Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Aidan's New Blog

Aidan, who is 12 and has attended Clearwater for 6 years, recently started a blog called The Rest of the Iceberg. He describes the focus of the blog this way: "Whatever happened to the rest of the iceberg? Underneath the tip of it you'll find bite-sized short stories, rambling rants, inner thoughts and strange musings."

He'd thought about starting a blog for a little while. One night when he couldn't sleep, he decided to go online and see if he could set one up on his own. Voila!--The Rest of the Iceberg. He sometimes has insomnia and discovered that writing down what's in his head helps quiet his mind. 

Aidan's first post is a short story called, "Cogs and the Lack Thereof", which takes place in a dystopian future and is a delightful commentary on creativity and its ability to change the world. Another post, "Creative Evolution", features a character he created while playing World of Warcraft. He describes that story as "the first thing i ever wrote, unedited complete with no punctuation and general painful-to-read-y-ness."

With Aidan's characteristic gutsy-ness, he publishes it raw in the blog. Later in the same post he reveals what happened to that first story after he spent six more months working on it. In my interview with him, he quoted Oscar Wilde, "Books are never finished, they are merely abandoned." Although, he doesn't enjoy re-reading his past work, he recognizes that he is always learning more about writing by doing it.

When Aidan began writing, he read several writing blogs to get other writers' advice on the craft of writing. He said he waits for inspiration to strike and like many writers feels like he knows his characters personally.

He admires Neil Gaiman, Lemony Snickett, Jasper Fford (Shades of Grey, One of Our Thursdays Is Missing) and Robert Kirkman (writer of  the comic series The Walking Dead and Invincible).

Aidan incorporates links to music in some of his stories. So far he has written two posts featuring Victor Jerami, the titular unorthodox demon hunter, who slays demons by playing rock music. Each post has links to specific songs used to dispatch the monsters. One of Aidan's inspirations is the Joss Whedon TV series, Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. The title character of that series is not-so-subtly alluded to in the second Victor Jerami post, "Unarmed and Unplugged."

He does not have a posting schedule for himself and warns there may be long dry spells, but also times when he posts several entries at once.

At this point in his life, he is interested in becoming a career writer of fantasy and science fiction novels.

Aidan's mom, Alicia, announced his blog on her Liberating Kids facebook page and noted, "He was never formally taught to read or write." Aidan told me he started learning to read when he was three or four. He used some reading software initially, and reads a lot. He taught himself typing by using the online chat function while playing World of Warcraft.

I look forward to reading more of Aidan's writing.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The dish fairies failed me.

In the film Voices from the New American Schoolhouse, about the Fairhaven School near Baltimore, a student remembers being written up on her first day of attending, for having failed to wash her lunch dishes. "Did you think the dish fairy was going to do it?" she recalls being asked, with a laugh.

Last Monday I arrived for my half-day of volunteering, and Gabriel asked me, "Did you see Robert wrote you up?" What? Written up? For what? I was at a loss. "Dunno," Gabriel shrugged. "I think you didn't wash your dish or something." I thought he was kidding. I conjured up a mental image of the water going over the plate and silverware. Did I trust my memory? In the Judicial Committee's box, I found the paperwork. Sure enough, in black and white: "Bryan didn't wash his pan." Ohhhh, the pan! Um, yeah. Now I remembered, the pan I'd cooked up my tempeh in. I almost never use the stove top. Of course I'd forgotten.

I was, oddly, sort of excited to be written up; it had taken me about three years.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Clearwater's First Fall Festival

On Saturday The Clearwater School hosted our first Fall Festival. Most Clearwater families spent a beautiful, sunny fall afternoon eating delicious potluck food, playing indoor and outdoor games, carving jack 'o' lanterns from more than 70 pumpkins grown in Clearwater's garden (thanks, Tim!), and generally enjoying each others company.

The Clearwater Singers performed to a full house in the Active Room, and Christine and Chris played a lot of great Irish music (joined at one point by Bob on djembe).

On Friday, staff and students worked to set everything up for the following day, and we had lots of help on Saturday cleaning up after the event. Thank you to everyone who came, and to those who worked to organize, set up and clean up.

It was a fun and wonderful day!

To see lots more photos go to Clearwater's facebook page (like us if you haven't already) or to Clearwater's flickr account (if you're not on facebook).

Pumpkin carvers

Simon and Pearl--in costume? You decide

Chris and Christine

Mat, Steve and Simon

Meghan, steampunk girl

Meghan, Maddy and Gregory

Delayney, Niya and J.R.

 Lily, Meghan and Jacy


Gabriel and Joey

Bob, Chris and Christine

Maddy, Alise and Jacy

Corey and Robert

Susan, Susan and Ginger

Zoe (the little zombies are the scariest)

Jesse and David

Zoe and Chris

Lily and her pumpkin

 Niya and Maddy



Niya and her pumpkin

Justin and Jackie

Bryan and his pumpkin

Jason (Yoshi) and Hidy

Jesse and his pumpkin

 Clearwater Singers

Lily, Alise, Keenan and Jacy