Thursday, November 02, 2006

Slapdash & Slipshod

They have said--and they will continue to say--that accomplishment is a function of preparation. And they have been--and they will continue to be--wrong. Preparation is what we do to keep our own sanity. Accomplishment is the accident for which you must prepare, not the fruit of that preparation.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Someone who, unbeknownst to me, keeps up with my goings and doings almost exclusively through my blog pointed out today that it had been a while since I'd posted. I have to admit that I didn't realize just how long it had, in fact, been. So I'll try to catch y'all up a little, and I'll do so as quickly as possible.

I'm about 2 1/2 weeks into my teaching project . . . and loving it. I don't know if I'm any good at it, but I'm . . . well, I'm tremendously proud of my kids. To be fair, it's only been KIDS for one class; it was KID for most of our time.

Our class is growing slowly. But then, what I'm teaching, while hardly new or radical, is a little esoteric. Offering to isolate the philosophical and responsive principles of martial arts for the sake of creating physical, improvisational, generative theatre exercises is confusing enough for the average layperson, or even for theatre practitioners unaccustomed to generative work, let alone to young people of limited-to-nonexistent theatrical experience who have strugged within the public school system.

But for all of that, the kids who HAVE come to study have been enthusiastic, receptive, occasionally enraptured. The girl we've been teaching at the beginning has not only been studying at home, but has been teaching her roommate the exercises, and finally dragged the roommate to the class on Sunday (she'll now be joining us every Sunday, being unavailable for our Tuesday and Thursday classes). Even the parts of the training that may seem more hokey to some--like the recitation of the Dojo Kun (an absolute article of faith for me)--are going over like gangbusters.

Now, I don't have any illusions that my teaching is what's making this click; I'm just happy that it's clicking for my first formal teaching project. I wonder whether there isn't an unsavory, paternalistic character to the satisfaction I derive from this project, but I can only hope that my doubt and fear that this might be the case means I'm checking in on my intentions adequately, and making offerings in good faith.

Anyway, if all goes well, I should be able to head up a second, more advanced class in this sometime in the next year, and then maybe a version for paying adults sometime in the next 3-5 years. Or not. Right now, I'm just focused on teaching the class as is.

In other news, the magazine for which I did some writing in September and October has been contacting me about creating a subheader, a blurb for the cover, and a synopsis for the table of contents, as well as a photograph and a bio for the "Contributors' Page". So it looks like the article is getting published. No word on the reviews, but they're better than the articles, if only because I have more experience writing reviews, so it all bodes well. I intend to throw myself a little party when the issue comes out.

I had an audition today, and I have another one on Sunday. Today's didn't go all that well, I think, but I've had worse. The people for whom I was auditioning were roundly pleasant, though, so it's not a total loss.

Okay, that's it. Sorry I couldn't come up with something more well-written, but I'm afraid this entry is what I could squeeze out between my many other obligations.

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Blogger Missuz J said...

re: I wonder whether there isn't an unsavory, paternalistic character to the satisfaction I derive from this project. (I still can't fucking do italics)

Honey--could you just, um, feel good about it? Period?

On the other hand, why is paternalistic satisfaction (I assume you are speaking to feeling fatherly pride in your student/s) such a bad nasty?

Just wonderin'

3:57 PM  
Blogger thelyamhound said...

It depends on what one means by "paternalistic". I'm not concerned with the kind of paternal feelings that can naturally spring up between teacher and student; to me, the kind of paternalistic--as opposed to paternal--attitude that I'd hope to avoid would be the, "Look at me, the enlightened white liberal, offering hope through good life skills to these poor disadvantaged youth." It's bad nasty because it's condescending and self-congratulatory.

As to whether I could just, um, feel good about it . . . sure. But I have moral doubts about many of the things that make me feel good. I think it behooves me--or anyone--to listen to those doubts and address them.

4:09 PM  
Blogger Missuz J said...

Paternal vs paternalistic. A new one for me.

I wasn't poking fun of your moral doubts; I just think what you're doing is super cool, and want for you to feel good--proud--great--successful without strings attached. That's all.

4:14 PM  
Blogger thelyamhound said...

Here's a reasonably concise definition of paternalism:

pa‧ter‧nal‧ism  /pəˈtɜrnlˌɪzəm/
the system, principle, or practice of managing or governing individuals, businesses, nations, etc., in the manner of a father dealing benevolently and often intrusively with his children: The employees objected to the paternalism of the old president.
[Origin: 1880–85; paternal + -ism]

I've only recently been introduced to the word myself; I think it's something you become aware of when you're in a liberal city that chooses to play nanny-state by eliminating indoor smoking, and that harbors more well-meaning-but-fatally-naive do-gooders than any other in the country. You start to worry a little as to whether your consciousness is corrupted by pride or incorrect thinking.

I guess I'm just checking myself to be sure I'm approaching the task with the proper humility.

I do appreciate the compliment, especially coming from a real teacher. :^)

4:23 PM  
Blogger Stine said...

I am SO very happy that you are taking to the teaching like you are. I have ALWAYS known that you were meant for it. You have a lot to teach these kids, and in turn, the world. Do you honestly think I would have been with you since the stone age if you didn't teach me things every day.

You are at the genesis of focusing these talents and intentions. From here, they can only grow and flourish. You will be teaching an getting paid to write reviews full-time - soon.

I am very proud of you, and couldn't be happier that you are finally getting your chance to shine. I love you dearly.

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just one note about the Dojo Kun, and any that might think it hokey -- As a very liberal minded but every day more observant Jew that is highly conscious of the "words" that I choose to say with spiritual intention -- if everyone of us could at the very least agree to start with the principles that you have folks recite, we would have already shifted into the "world to come." Thank you for begin the type of leader that has students recite such beautiful simplicity.


3:26 PM  
Blogger Stine said...

time to post about a certain general you will be playing...

or I will.

9:29 AM  
Blogger JJisafool said...

Just about damn time to post. Where you and your lady been? I miss me some Whiteness.

7:49 PM  

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