Slaughterhouse-Five Wrap-Up

On Monday we will have our final discussion about Slaughterhouse-Five. Ideas to consider:

  • the effect of war on society;
  • the value of time;
  • in what ways are our lives “pre-programmed”;
  • how do people cope with traumatic events;
  • in what ways is life fair/unfair;
  • how can a person change his/her fate

What are your ideas on these topics?  What do you believe Billy Pilgrim’s ideas would be?

Remember that photo poetry assignment?

Well, this was one result and I am in love with it.

There Were Signs 

there were signs

signs that told us to stop

to keep off

to think about it

signs designed to scare us

to deter us

to frighten us


but we plowed ahead

we chose not to notice the sky slowly fade to black

we chose not to look when the flowers started to wilt

we ignored the debris that piled up behind us

we ignored the scorched land we created


maybe back then we had a chance

but that door is closed

forever blocked off

we tried to hold on

at the end

we really did

all that remains of those efforts are handprints strung along the walls

we were too late


we died out

sprawled on the concrete  

mounds of nothing

left for the maggots to chew through

but these weren’t our only holes

eventually, we will fade away and be nothing more than a footprint left in the dust


we can’t complain about this

we do not get angry

we are not allowed to be sad

because we knew

Monday’s Guest Speaker

On Monday the 7th at 11AM we will have a guest speaker from Harmony House. If you think of some questions you would like to ask her, please write them down so you don’t forget them. It would also be great if we could have our donations box almost full by then, considering the deadline is the following Wednesday (friendly reminder that I will bring brownies only if everyone donates at least one item, and yes I will be keeping track).


Mini Workshop #5 from “Habits of the Creative Mind” subtopic “Exploring”: On Going Down the Rabbit Hole

*This Practice Session is Required – 5 Steps*  Each person will present a summary of their research to the class on Monday the 7th.

To read the preface before doing this work go here: Workshop # 5

This is the practice session assignment:


1. Type the words Ellen Dissanayake into the Google search engine. Press return.

Everyone who does this at the same time will get the same results. We can call this “ordinary research.” If you click on the Wikipedia entry for Dissanayake, you’ll find yourself on a page that provides a thumbnail sketch of the author and her work. Again, in gaining this foothold on Dissanayake’s work, you’ll be doing what any ordinary researcher starting out would do.

2. It’s what you do next that matters. Choose one of Dissanayake’s works that you find online and read it.

3. Your next task is to make your research into this researcher of the extraordinary. (We composed that last sentence with Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in mind.) Set aside at least an hour for exploratory research. Begin by choosing a phrase, a quotation, a reference, or a footnote from the Dissanayake work you read and doing another Google search. Read two or more of the recommended links. Then choose a phrase, a quotation, a reference, or a footnote from the second set of works and do another Google search. Repeat. Repeat. And repeat again, until you’ve burrowed down to an insight or a question that you yourself find extraordinary.


4. We call the process outlined above, where you move from one linked source to the next, “drilling down.” Spend at least 30 minutes reflecting on this process. As you drilled down in your research, beginning with your first search about Dissanayake and ending with an extraordinary insight or question, how did you distinguish between ordinary and extraordinary moments of discovery? What choices yielded genuine surprises? Begin a list of useful strategies to include in your repertoire as a curious researcher, a list you can add to as you continue to practice drilling down.


5. Write an essay about your research into the extraordinary that presents a special or artful idea, insight, or question. Don’t write a schoolish “report” about your research. Instead, make something special with your words; write something that rewards repeated acts of attention.

Miller, Richard. Habits of the Creative Mind (Page 78). Bedford/St. Martin’s. Kindle Edition.


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