The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Student Becomes the Teacher

(This is what I sent out in my Lifewriting newsletter today...)
Student Becomes The Teacher

This last phase of the Hero’s Journey represents the movement to the next level of life. One has completed childhood, and become an adult. There are few conditions of human existence more important and discussed than the process of maturation. In fact, it is said that there are only two basic stories: the child becomes and adult, and the adult faces death.
This phase is also referred to as “the return to the village with the Elixer” as well. I like “Student Becomes Teacher” because it symbolizes that the person who once needed to learn in order to fulfill a specific destiny is now the repository of wisdom. In “Star Wars: A New Hope” Luke Skywalker and Han Solo are given medals while people cheer. This means that their society considers their actions and character worthy of emulation.
It is important to remember that reach this stage ends nothing in life: it merely opens a new doorway to a new set of challenges.
To apply this step to the Lifewriting theory of drama, ask yourself seriously: in what way has my character completed herself? What does she have to offer the world now (if only a bad example!) What does she still have to learn? You may or may not address this directly in your script or story, but you should know.
To deepen this further, ask yourself: “In what way have I completed myself? In what arenas am I prepared to be a leader in my community, with my family?” In any of the three major arenas (fitness, career, relationships) there are major lessons that our communities desperately needs. Leaders must arise. Obesity, broken marriages, credit debt, teen pregnancy…there are so many ways where honest, sincere voices could make a difference. If you yourself have broken through a barrier in one of these, why not give your wisdom to the world?
And to look at it another way, what work do you still need to do? Why not write a story about THAT? In that way, the structures of drama can help you gain perspective on your life, and your world. It is always easier to solve problems for other people, right? You may find that you come up with the exact answer you need!
Get to work, guys, and I’ll be back soon with some terrific ideas gained from the last four months of INTENSE writing projects. Whew! It’s really been a challenge…but heck, I knew the job was dangerous when I took it…
Poet Nikki Giovanni apparently was teaching at Virginia Tech, and had Cho Seung-Hui in her class. She said he was "scaring the other students" and asked for him to be removed from her class. Good intuition there, Nikki. Damn.
So I pigged out yesterday and my weight has still stabilized at 178. I'm going to cautiously take it down to 175 now, but I'm simultaneously building muscle as well. I'm going to take a good look at some of the most common body-building foods (tuna, peanut butter, etc.) and include them in my "snack" category. On IF, you definitely need to pay attention to your hunger urges on Feast days, or you'll drop weight too quickly. I no longer need Hoodia, and my guess is that in about a week, this game really begins--in the sense that physical changes really start manifesting after about 6 weeks of a new program.
I've been in mild overwhelm with all my projects since Thanksgiving. Turning in ASSASSIN'S CREED helped. Now there's a book review, a script re-write, and some other little pieces. I've got a DANA laptop/keyboard, a lovely little PDA made of high impact molded plastic. It's little LCD screen isn't great for editing, but it's boffo at creating new rough text. So I'm starting to create lists of "plug-ins," scenes in projects that are self-contained, from 100-2500 words, that I can write in a burst of flow. In that way, I can create one "plug in" every day, minimum, no matter where I am or what I'm doing. (The Dana fits comfortably in a backpack. It's like a keyboard with an LCD. Neat. Batteries hold like 50 hours of writing at a charge!) This means that no matter how #$@@%! busy I get, I'm making progress, and that helps to stave off panic...
I like breaking my fasts with fruit, or a fruit smoothie. My smoothies use mixed frozen fruit chunks in a base of orange juice. Then I add "Ultimate Meal" powder, which has a great, organic, wide-spectrum of nutrients. My body really likes this. When I don't give my body the nutrients it needs, I'll start feeling it in my joints, I'll feel achy, get cracked lips and little sores inside my mouth. When I take good care of myself, my body feels just great, and eager for the next workout...

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