Rows of computers – the main reason why the teacher assigned you the room. Except you’re denied access to the main screen. Plus a technician rushes in to tell you the system is down for adjustments DO NOT TOUCH A THING!
Meanwhile, the angry voice on the P.A. system shoots out names. You recognize them; they’re on your list. The angry voice is telling them to report immediately to Room five eleven. IMMEDIATELY.
A few extra adults have invited themselves for the initial meeting. They hover while you try to adjust to the fact you won’t make a clever presentation on the computer screens.
The conscripted ones appear. Minus one boy who’s been expelled, and another who raised such a stink about the event, the prof excluded him from the project. Welcome, boys and girls to this new and exciting adventure in learning. Thirteen and fourteen year-old boys. Forced to attend an event during recess. With a bunch of hovering adults interrupting the presentation to tell them this whole thing is healthier and more fun than Bran Flakes, so will you shut up and listen to what the lady’s saying?
Added feature: the lady (hello, that’s me over here) happens to know some of the particulars in the boys’ family and school histories. The whole thing: ludicrous. Once the boys have impressed one another with their powers of disruption, they rush out en masse as soon as I tell them they may have been forced to attend, but nobody’s forcing them to stay.
Four girls survive the presentation, and decide to give the school paper experience a try. Next meeting: today at one. In another room. With access codes to the computers. We may not overcome but we are no longer afraid. For the time being.
After finding a line from the German expressionist film Nosferatu singled out on my community blog yesterday, I recalled several other references to bridge crossings and ghostly ones approaching the narrator. I also remembered some of the lines in Canto XXVIII of Dante’s Purgatorio where he invents a second river from which to drink. The first being the traditional Lethe the waters of which erased all memories of life’s concerns. Dante’s invention, the Eunoe does one better: it resurrects memories of the good parts of living.
No eternal sunshine of the spotless mind. Music. Poetry. Emotions. Words. Colors. Shame, embarrassment, risk, losing, winning, etc
Of the three parts to Dante’s Commedia, Purgatory is my favorite because it has so little to do with the theological version I was taught in school.
At the end of her introduction, his French translator, Jacqueline Risset writes: “Le sens de l’aspect “paradisiaque du Purgatoire peut donc se lire ainsi : le paradis est double, et l’un des deux est sur terre – message hardi du Florentin en exil, porteur d’ailes, Dante Alighieri.” (The meaning of the paradise-like aspect to the Purgatory can be read thus : paradise is double, and one of the two is on earth – a daring message from the wing-bearing Florentine in exile, Dante Alighieri.)
And now, back to earth-earth, for better, worst and all the stuff in between.
* We’ve left Inferno at last. On to the best book in the three: Purgatorio.