Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Drab Text books

I wrote the first little story for the first lesson in the seventh grade text book yesterday. There wasn't much too it. Though I long to write deep thematic, fantastic epics, I've come to grips with writing watered down stories for ESL students. And even though my editors don't have a lick of imagination, I try to drop subtle pictures in that I hope the students will pick up on and perhaps, peek their interest in dreaming.

The story I wrote and sent away yesterday was less than three hundred words. A girl goes on a field trip with her class to the Natural History Museum and goes floor to floor visiting the different exhibits. The top floor, the fifth floor, was the MAN EXHIBIT. The girl sees displays of people playing chess, writing symphonies, constructing skyscrapers, and in the last exhibit, traveling to space.

I got the notes back from the editor today. She suggested changing that exhibit to show the history of man. "Maybe you could write about cavemen building fires and hunting with spears" she wrote.

No. No. No. Why should I change that? Why do educated people scoff at romantic portrayals of Man, replacing them with brutish cartoon characters?

I am seeing now that almost every shred of imagination is ringed out of educational material. They bore me to tears. I know that children respond when you ask them to open their minds. I have schools requesting that I teach their students. You think someone would ask me why my students don't fall asleep. Why my classes are fun. Why kids open up to me...

I am just tired of people unwilling to believe in magic--the nobility of Man. Children do, that is why we get along so well.

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