“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery - celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from - it’s where you take them to.””
Making headway on First Person. Want to contribute? Try this storytelling activity. Only takes 10-15 minutes! Honest :)
“The message that we send when we don’t represent the broader culture in our stories is that ‘You are other’. As a community, as an organism, it is a thing that makes us ill. It is actually bad for us.”
First Person is a storytelling platform for creating and remixing your own characters and stories. Check out a clickable prototype at this link or try out the storytelling activity using this simple form.
Perhaps this exclusivity, in which children of color are at best background characters, and more often than not absent, is in fact part of the imaginative aspect of these books. But what it means is that when kids today face the realities of our world, our global economies, our integrations and overlappings, they all do so without a proper map. They are navigating the streets and avenues of their lives with an inadequate, outdated chart, and we wonder why they feel lost.
Words like diversity, and power and privilege, while hugely necessary and important to understanding our work, have been overused and prescribed in schools and workplaces and on news shows that not only do they not mean what they once did but they can be divisive, and allow us a false sense of accomplishment for engaging with the “isms” of our culture while completely ignoring the personal stories of shame, pride, celebration, curiosity and joy that connect us to others and fuel our investment in education in the first place. They enable us to avoid talking about ourselves.
Consider the importance of this given several recent and compelling demographic trends: White Americans will be the minority in the US by the year 2040 and according to US News and World Report and the disparities of wealth in this country will be greater in 2020 than they are right now. It is not merely enough any more to learn and regurgitate concepts and research and vocabulary – we need to learn each other. We need to learn ourselves.
"This isn’t a story about a widget that will end poverty, an approach that will combat climate change or an formula that will lead to the curing of cancer – but it is no less important than any of those. I’m going to talk about how desperately we need to learn to talk about ourselves as a way of better communicating with those around us."