So this week, I had an opportunity to watch Neil Gaiman at The Warfield on Wednesday night. This was a “bucket-list” item for me, as seeing one of my favorite authors read live is something I’ve always wanted to see. A big thank you goes to my family who set this up for my birthday.
As far as the experience itself, it was a fascinating show, filled with music, laughter, and art, but for me, hearing Gaiman read live was a rather interesting experience. Not to mention the classic beauty of The Warfield itself.
For the first time, aside from watching YouTube videos which clearly doesn’t replicate the ambiance of setting (especially in the case for The Warfield), the “flow” was truly felt (I’m a big fan of “flow”). Neil was there to read his story The Truth is in a Cave in the Black Mountains, accompanied by FourPlay, a very talented string quartet, and Eddie Campbell, a very talented artist (known for his Bacchus comic) who helped illustrate the tale.
During the show, it was apparent that Neil had a subtle charisma, if there is such a thing, that radiated through the audience. Many people were thoroughly engaged and at certain points in the performance, it was eerily quiet as everyone seemed perched on a precipice, waiting for each word of Neil’s as a life-line. It was amazing to watch and to be a part of, without a doubt. Throughout the night, it was like peering into the thought process of how an author visualizes his own work, which to me, was invaluable. It was all parts funny, sad, dramatic, and beautiful. With FourPlay (also a very funny source for a few bits earlier in the show – they played the Doctor Who theme!) also enhancing the artwork by Eddie Campbell which was being shown on the big-screen behind Neil, it was an immersive experience as well.
The rest of the trip to San Francisco was just spent trying find a few good spots for pictures 🙂 Are a few of them I took as well.
I’ll write later about the Art Club Field Trip as well 🙂
I’m regretting the fact that I stopped writing on this blog somewhere in September. I wish I could have kept posting in terms of the progress of the classroom and how it ended up as we closed on the 2013 – 2014 school year.
I’ll definitely miss this group.
They were “maddening” as I once mentioned, not focused, and didn’t understand the concept of perseverance. To a certain extent, they still haven’t mastered these skills. But, they are so much better than they were at the beginning of the year.
There was a point, when we got back from Winter Break, where I asked the classroom “to become legendary.” I meant that in the sense of not only achieving a great deal academically, but more importantly, learning to become better students and people along the way. “Level 5” is something we mention constantly in the classroom, a philosophy that states “I am considerate of others.”
With that in mind, this classroom was legendary.
I already have a number of great memories created out the of the everyday grind of the 2013 – 2014 school year, but I’ll just write about the two that are standing out in my mind at this point.
1) The students decided to throw a surprise birthday party for me, once they learned the date of my birthday. Working in coordination with my colleagues and the school counselor, they ended up pulling it off 🙂 I thought that was an incredibly thoughtful gesture on their part and it made me extremely proud that they whole class could come together for something like that.
2) There is a girl in my class who wants to become an astronaut and the exchange we had at the end of the year will be something I remember. It reminded me that we, as teachers, have a great impact in the lives of our students, and if we are wise in how we use this impact, we can definitely change the lives of the children of the communities we work in. I told this girl, as she left for the year (though I’ll see her, hopefully, on our summer Art Club field trip) that if she “ever launches, I’ll be there. Just work hard and if you become an astronaut, I promise I’ll be there when you go up.” The smile she gave told me all I needed to know. And there will be nothing to stop me from fulfilling that promise, when she goes up 🙂
With that, we’ll see if I can keep this up for next year. It’s interesting to re-read some of the things I wrote at the beginning of the year and to see the classroom as they grew and matured into the class I was hoping they would be.
That was legendary 🙂