Table of Contents Introduction: Greetings from the Well House Matt Russell
Writing Fall Jeremy Ghazaleh
At the Altar of Literature: My Imaginary Trip to the Bookstore
An Auntie’s Job
Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom
“good german” Corey Gascho
Art Bryana Demoret
Greetings From the Well House Matt Russell
Production Editor Welcome to the inaugural issue of from the Well House: The IU Kokomo Review of Arts and Sciences. While the concept for a literary magazine came to me in the spring of 2007, it wasnâ€™t until the next fall that my dream began to take form. Over the first few weeks of the fall 2007 semester I was unable to make much progress, but I made it my personal mission to see things through no matter what. Enter in new English faculty member Dr. Eva Roa White. Learning that she was beginning her IU Kokomo career with the same goal of starting a literary and art magazine, the two of us joined forces and have not looked back since. Originally, my thought for the magazine was that it would be a venue for students only. Once from the Well House was created, however, we decided the magazine needed to be all inclusive and feature student, staff and faculty creative work from as many disciplines as possible. As from the Well House continues to grow, the hope of our staff is that subsequent issues will not only become a symbol of student, staff, and faculty expression on campus, but of the community as well. The number of submissions we had for this untested publication was more than I could have imagined, and it was a thrill to see the number of people who took an active part in making this publication a great success, and help make a dream of mine come true.
And itâ€™s only going to get better....
Jeremy Ghazaleh I I fell. It was not, as the human Milton had once penned, the result of the Great War in Heaven. That Age had passed long ago, and on Earth, Heaven now was only debated by elderly men encased in their cathedral thrones, illuminated by bloody stained-glass light. While there was still an Almighty, He seemed in those days to be as old and tired as the scholars who endlessly discoursed His love and His kindness, while millions clattered and scrambled for either at the walls of their great stone-and-crystal graves, only to find neither. Regardless of how it was on Earth, as it was in Heaven, I had sinned. A sin of kindness, a sin of forgiveness, as apparently such things can exist in the presence of the Almighty. Death, where is thy sting? It must still have a sting, I was told as they roughly hauled me from my study. I am thy sting, Death. I was an Angel of Death. Not the Angel of Death, merely a subordinate to Azrael, who would suffer no claimant to the throne. Death is a complicated and involved enterprise, and with as many humans that die every day, it requires the attention of thousands of angels. I was only one, a Charon of sorts, charged with bringing those who had formerly lived into the land of the Dead. The Dead stay dead! I was banished to purgatory to await my trial. Deprivation of sense and soul and the presence of the Almighty, though every fiber of my being cried out for His light. I first met the boy when he was sixteen. What struck me at once were his eyes. They were of a startling blue, but swollen and red from crying. I could only imagine that he must have once been exuberant, full of life. I held his bewildered father by the elbow as he watched his son weep from beyond the bounds of life. “My family needs me,” the man pleaded. Many did. Fortunately, it is one small blessing for those who are
tasked with the guiding of souls that the Dead are aware of their condition prior to our appearance. “Who will look after my wife? My boy? My little girl is only seven. We didn’t have any life insurance, and I just don’t know what to do.” He reached out for his boy, only to have his hand pass through his shoulder. The Living cannot feel this side of life. I told him, gently as I could, that there was nothing more he could do. That he was beyond flesh and the cares of the flesh. There may be no sorrow, and no tears in Heaven, but there was always great weeping in the moments before the arrival there. Father of two, husband. He was not the first and he would certainly not be the last. I delivered him into the bosom of the Almighty, and like all before him, he allowed the joy of Heaven overcome his Earthly sorrow. There is a natural order to things, Gabriel said from the throne of the High Court. My thoughts remained on the boy. With his father delivered, I returned to the family’s home. As was the privilege of my kind, I only needed to think of a place to be there. It was evening, an autumn wind was blowing dead leaves in lazy swirls and eddies across the front lawn. The mother was asleep, the little girl curled up in her lap as she sat in her rocking chair. The wooden floor creaked softly with each small movement. The boy lay awake, still fully clothed on his bed. He had, it seemed, run out of tears, but every once in a while, I could hear a soft sob rise in his throat. I had a powerful impulse to make my presence known to him, but instead sat (or a reasonable imitation of such, for in that form, it wasn’t truly possible or even necessary) at the edge of his bed, doing nothing more than watching him. He stared unseeingly at his wall, covered here and there with posters for music groups or sports teams. For some time, I was unable to place what so touched me about this boy. Ferrying souls is something I have done for a very long time, from Egypt to Pompeii to Chicago to Tokyo, and every place and time in between. Yet, I had never met one who so captivated my attention. Could I have made the judgment at the time, I would have found him quite ordinary by human standards, with the exception of his eyes. Something about them resonated within me, and would not let go. Perhaps it was not so much their appearance, but the soul that I could sense lay behind them.
He curled up tighter around himself, like he had a stomachache. I could see the tendons of his arms tense, feel the ragged cadence of his breathing as a fresh wave of loss rushed over him, and he began to cry once more. Unable to help myself, I whispered, so it would touch the edge of his consciousness, “All will be well,” and brushed the edges of his hair in such a way that he would later convince himself it had only been a breath of wind. He did not seem startled by any of this, but I saw the tension relax in his body, and was satisfied. I returned several times in the following year, compelled for a reason beyond my own understanding to see how he dealt with the grief of his father’s passing. I discovered his name: Timothy. I watched him become increasingly withdrawn from his school friends as the burden of helping support his family began to weigh heavier on his young shoulders. I noticed how, more often, he would hide behind his hair as he spoke. He slept less. I discovered that he used to write, but now his pen was still. I learned, too, of his anger, the day I arrived for his sister. I saw the plaster of the wall dent, bow, break, shatter under his fist when he learned that she’d been struck down by an automobile. I held her little hand in mine and we watched him, again, lost in uncontrolled weeping, his shoulders shuddering, his body threatening collapse as his throat was choked with sobs, until he could cry no more and instead hurled curses at the Heavens. “Who are you?” she wanted to know. “My name is Ashiel, Elise. I am an angel.” For the benefit of humans, I would adopt a form they could cope with. They would perceive me as young, neither man nor woman – for I was neither - with gray eyes and silver-white hair. I would be clothed in a white suit, white fedora, and ebony walking stick. I had used many forms throughout the years, and at that time, this was the one I had found to be the most comfortable way of presenting myself. Vanity, thy name is Ashiel. I had long ago discovered that this approach was novel at best, a relic of a time long past. Most other angels did not make themselves visible to humans in those moments following death, much less speak to them. “Are you going to take me to my daddy, now?” She asked, looking up at me with wide blue eyes, much like those of her brother, though of a more pale shade. Thankfully, there is mercy given after death, and the spiritual body is not left as broken
as the physical. I nodded. “Would you like to see him?” She nodded in return. “Did you come for him, too?” Again, I nodded. It was not unusual to care for all the members of a particular family. To do so twice in the space of a year, with one of the deceased so relatively young, and the other so literally young, was, however. “You’re really an angel? Mommy says angels are suppose to watch over us.” She twirled her hair with one finger. “We do. I do.” “Will you watch over Mommy and Tim?” “I will.” “Promise?” “Yes.” Again, I returned to watch the boy. I watched how both he and his mother sat for hours, not speaking, not moving. Relatives arrived, offering condolences, but their words only rekindled the anger and the pain in Timothy and he lashed out, convinced that no god existed that would kill a little girl. Not one as innocent and kind as his sister. Doors were slammed, tears were shed, and once again I descended upon the boy in his darkest hour. A very human longing erupted in my breast and I wished to assume physical form so that I might hold him. Such a shock, however, would have done more harm than good, and so I resisted temptation, for his sake.
II Without Death, there is no Life, Ashiel. I kept my promise to Elise. I returned more and more often to that ruined home, broken by pain and poverty, to watch the life that death had wrought. I watched as Timothy graduated high school. He had long ago given up his plans for college to help support his mother. They sold the house to keep costs down, sold the things of their lost loved ones to keep afloat. I saw the twist of anguish in Timothy’s lips as the possessions of his father and sister were bagged up and taken away by strangers.
Timothy worked two jobs. His mother worked two as well, and they only occasionally met to exchange thoughts on finances, the occasional meal, or tired stares across the living room while the television blared canned laughter, unnoticed. It was a cheerless existence, forced upon them by the loss of half their family. There was no longer much laughter, but it had been replaced by the genuine affection of those who had survived a battle together. It was not long before I was spending time every day, watching Timothy at home, at work, reveling in those rare moments of happiness when he forgot all he had lost, and returned to the boy he’d been before all the tragedy. Every night, I would return to his bedside and whisper those same four words. All will be well. Perhaps I only imagined it, but I thought he slept easier for it. When his mother died, I feared he would soon break. “Timothy,” she whispered, watching with me as her relatives arrived, and her son took on the responsibility of a man, helping to make arrangements. “Oh, God, Tim...” “I will look after him.” “You? What can you do?” “I have been watching over you and your son. I promised your daughter.” It was the wrong thing to say. She flew at me in her grief - not for her own death but for what might become of her son. “You call this watching over us?” She tried to grab me, shake me by the shoulders, but the Dead could only touch me if I wished it. “First you took Mark, then Elise, and now you’re going to take me to God-knows-where and leave him all alone to fend for himself? It was you, wasn’t it?” “I do not cause death. I am merely a custodian of the Dead.” She stared at me, searching. “What are you? You’re just a boy. Hardly older than him!” “Do you not know? You once told your daughter of me and my kind. I am an angel,” I explained. For her benefit, I let my form shift into something she might recognize. Flowing hair, wings, a halo. I might have adorned her Christmas tree. “I am charged with the task of caring for the formerly living. I have come to escort you to that which lies after Death.”
“I won’t go!” There was, perhaps, not a phrase I had heard more in all my existence. “You’ve no choice, I am afraid,” was always the answer. I made to take her with me, but her next words forestalled the action. “What’s going to happen to Timothy?” It struck me, then, that each of this blessed family had been concerned for the welfare of the boy upon their departure from life. The father had asked, the sister, now the mother. While it was not an uncommon worry of those newly dead, I was more used to humans railing at the injustice of their own death. The next words I spoke were not an answer to her question. “Your family...loved one another extraordinarily,” I said, regretting that I had not observed them before the father’s death. “Please, Angel,” she implored. “Please, let me go back to him...” “Come. It is time. I will care for him.” Unable to bear anymore, I took her away, her pleas still battering at my heart. III Thou must leave, Ashiel, and never return. Thou art banished. It was not another week before the boy took his own life. I felt my soul double in on itself as I received the assignment, given impassively from an invisible bureaucracy. He was considering his wrists when I arrived, marveling at the wholeness of his skin. He looked up and took me in without batting an eye. There was a vague recognition in his eyes, coupled with a fierce determination. “You’re going to take me to see my family, right?” I was startled into silence as he turned the full force of his gaze on me. “I can’t,” I whispered. “You have...do you understand what you have done?” “It doesn’t matter,” he said defiantly. “I’m dead, like the rest of them, so now I can be with them.” “Is life so unbearable without them?” “Yes! Do you think I would’ve done what I did, if it wasn’t? What am I supposed to do without my family? How is anyone supposed to live without their
family? I’m just a kid for God’s sake!” At that moment, I felt a sadness more profound than I thought I would have ever been capable. “You are to spend eternity separated from them,” I choked out. “What? Why?” “Suicide is a mortal sin, Timothy.” The words fell from my lips like acid. I had never before voiced his name, and I felt that it had nearly killed me to do so. “You will never see your family.” The color drained from his face, and he stared at me in disbelief before crumpling to the ground and burying his face in his hands. “How can this be? How? Why does everything have to be so unfair? Why does...why does Heaven have to be so far away? If it’s such a beautiful place, why is there even Earth, with all the pain that goes with it?” I crouched beside him, and he raised his eyes to mine. “How can it be that someone like me...I’ve lost everything! I give the one thing I have left - my life, for God’s sake - to get there, and now you’re going to tell me that it’s not enough?” He turned away. A dangerous idea swelled in my heart, but I pushed it down, afraid of what it might mean. “There are rules, Timothy. You’ve broken them. Much can be forgiven, but the opportunity for repentance ends with death. Even now, if you were truly sorry for your actions - and honestly, I don’t believe you are - there is nothing within the rules that can be done for you at this juncture. I am sorry.” I reached my hand out and touched his shoulder, felt the form I had taken shake and flicker for a moment. His head jerked sharply toward me, and his expression softened in resignation. “I thought you told me...all will be well. It isn’t.” Startled by his admission of recognition, I pulled my hand away. “I...did. I believed that.” I felt that dangerous idea prick me with poisonous fangs, and I felt a resolve I had not since the War in Heaven some seven thousand years previous. Ask, and it shall be given. I do not know if I am able, but ask. “What did I do? Why did everyone have to be taken away from me like that?” “It wasn’t anything like that, Timothy. People are mortal. Frail. Human. I admit to not understanding, wholly, the mechanisms of death or the plan of the Almighty or why good people die young while those who are evil live on. I understand none of it, and I never have. Death, as they say, is simply a fact of life.” Ask.
“I lived a good life. Or, I tried, you know? But now you’re saying I have to go to Hell because I killed myself.” “Yes.” You don’t have to. Ask. Please. “Shouldn’t there be a second chance, for someone like me?” “Yes,” I agreed. Almost there. I started as I felt his hand close around mine. “Please...is there any way...?” I closed my eyes. “One.” “You can send me back?” Maybe. “I can.” I would never let him know that the consequences of doing so would be dire. Not for him, of course, but for myself. I felt it very likely, at that moment, that I would take Timothy’s place in Hell, if I went through with such an insane plan. But the idea, now voiced, would not be silent and could not be denied. “And that’s...okay?” He asked in disbelief. “You can really do that?” The hope in his eyes could have killed me a thousand times over. I chose to answer the second question. If I was going to allow him another chance at life, I was not going to also burden him with the knowledge of exactly what that chance was going to cost. “Yes.” I didn’t know for certain that I could, but I felt in my soul it was possible, all the same. “Please--” He stopped. “I don’t know your name.” He seemed embarrassed to ask, and even in the gravity of the situation, there was something endearing about the sheepish look that crept into his features. “Ashiel.” “Please, Ashiel...will you let me live again?” There is no rule about loving humans. Angels are expected to love all of humanity, to show compassion for their fleshbound plight, to be a source of comfort in their sorrow. When Timothy said my name for the first time, however, I knew I loved him in a way entirely not expected of me. “I will return you to life.” He flung his arms around me and, unlike his mother, I allowed the contact to occur. I put my own arms around him, embracing him with the abandon of one who is uncertain they will see another day. “Thank you, Ashiel. Thank you so much,” I could hear him whisper into my hair. “Some people deserve a second chance.”
“Am I...going to remember this?” He wanted to know. “Remember you?” “I believe you will...I’ve never done this before...” And never would again. “But I think having another chance would be without a point if you didn’t learn your lesson the first time.” “What do I do, when I’m back?” “Someone will find you...save you from returning to death immediately. Your body will be in a bad way, but you shall recover. Repent your sin, and live your life to its natural conclusion. I don’t know when that will be...hours, days, years, but, upon your death...” I will come for you again, I wanted to say. But I knew it would not be allowed. “...you shall be reunited with your family.” “You’ll come for me, again?” “Perhaps.” It wasn’t quite a lie. I couldn’t lie. But, there was a small possibility I could escape punishment, be given leniency for this, my first and only transgression. “You’ll keep looking out for me? Or come visit, or...something? I’d really want to see you again, Ashiel, to thank you, if I ever could, for doing this for me. I don’t think I ever could thank you enough but I’d really like to try.” It warmed me to hear those words, and for a moment I forgot what might await me. “If I can, Timothy. I’d like to see you again, also.” I mustered a smile, fully expecting I would never see him again. If nothing else, he might regain the zeal for life he once possessed. That was enough. “Are you ready?” He let out a breath. “Yeah. And...God, again. Thanks.” Still smiling, and thinking it was nothing at all to do with God, I returned him to life. IV I fell. It was not a literal fall so much as a separation from the most beautiful place in all creation, forever cast out of the presence of the Almighty. Thrown to the Earth roughly, callously, with the greatest love and care. I braced myself for Lucifer’s kingdom. My sentence had not been pronounced, only decided, as Gabriel had said, and I was unaware of my ultimate fate. I found myself on Earth, literally as well as figuratively. Green grass beneath the soles of white shoes. Blue sky above in weakening light, dotted with white clouds
streaked red, purple, orange, yellow by sunset. The rustle of dead leaves and the whisper of the wind as it gently tore them from dying branches. I cried out and dropped to my knees as I was suddenly besieged by an onslaught of emotion. Not simply fear, or hatred or love but everything. The entire range of human emotion pressed into my very being as I pressed my hands to the side of my head, trying to take it all in, trying to absorb what I could of the overwhelming sensations. I shuddered, vomited bile, wiped my mouth and pressed my palms to the dewy grass, trying to steady myself. The hat fell from my head and the wind blew it a short way off before it caught in a low bush. I gasped for air, my eyes watering. Human. I had been exiled to Earth, to live as a mortal. The grass was wet with dew, I came to realize. The air was cool on my cheek. I could smell a distant bonfire on the wind, see an insect crawling between my fingers, taste salty tears on my lips. I was human. Wholly, irrevocably human. Gabriel had been lenient, after all. For me, there were far worse punishments. No doubt, the High Court would have known of my care for humanity, my eccentricities in dealing with them. And Gabriel would have considered making me one of them to be poetic justice, and must have been convinced that I would be unable to cope with the emotions that came with the condition, depending on them to ruin me as effectively as Hell itself would. But I had offered no defense for my actions at my trial. The Court knew not that I already had experienced the most human of emotions: love. It wasnâ€™t, either, the love of a Creator and His caretakers for weaker beings, but instead the more simple love of one person for another. It had braced me against the rushing tide that ought to have destroyed me. Triumphantly, I stood. I had survived and been given a chance at a different life. It was a mortal life, to be sure, and this body would shrivel, decay, weaken and die, eventually, but it was my own. Its form was no longer fluid and mutable but now fixed into that of the young person I had so often appeared as to humans. I was trapped in that form, but I had never felt so free. Looking all around me with wide eyes, it dawned on me that I knew that place. I had been there often in the past year. Every day, at one point. I retrieved my hat and began to walk.
V The wind had picked up, rattling the windows of the apartment, and with each gust, Timothy could hear the scraping of a tree branch against glass. He sat in his chair, mulling things over that had seemed to him a dream. Two months ago, a boy in white, an angel named Ashiel, had guided him back to his body and his flayed wrists and returned him to life. He had told nobody of what had happened, fearing disbelief, but every day that passed was an affirmation that it had not been a dream or a hallucination brought about by loss of blood. He thought often of the angel, nearly as much as he thought of his own family. Even as he sat there, he said a silent, thankful prayer that his mother had the foresight to get life insurance after his father’s death, and leave him taken care of. He also sent a prayer to Ashiel, thanking the angel for allowing him another chance. He had started college two weeks ago, determined to make the most he could of his life. It was difficult to make friends - the stigma of his family’s misfortune and his own attempted suicide would no doubt linger for a while - but Timothy did not let it get to him. After all, he was alive, and he’d met some very good people at his support group. There was a knock at the door, and Timothy unfolded himself from the chair. His aunt said she’d be by with dinner when she was off work; that was probably her. A young man stood on the other side of the open door. White suit, hat, shoes. Silvery hair, gray eyes. White knuckles on pale hands clutched a familiar-looking walking stick. “Ashiel,” Timothy breathed, then rushed forward to embrace him. His resolve to see Timothy had faded into anxiety in front of the apartment building, and embarrassed at his intrusion, Ashiel had been all but ready to run before he forced himself to knock at the door. Now confronted by the weight, the warmth, the physical solidity of the boy he loved, he was glad he had not. He could smell the fragrance of the shampoo Timothy had used, feel his breath on his neck. “You came,” Timothy was saying, and Ashiel could feel each word on his skin. “I thought for so long that you might have been a dream, but I knew...I knew deep down that you had to be real. You really brought me back to life.” He pulled away, still holding the former angel at arm’s length. “Come in, please...” Allowing no chance to deny the invitation, he ushered Ashiel into the apartment.
Timothy was all smiles. Ashiel shifted his feet, suddenly nervous, playing his fingers up and down the wood of his walking stick while at the same time reveling in the sensation of being truly able to touch it. “You really came,” Timothy said, still grinning. “I wasn’t sure you would. You’re just like I remember you, too. I thought...y’know. You didn’t always look like that.” “It’s easier for you that you recognize me, is it not?” The truth was, Ashiel had no control over his human appearance. Instead, he had been crafted from Timothy’s memory of him. Every aspect from the shade of his eyes to the cut of his suit, even his gender had been determined by Timothy, though neither knew it. “You should’ve come earlier! I mean, I wasn’t sure that you could really walk around as a person, and all...” Ashiel cleared his throat. He hadn’t been sure, either. “I was...unavoidably detained. I would have liked to have been here for you, Timothy.” Timothy steered him toward the two-seater sofa and sat down next to him. “I have so much to thank you for.” “Oh...please, don’t,” Ashiel returned, embarrassed. “I would simply be happy to know that you are doing something with the gift I’ve...you’ve received.” “Oh, I am. I’m going to college, finally, and classes started not long ago, and I think though it’s not really going to be easy, I’m getting a lot out of it...” Timothy stopped. “You’re crying.” “I’m happy for you, truly I am,” Ashiel said, wiping at his eyes. “Forgive me - I haven’t quite gotten used to the way I react to things in this form.” It was like being a newborn, and the tears came far too easily. Timothy laughed, brushing it aside, and clapped Ashiel on the shoulder. “Well, it’s not like you’re always going to be a person, right? You probably don’t have to worry about things like that when you’re an angel. Anyway...did you really come all this way just to see me?” Ashiel looked at Timothy’s honest face. He thought of the many answers he could give. The possible range of answers that was available to him as a free-willed human being, the lies he could tell, the stories he could concoct, truths, half-truths, phrases that could be turned to any degree. But he again caught the clean scent of
Timothy’s hair and felt the warmth of his body and knew, as always, that it was only the truth that would ever suffice. He reached out to finger the edge of Timothy’s hair, and cleared his throat once more before he began. In that brief moment, he considered the consequences of telling Timothy his story, and promptly damned them. Some things were too powerful to deny. “For you,” he began, “I fell.”
Untitled by Bryana Demoret
At the Altar of Literature: My Imaginary Trip to the Bookstore John Stanifer
Call me Ishmael. Wait, wrong story. Or is it? Maybe this isn’t Moby Dick, but you could say I’m a wanderer of sorts. But instead of wandering on the high seas, I’m wandering into a bookstore. Wandering, wandering. Looking for the next literary adventure (translation: the next book I’m going to buy). It’s not going to be easy. I’ll be distracted by dozens of books I’ve already read, remembering how much I love them now and why I ever loved them in the first place. For all I know, I might not end up buying anything at all. But that’s not really the point. For me, going into a bookstore— as much fun as it is when I actually buy something—can be fun for its own sake, too. Sometimes, I get so worked up thinking about books I’ve read and books I’m going to read that I almost think I’m worshipping the books. And maybe that’s not too far from the truth. The first thing that hits me on the inside of the store is the smell of lattes and mochas and cappuccinos coming from the built-in Starbucks. I’m not a coffee drinker (I can tolerate it), but I enjoy the smell: it’s part of what creates the experience of a bookstore. I watch as a fat man goes up to the counter, orders a brownie with ice cream and a tall frappe, and sits down with the book How to Lose Weight: For Dummies.
“Excuse me, young man. Do you work here?”
I turn around to see an old woman, glasses, hair net, bun at the back of her head, glaring at me as if she’s not really sure I’m there. “No,” I say. “But I come in here all the time, so I can probably help you if you’re looking for something.”
“Have you read anything by Harley Kin?”
“You mean Harlequin?”
“That’s what I said.”
“Oh.” I point her to Romance and move on until I reach my goal, Classic Literature. First, there’s Pride and Prejudice. It is a truth universally acknowledged that this is one of the best “chick lit” masterpieces of all time. I confess that I’ve read it twice (maybe three times; it’s hard to keep track), just for fun, even though I’m a guy. Good book. Great movie. A few shelves down, I spy Victor Hugo’s tome about the French Revolution, Les Misérables. I hold my breath, remembering how I felt the first time I saw the movie with Liam Neeson as Jean Valjean, the convict who tries to steal a bishop’s silver in the middle of the night, and—when the police bring him back the next morning—the bishop gives him the silver and tells him to use it to build a new life. “With this silver, I’ve bought your soul. I’ve ransomed you from fear and hatred, and now I give you back to God.” It’s one of the most tear-jerking scenes in all of literature (in my opinion), and as I stand here in the aisle of the bookstore thinking about it, I almost feel like crying. Why? For me, it expresses one of my central beliefs better than any sermon I’ve come across: the belief that there is a God and that he cares not just for the rich or the “righteous;” his hand reaches out to all, even those who have sunk to the level of Valjean. Hmm. H for Hugo, I-J-K-L-M-N-O-P-Q-R-S-B? Bronte? What’s Jane Eyre doing here with Robert Louis Stevenson? Some goof must have shoved it there instead of walking the extra eight feet or so to put it back where it actually belonged (that goof, by the way, could have been me or someone like me…I have a bad habit of laying books down wherever I happen to be standing when I decide not to buy them). Someone sneezes at the end of the aisle, breaking my train of thought. That reminds me. I need to go check out the sci-fi/fantasy department for new releases. I’ve been waiting on some of my favorite authors’ new books for a while, and it’s about time I started seeing them on the shelves.
Tromp, tromp. Shuffle, shuffle. I nudge my way past the guy that just sneezed, trying not to get any of his germs on me. Before I’m completely out of sight, he blows his nose on a napkin, jams the paper in an empty coffee cup, and leaves the cup sitting on the shelf with The Redneck Dictionary. Sheesh. There’s the old lady again, lugging an armful of Harlequin romance novels in the general direction of the cashier—looks like she’s filled out her bouquet with half-adozen Danielle Steele books and a few Nora Roberts thrown in for good measure. She smiles as she sees me.
“Find what you were looking for, ma’am?”
“Oh, yes. Thank you.” She holds up one of the books, featuring a kilted wild man holding a sword and glaring out from the book’s cover like some knock-off of Mel Gibson’s character from Braveheart. “You really should try this one sometime.”
“I’ll do that.” I manage to say this with a straight face.
Here we are. Sci-fi/fantasy. Here be various Star Wars and Star Trek tie-ins, Tolkien’s Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, and all the rip-offs of said phenomena. Probably ninety-five percent of the books in this department fall into the “I’m-trying-not-to-copy-Tolkien-but-I’m-miserably-failing” category. The popularity of the Rings movies makes the temptation to copy Tolkien even more irresistible to the budding fantasy author. My eye catches the dust jacket on a book in the L section. That’s not what I think it is, is it? No way. No way. NO WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! STEAMING PILES OF PANCAKES, IT’S HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IT’S THE THIRD BOOK IN STEPHEN R. LAWHEAD’S KING RAVEN TRILOGY! OH, BABY. OH, BABY. OH, BABY!
Whew. Now that I’ve got the initial excitement out of my system OH BABY
OH BABY OH BABY I pick up Tuck, the third book in novelist Stephen R. Lawhead’s three-book take on the Robin Hood myths. Did I mention I’m excited? Now that I’ve settled the question of what I’ll be walking out of the store with (after paying for it, of course), let’s see if I can make my way out without spotting something else I have to have. Hmmm. Maybe I’d better close my eyes just to make sure. I do know this place like the back of my hand, after all. BUMP! ***** It’s hard to convince myself not to start reading the book on the way home. Sure, the other motorists wouldn’t like it very much—I’d be weaving all over the road, and I’d probably get in a bloody accident and die. But at least I’d find out how the story ends. With that cheerful thought ringing in my head, I pull into the driveway, trembling with anticipation. As I’m opening the door to the house, I glance at the book.
“We’re almost there,” I whisper. Like talking to a baby.
The bookshelf in my room fills the entire south wall, but there is also a smaller cabinet containing the pride and joy of my library: a collection of seventeen leatherbound books from Easton Press. These are masterworks of literary merit and bookbinding craftsmanship. It’s hard to convince myself not to start reading the book on the way home. Sure, the other motorists wouldn’t like it very much—I’d be weaving all over the road, and I’d probably get in a bloody accident and die. But at least I’d find out how the story ends. With that cheerful thought ringing in my head, I pull into the driveway, trembling with anticipation. As I’m opening the door to the house, I glance at the book.
“We’re almost there,” I whisper. Like talking to a baby.
The bookshelf in my room fills the entire south wall, but there is also a smaller cabinet containing the pride and joy of my library: a collection of seventeen leatherbound books from Easton Press. These are masterworks of literary merit and bookbinding craftsmanship. Before I do anything else, I yank the cabinet door open and pull out Lorna Doone, my favorite novel of all time. Red leather, gold-embossed frontispiece, goldlined pages, you get the idea. A deluxe edition of a deluxe story. To think I never would have heard of this book if my cousin hadn’t shown me the A&E’s film version. It’s a story about an English farm boy, John Ridd, who sees his father murdered at the hands of the Scottish-born Doones, a band of legendary outlaws who ravaged the English countryside during the reign of Charles II. One day, he stumbles into the Doones’ lair while fishing in a local creek; here he meets young Lorna Doone, a Venus among Titans. Aside from the Bible, there are few books that remind me so powerfully of the effect a great book can have on us. Why this particular book? I couldn’t tell you in a way that would make any sense—at least without writing a whole other book about it. But if you’ve ever been enthralled with a book for days, months, even years at a time, you know what I’m talking about. I put Lorna back in the cabinet comfortably, then I grab the first two volumes of the King Raven trilogy—Hood and Scarlet, respectively—and pile them together with my new (imaginary) purchase, Tuck. I lay them down on the bed, lining them up next to each other. I pick each one up in turn, taking in the pleasing whiff of ink and paper and knowledge as I flip the pages three inches from my nostrils (by now, you’re ready to look up the nearest insane asylum and give them my address). After a while, I set them back down and stare again.
There and back again. Another mission to the bookstore successfully completed. The bookstore: where you can reach a thousand thousand worlds just by picking up a few pieces of paper that someone else scribbled on. Reading: for me, a time-consuming (expensive) hobby—and I’ll never read all the books I intend to read, either. But that’s okay, because it’s not about how many books I’ve got under my belt; what matters more is what those few books, out of so many others I could have read, have meant to me over the years.
“good german” Corey Gascho
he was a mad scientist, a designer of dreams, engineer of the logical my grandfather had a keen sense to his existence living life the way he saw fit, writer of stories master of lettered keys.
Untitled by Lisa Hurley
An Auntie’s Job Majorie Schaeffner
You’re too young to be so angry. You don’t even know why you’re crying. It’s so unfair to you, but believe me, I do understand, even if you don’t. You’re mad at him And you want to hate him, But you never will. When you grow up, maybe you’ll understand. He drinks and becomes this raving monster. You don’t understand why he does it. Your mother understood, if a little late. But he’s a good person, really. Deep down you know that. After all, your mother loved him, and they gave us: you. When you grow up, maybe you’ll understand. It’s okay to be afraid. It’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to love him, too. But it’s okay to let him go for awhile. But you can’t let his actions fill you up with so much hate. If you don’t want to talk to him, or look at him, Just do what you have to do. Your mother did. When he grows up, maybe he’ll understand. It’s okay to be confused, But always keep one thing clear in your mind: You will never, ever have to be afraid to come to me Even if you just want to yell, Or scream, or cry to feel better. It’s what I’m here for.
Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom* Jonathan Guse
According to Webster’s online dictionary, “intelligence” is defined as being “the ability to comprehend; to understand and profit from experience.” If this is the case, why are students being labeled as “intelligent” or “unintelligent” based solely on their scores in Language Arts and Mathematics? Each year students perform standardized tests, such as the ISTEP, that mostly test for mathematics and language arts intelligence. The teacher’s job is to teach the students – to make them more intelligent. Is this only the job of the Language Arts and Math teachers? Or is it the jobs of all teachers to educate their students in ways that will help them succeed not only in school but in the real world? The purpose of this study is to show that having the Multiple Intelligences Theory integrated into curriculum is not only what students want, but it will also help students learn the material being presented in their own way. Imagine for a moment that you are a teacher in front of your classroom. Now imagine that some of your students are author Dan Brown, scientist Neils Bohr, pilot Charles Lindbergh, soccer player Mia Hamm, musician John Mayer, psychologist Howard Gardner, philosopher Socrates, and Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin. Now ask these questions, “Are all of these students the same? Can they all be assessed on their knowledge of the subject matter in the same way?” Why are students only taught concepts in one way? Is it fair to those students who don’t understand the material presented for the teacher to move on with the lesson regardless of whether or not they understand? St. Augustine said, “The prime author and mover of the universe is intelligence. Therefore, the final cause of the universe must be the good of the intelligence and that is truth,” (Gardner 6). Rather than keeping students from exploring their talents, we need to encourage them to do so. There are State and Federal standards that must be met, but while doing so why not encourage students to learn in the way that suits them best? When Howard Gardner first proposed his theory on Multiple Intelligences he had seven to speak of: Verbal-Linguistic, Logical-Mathematical, Spatial, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Musical, Interpersonal and Intrapersonal (Gardner). Since then Naturalistic has been accepted as the eighth intelligence (Silver, Strong, Perini 9). Now let’s examine these
eight intelligences based on our students mentioned earlier. Dan Brown could not have become a best-selling author if he didn’t have a strong Verbal-Linguistic intelligence. The linguist has inclinations toward speaking, writing, listening, and reading. They also have the ability to speak and write effectively. Neils Bohr could not have developed his model of the atom if he did not have some understanding of mathematics and reasoning. Logical-Mathematical thinkers can generally find patterns, make calculations, experiment, and reason effectively. In order to fly a plane, one should be adequately skilled in Spatial intelligence, much like Charles Lindbergh. Spatial thinkers can create mental images and notice fine details. The capabilities of a Bodily-Kinesthetic thinker, such as soccer player Mia Hamm, include being in tune with their physical self, as well as being able to perform activities that require strength, agility, hand-eye coordination, and balance. John Mayer has the ability to hear the beat of a song, match tones, pitch and sound, and to keep tempo. This is what makes a Musical thinker. Howard Gardner, the father of Multiple Intelligences, had to have a strong Interpersonal intelligence in order to come up with his theory. He needed to be able to recognize body language, notice people’s feelings and personalities, and most importantly, the ability to work with people. Socrates said, “Know thyself.” This is exactly what a person with a strong Intrapersonal intelligence can do. The Intrapersonal thinker recognizes their own strengths and weaknesses and is able to apply it appropriately. Finally, only one with a strong Naturalist intelligence could “play” with dangerous wildlife. Steve Irwin was the epitome of the Naturalist with his ability to classify and identify wildlife and his ability to learn from, and teach about, living things. To go back to the question of “why not encourage students to learn in the way that suits them best,” Kathy Checkley says that “educators have to be extraordinarily imaginative and persistent in helping students understand things better (176).” She goes on to say “it’s very important that a teacher take individual differences among kids very seriously….The bottom line is a deep interest in children and how their minds are different from one another, and in helping them use their minds well (176).” One can enhance the quality of a lesson by having different activities associated with the lesson. Gardner
says “My own hunch is that such analogies [or connections] can be found between any two intelligences, and that, in fact, one of the great pleasures in any realm inheres in an exploration of its relationship to other spheres of intelligence” (126). Not only are the teachers and the school responsible for the education of the students but Linda Campbell says the “school is responsible for helping all students discover and develop their talents or strengths (179).” Therefore we need to encourage students to embrace their talents. We must first recognize the talents of the individual students. Former Beatle member John Lennon said, “People like me are aware of their so-called genius at ten, eight, nine… In school, didn’t they see that I’m more clever than anybody in this school?...I was different, I was always different. Why didn’t anybody notice me?” (qtd. in Gardner 115). Students know when they are proficient in one particular area. As teachers, it is also our job to observe our students and recognize where they excel and to nurture that developing talent. We can do this by integrating Multiple Intelligences into our curriculum. According to Hopper and Hurry, using Multiple Intelligences in the classroom has three effects. There is an “Increased awareness about the learning process:” where students begin to explore and understand their own learning process (27). Also there is an “Increased emphasis on individual learning process:” where the students begin “working out their own learning processes, and ultimately becoming responsible for their own learning” (28). Finally, they begin “Stimulating the active learning process: teachers observed that when the pupils began to recognize that using diverse activities in lessons was not an end but a means of learning…pupils’ motivation to learn dramatically increased (29).” By incorporating Multiple Intelligences theory into curriculum, students gain diversified experiences, and they gain an understanding of what works for them. They begin implementing these intelligences on their own. By giving the students different ways of learning, they become more involved. Hopper and Hurry say that “Recognizing their ability to learn, and becoming aware of a sense of learning, was a key factor in raising
the self-esteem of many pupils, particularly those who regarded themselves as failures (29).” When Multiple Intelligences theory was integrated into curriculum, teachers found that “[s]tudents gained in self-confidence, and teachers learned to appreciate a wide variety of student strengths. Those effects should be evident in any school that implements an MI [Multiple Intelligence] curriculum… (Harper, Jordan, Mettetal 122).” It is difficult to engage students when the primary teaching medium is lecture or writing. Gardner says,
Linguistic competence is, in fact, the intelligence – the intellectual competence – that seems most widely and most democratically shared across the human species. Whereas the musician or the visual artist – not to mention the mathe matician or the gymnast – exhibit abilities that seem remote from, and even mysterious to, the average person, the poet seems simply to have developed to a superlatively keen degree capacities that all normal – and perhaps subnormal - individuals have within their grasp. (77-78)
Students want to learn, but they want to learn in a way that suits them. Students aren’t just looking for information to process and remember. They are looking for an experience to process and remember to supplement that information. In conclusion, the Multiple Intelligences theory has proven useful in curriculum at many schools throughout the country, including Key Learning Community School in Indianapolis (Campbell 182). We must begin teaching to all of the students not just a few of them. Many teachers fall into a “rut” when their teaching style becomes repetitive. These teachers may be outstanding, but “being a good teacher is no excuse for failing to become an even better one (Ayers 27).” As times change, so must teachers. Let us begin by using Multiple Intelligences in the classroom. Not only that, but let us teach the students about Multiple Intelligences so that they can help one another learn in the way that best suits them. Now, teachers must realize that “[a]lthough there is al ways more to learn and more to know as a teacher, the heart of teaching is a passionate regard for students” (Ayers 60). Let us give the students what they need to be successful.
Works Cited Ayers, William. To Become A Teacher: Making a Difference in Children’s Lives. New York, Columbia University: Teachers College Press, 1995. Campbell, Linda. “Variations on a Theme: How Teachers Interpret MI Theory.” Educational Leadership 55 (1997): 184. Checkley, Kathy. “The First Seven…and the Eight: A Conversation with Howard Garner.” Educational Leadership 55 (1997): 174-178. Gardner, Howard. Frames of Mind. New York: Basic Books Inc., 1983. Harper, Sheryll, Jordan, Cheryl, and Gwendolyn Mettetal. “Attitudes Toward a Multiple Intelligences Curriculum.” The Journal of Educational Research 91.2 (2001): 115-122. Hopper, Brenda, and Pamela Hurry. “Learning the MI Way: The Effects on Students’ Learning of Using the Theory of Multiple Intelligences.” Pastoral Care 18.4 (Dec 2000): 26-32. “Intelligence” Webster’s Online Dictionary. 2007. 25 Nov 2007
Silver, Harvey, Strong, Richard, and Matthew Perini. So Each May Learn: Integrating Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences. New Jersey: Silver Strong & Associates, 2000. *This is a condensed version of the paper. For a complete version contact the editors at firstname.lastname@example.org