“Klesmer's thoughts had flown off on the wings of his own
statement, as their habit was.”
-- George Eliot, Daniel Deronda
Don’t thoughts often do this – winging away as soon as we’ve put them into words, soaring off to far-flung worlds of new thoughts? And isn’t this one of the best things about thoughts – their restlessness, their ability to travel to mental places we never knew existed? I’m lucky to see and experience this phenomenon everyday in English class. My students and I give voice to innumerable thoughts each day, and all those thoughts, I’m sure, take wing as soon as the words leave our lips. They flutter off to who knows where, with us following in our whimsical ways. In this manner, we let our thoughts lead to other thoughts, which make new words for us to speak, which set more thoughts soaring off in search of more new thoughts to make more new spoken words. It’s a high-ceilinged, haphazard, freestyle sort of experience, this thinking in English class – somewhat like spring breezes starting countless other breezes blowing. Growing up, I was often advised to discipline my thinking, to tighten the reins on my thoughts, and no doubt there’s a place in school for that kind of regimented thinking – but there’s also a place for liberated, all-over-the-place thinking. Especially in English class, adventurous thoughts shouldn’t have to stay in birdcages.