Thursday, August 29, 2013

Global Concerns

And now for something completely different (and way cool):

Peter Bellerby, Artisan Globemaker.
(Thanks and a tip o' the hat to Beverley Shiller.)

I think that this is a good example of what can happen when you get lucky and fall down just the right kind of rabbit hole. Bellerby starts by wanting to buy a globe for his grandfather, can't find what he wants, decides to try to make one on his own, winds up teaching himself how to do it, and soon he's got a business going that is completely unique and engrossing. It's also a very interesting combination of digital and analog, high-tech and high-touch.

His journey is analogous to the journey I was encouraging my sophomore students today to open themselves up to in writing, where you start just by doing whatever there is to start with, and then, if you get lucky, the writing starts to run away with you in a direction you had not anticipated and leads you do to work you did not know you had it in you to do.

Watching the video put me in mind of a poem by James Reaney I've had in my files for years, but had not re-read recently:

The School Globe

Sometimes when I hold
Our faded old globe
That we used at school
To see where oceans were
And the five continents,
The lines of latitude and longitude,
The North Pole, The Equator, and the South Pole—
Sometimes when I hold this
Wrecked blue cardboard pumpkin
I think: here in my hands
Rest the fair fields and lands
Of my childhood
Where still lie or still wander
Old games, tops, and pets;
A house where I was little
And afraid to swear
Because God might hear and
Send a bear
To eat me up;
Rooms where I was as old
As I was high;
Where I loved the pink clenches,
The white, red, and pink fists
Of roses; where I watched the rain
That Heaven's clouds threw down
In puddles and rutfuls
And irregular mirrors
Of soft brown glass upon the ground.
This school globe is a parcel of my past,
A basket of pluperfect things.
And here I stand with it
Sometime in the summertime
All alone in an empty schoolroom
Where about me hang
Old maps, an abacus, pictures,
Blackboards, empty desks.
If I raise my hand
No tall teacher will demand
What I want.
But if someone in authority
Were here, I'd say
Give us this old world back
Whose husk I clasp
And I'll give you in exchange
The great sad real one
That's filled
Not with a child's remembered and pleasant skies,
But with blood, pus, horror, death, stepmothers, and lies.

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