Snapshot: Reading Key, listening to Vivaldi, dreaming of Midsummer
by Mr. Sheehy
Lots going on at the moment, all of it good, as far as I’m concerned.
I’m currently reading: Harrison Scott Key’s latest, Congratulations, Who Are You Again?
I would love to make Key get some miserable job and watch him skewer it with his wit. Would he go back to teaching in a high school just so I could read his observations? I love what he does in one section of this book with a brief foray into salesmanship and fundraising.
I found many great books, like The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which gave me great career advice while simultaneously making me want to microwave my own head. The advice included such helpful nuggets as synergize, which is known as “collaboration for jackasses.” The book also taught me to “put first things first,” in which I was instructed to complete urgent tasks before non-urgent tasks, which made me sad that the world needed a book to explain this, and so I non-urgently hurled this book into the garbage. Other books introduced me to bone-chilling new words and phrases, such as influencer, low-hanging fruit, and breakfast-meeting.
In the classroom, my sophomores are still struggling through A Midsummer Night’s Dream. We’re trying to have fun. Seared in my mind is the gentleman who played Helena as a deranged old man–it certainly made it clear why Demetrius would run far, far away from her, leaving her to the mercy of wild beasts. Another student says she’s going to start calling people acorns as an insult, proving that Shakespeare is relevant in unexpected ways.
This week The Curator published an essay of mine about libraries. It’s a longer piece, which I hope doesn’t turn off readers, but it gave me an excuse to praise the public libraries of my life.
In eighth grade, our long-term substitute teacher must have misread the class requirements because she assigned us 10-page papers on a local history topic—a challenge for high school students—and we had to use holdings that were locked away in the library’s basement. That basement was everything you’d imagine of a 100-year-old New England library’s basement—dark and a bit damp, with a chained-off area. By now my imagination has augmented the scene so much I picture an arched doorway and iron gate, but I’m probably making that up.
In Bible study I’ve been teaching Solomon’s building of the temple. We were looking at the fulfillment of promises so clearly depicted in 1 Kings, recognizing how the Promised Land functions as another Eden, the people ultimately blessed by God’s presence in the Temple. How amazing to see this recurring idea in scripture, that God desires to be present with his people. If Solomon will be faithful, Yahweh promises, “I will dwell among the children of Israel” (1 Kings 6:13). Solomon won’t be faithful, but that does not change Yahweh’s desire to dwell with his people, which recurs with Jesus (whose name is “Emmanuel,” God with us), and is is the lynch pin to the beautiful culmination of Revelation 21:
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people,and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
While working I took a break from listening almost exclusively to the Danish String Quartet (Wood Works and Last Leaf are fabulous albums) to revisit Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Please, Lord, hear this playing of “Spring” as a plea for mercy from single digit temperatures.
I completed the program for the upcoming writers’ conference we’re hosting for AP students. The cover art is from a student, Eva Nichols. I believe it is time for her to start taking paid commissions.