Two children with the same class assignment: reading Ulysses’ encounter with the Cyclop and explaining by which ruse Homer’s hero tricks his way out of the monster’s cave.
The first child reads through at a steady clip, appearing to ignore the horror in the gore scene. No special inflection to indicate so much as a wobble on the emotional scale. The longest part of the exercise: discussing the ruse, what to include in the answer, what to leave out.
Second child: oy. We are in full video game mode. The child reads like an embedded narrator on the scene of a battle. The gore, described with relish. Gusto prevails. Answering the question gets short shrift because the child wants to describe… a video game, and tell me all about the scariest parts in it. Lively discussion on the differences between real and imaginary. The child’s summary: an imaginary rabid dog can’t kill you, you just think it might. I add: that’s the whole thrill of playing with fear, isn’t it. You know you can shut down the game and walk away to something else, like a soccer game or an argument with your sister. True, the kid answered, so we both got our marks of approval.
Sometimes, the playing feels so real, the experience gets overwhelming? True. Just as, sometimes, the absence of an emotional response intrigues.
In the early morning dream period, a moment of utter well-being. Nothing fancy. A woman was stepping out of a building, on her way to another one, the way millions of others do every day. Except there was something else in the mix – a knowledge of the kind that puts a twinkle in the eye and a lightness in the step.
Now, for some time today in which to introduce some of the same ingredients into the proto draft. There may be only one coaching session on the agenda but visits, paperwork and phone calls for planning purposes? Lots.