I am a ghostwriter, my own ghostwriter. So while this blog is indeed mine, it is that of the shadowed selves i sometimes fail to recognise as being me. If writing writes you, sometimes revealing those things that you hadn't intended for it to say,* then I write with the intention of exposing me to myself. sketching serendipity therefore depicts a series of thoughts and experiences in the hope of projecting a multidimensional self-portrait in the making.

* J.M Coetzee's theories on writing in Doubling The Point.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Teachers: unacknowledged experts in their fields...

Observing teachers who have 20+ years’ practice in teaching English language and literature is an overwhelming and intimidating experience. They teach literature as if they know the texts by heart (which I am beginning to think they do), and respond to students’ questions in ways that are indicative of their clear confidence before a classroom. Although I consider myself to be confident in my knowledge of literature at 3rd year level, I don't have the ability to confidently prattle off Shakespeare as if it were the chorus of a song. How do teachers remember random verses and their places within various texts with such precision? That’s my classroom observation ‘wow’ moment.

Indeed, there are as many literary texts in the world as there are people (which may be an exaggeration – or not) and it is a fact which bothers me. At present, I am reading through Othello, The Great Gatsby, notes on visual literacy, The Kite Runner, Macbeth, and poetry.  These texts are but drops in an ocean of literature, the majority of which I feel I ought to know and understand well enough to be qualified to teach. Nonetheless, all marvellous teachers were budding experts at one point in their lives. For me, that point is here, the Right Now of today.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Travel Ticket

The world's most truthful metaphor: Life's a journey... and we travel it even when we're in limbo. We often think that our worlds stop when we stop moving, but for as long as we are all thinking, our worlds are expanding to pave unchartered routes to understanding. It is a false perception that crossroads and dangerous bridges are the pausing places of a journey, when they are in fact opporunities for contemplation and implementing the wisdom we have gained. This is the real journey; the one that occurs in our minds and hearts, as we learn to think and feel more deeply about the same situations. Movement is like a trained camel - a vehicle for movement, and thoughts are their riders, steering them from oasis to danger and back.

And the true traveller is he whose thoughts unshackle him from his primitive being, causing him to soar across his mind's journey in search of that which we all seek - true knowledge for knowing, for being, in a temporary world.

This is my opinion, though others might disagree. I have included an old afrikaans song about travellers, some (or all) of whom you may find familiarity with.


Oh, you that wisdom's glory claim,
I ask that you the drifter name:
The one that parts without good bye,
Or she that stays at home to cry?
Which one?

Oh, which the life of drifter leads,
The one that travels, or that reads?
The one that wanders far on foot?
The one that longs while staying put?
Which one?

And which the life of drifter seems,
The one on foot, the one in dreams?
The one that roams to distant shores,
Or he that looks through smoggy doors?
Which one?

Oh, you that wisdom's glory claim,
I ask that you the drifter name.
The one with packs who roams about?
Or he whose dreams are not lived out?
Which one?

*Not my own translation. I can't find the author's name and so i have included  a link to his rendition of it instead:   http://groups.yahoo.com/group/learn-afrikaans/message/2011?var=1

"Be in this life as if you were a stranger or a traveler on a path."
                                   -The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Bukhari