Sometimes lines or passages from books happen to hit us just right, at the right time or the right frame of mind. They seem to make extra sense. They might hint at a connection we made that we didn’t even know was there.
This passage from “Sputnik Sweetheart” by Haruki Murakami sums up what I love about teaching primary school: “I’d stand at the front of the classroom, teaching my primary school charges basic facts about language, life, the world, and I’d find that at the same time I was teaching myself these basic facts all over again – filtered through the eyes and minds of these children. Done the right way, this was a refreshing experience. Profound, even.”
There isn’t much discussion of modern American classrooms as refreshing, profound places…but they can be, and they are, all the time. It’s just that not many people are paying attention.
At the moment I’m reading “Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped In Chocolate” by Brad Warner. It’s a modern Zen Buddhist memoir and even better than the title suggests.
But there’s a line that starts “But unfortunately she was American…” To me there’s something so bold about how bluntly this sentence takes on American exceptionalism. Of course there are many books and movies and websites and blogs that highlight in great detail the failings of the USA. But there’s something about that “unfortunately”, the way it just slams down on “American” and says “this is not always a good thing”.