Tuesday, April 10, 2012


    I often wonder, when I’m working with my students, where our thoughts come from. Each moment, more ideas than we can keep track of make their appearance in my classroom, clashing and combining and causing all kinds of new creations, and yet we can see no source for the thoughts, no place we can point to and say, Yes, here is where this idea began.  You might say we are part of a fast-flowing river as we sit in English class, a river of thoughts that doesn’t seem to start anywhere and is impossible to stop. When I’m teaching, I sometimes imagine myself sitting beside this river, scanning the thoughts as they stream past, and realizing again that it would never be possible to isolate one thought and trace it back to its source somewhere far upstream, just as a single ripple in a river doesn’t have its beginning in some separate spot above it. Thoughts and rivers flow from nowhere, or from everywhere. A single drop of moisture in the air beside me this morning has surely been in the making for many countless years, and this thought that’s making this sentence might have had its start in the mind of someone long, long ago, and, one way or another, been slowly passed along to me, here where I'm sitting in my small school on this soft morning in April, thinking about my upcoming classes that will surely surprise me with thoughts from what seems like a distant nowhere.

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