Wednesday, 16 January 2013

You're making things up again, Arnold

I'm extremely keen to see The Book of Mormon, from whence comes the title of this post. The reason for this title is that a student of mine asked for a story, and I was momentarily stumped. I enjoy telling stories enormously; give me a skeleton of ideas and I shall happily lay flesh on its bones - hardly a talent, as I'm sure anyone can do it.

However, to just make something up - to ask for creativity to suddenly rouse itself from slumber and behave in an orderly manner - is utterly terrifying. I applied for something at +Edelman, and have never been so thankful when they gave a solid and interesting creative writing task. I cannot feasibly imagine anything more terrifying than being under pressure and just being told to "Write something" or "Show your creativity."

All of this is by way of explaining that the high point of my day has been retelling a Norse legend about Loki and discussing the Theory of Forms which, to my eternal shame, I ascribed to Aristotle and not, as it ought to be, to Plato. I await with anxiety the displeasure of the philosophers who read this.

In the news today the shock that horsemeat has been found in burgers rumbles on, which I find very peculiar. A person who eats sheep and cows and pigs but is unsettled by horse is surely logically inconsistent. Either you eat meat, in which case you eat meat whether it be horse or pig, cow or cat. There is no reason not to. Alternatively you are a vegetarian, in which case you're probably pointing out the same thing as I am and, maybe, feeling a little smug and superior.

If you are a cannibal then I suspect you've no idea what all the fuss is about, but you might be interested to know that you are etymologically kin to Caliban, the savage in The Tempest, and that both spring from Columbus' rendering of the Carib's name for themselves.

Projects are coming in thick and fast now; a transcription, a video to be edited and more favours to beg of my brother as the move from my basement to an office with windows edges closer. For those teaching English abroad, are there any particularly good resources you can suggest for my new, 21st-century media center?