now we’re back to poetry research.

All in all the class went well, but here’s what I would do different. This time, I had the students work in pairs to find interesting items in the catalog and then on the shelf, next time I would have them interview each other in pairs and charge each student with finding something to support the other person’s interest. I’m still thinking about the logistics of this part, but I like the interview idea.

And now I leave you with this memorable scene of Darth Vader giving an info lit smack down.

Darth Vader: Don’t be too proud of this technological terror you’ve constructed. The ability to [use a wiki] is insignificant next to the power of the Force.
Admiral Motti: Don’t try to frighten us with your sorcerous ways, Lord Vader. Your sad devotion to that ancient [catalog] has not helped you conjure up the stolen data tapes, or given you clairvoyance enough to find the [author’s] hidden [website]…
[Vader makes a pinching motion and Motti starts choking]
Darth Vader: I find your lack of faith disturbing.

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