John and I have been busy lately, and even our email exchange you can hear our respective buzzing and giggling. Taking the year off from Crossroads has been good in several ways, but maybe none more than the benefit of re-realizing how much fun this all is.
We know what city Crossroads will be in 2011.
And we have the dates pinned down: September 25-27.
And, we have our poet. We’ve had amazing poets in the past, but … well, you’ll just have to wait and see. I’ve typed out and deleted so many times the official announcement that I feel like I’ve already betrayed the secret.
Once we figure out the exact locale whittled down from the many great offers on the table, we’ll let you all know. Right now we’re just looking at fine details, things like menu selection and how the chairs are arranged in a given meeting room. (If you’re going to be at ASTE in Minneapolis in January, we should be able to tell you all the details.) For now, mark your calendars and start to mull over your Vexations and Ventures. Maybe you could start with the inspiration of a poem, or two. These, at least for me, give me pause and are discussion prompts for classes and reminders about the purpose of education and the roles of teachers and other human relations:
by Naomi Shihab Nye
A teacher asked Paul
what he would remember
from third grade, and he sat
a long time before writing
“this year sumbody tutched me
on the sholder”
and turned his paper in.
Later she showed it to me
as an example of her wasted life.
The words he wrote were large
as houses in a landscape.
He wanted to go inside them
and live, he could fill in
the windows of “o” and “d”
and be safe while outside
birds building nests in drainpipes
knew nothing of the coming rain.
How to Paint a Donkey
by Naomi Shihab Nye
She said the head was too large,
the hooves too small.
I could clean my paintbrush
but I couldn’t get rid of that voice.
While they watched,
I crumpled him,
let his blue body
stain my hand.
I cried when he hit the can.
She smiled. I could try again.
Maybe this is what I unfold in the dark,
deciding, for the rest of my life,
that donkey was just the right size.