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It's a Flickering World

The world is small indeed and Flickr can make it seem a small village. Early this month, someone in Austria emailed me with a republishing permission request for this picture:



The picture has recently been publised in a students' magazine called JAWS (journalists, artists, writers, students). You can see a taste of it here. Quite inspiring for any ESL or EFL writing class.

Mina, the magazine editor, was kind enough to send me a pdf with the article my picture illustrates. There I found a teacher's voice who could be someone working next to me.

Susanne Kopf writes:

"Another means of transportation, which helped me up my reading was the train. Having family and sometimes even visiting friends in a different city is a great motivation to go there. One train ride usually took about 3,5 hours, the equivalent of a third of a book."(1)

That's about the length of my train journey to visit my family. That's how I got most of my reading done while commuting daily to study in Buenos Aires a long time ago.

It goes on...

"Sometimes the line between private and school reading was blurred by me realizing that a book I had ordered just for fun actually fit a course I was taking. This should have thrilled me, as it meant that what I enjoyed doing just for myself was also valuable academically. " (1)

Blurring the lines. That's it. Borges in his prologue to Borges Profesor argued that 'obligatory reading' was a nonsense phrase. How could you obligatorily enjoy reading? (Quote source in Spanish)

Lots of coincidences with Mina as a node in the connection. She had no idea the picture in Flickr had been taken by an English language teacher. Mina works for a magazine which belongs to the English and American Studies Department of the Karl Franzens-Universität at an Austrian university.

What Mina doesn't know yet is what the book in the picture is about:

If there were any more coincidences that linked us, I would not be surprised. Perhaps this post reaches Susanne? I sense this story may have a sequel. For now, I just enjoy to see what these connections through our published content can lead to. As I wrote in my Flickr profile, take me wherever you are.

My Semester of Reading by Susanne Kopf. JAWS Magazine, KF University Graz. Issue 21, pages 20-21. April 2011.

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Coincidences or signals.

Just over 4 years ago, I wrote a post and you commented on it. In your comment, you shared a link from David Warlick, who wrote about another blogger's post that I read, wanted to share, but searched and could not find.
I recall that we have had a number of serendipitous connections over the years and at times I would read your words and think, 'she's in my head'.

I used the word serendipitous... but I think sometimes Syncronicity comes into play. This has a more related meaning than coincidence and has obviously come into play here with Mina.

I also like Gabriela's ideas of 'signals'... though with things like this I wonder what is being signaled and if we should search for meaning, or rather just appreciate the connection from a distant 'Flickering' soul?


I wish I could remember that link I mentioned! It can be frustrating not to find it. What I do remember is that I learnt the word 'serendipity' after you used it in a comment here back in 2007.

This month I've been reflecting on the topic of homework thinking I need to write a post eventually. Your two posts on the subject and the rich conversation in them have been more than timely.

@Gabriela 's short comment is linked to a long conversation we had earlier that day. A talk about my frustration at seeing how much misunderstanding we face in our local schools. Ideas and attempts at new pedagogies tend to crash in the business of everyday. They 'play school', as Konrad Glogowski would put it. I find it hard to keep inspired.

And yet, connections have a way to surface somewhere, almost unaided, like this photo story. I agree with you David that sometimes the simple appreciation of these connections does mean a lot to me.

By the way, have I ever mentioned to you that the record Synchronicity is my all time favourite?

As you know, I had to move my blog from Elgg/Eduspaces. This was not a friendly move, as the transfer failed. So, I moved my posts one-by-one, preserving the comments the same way, reflecting as I went along.

Here is the post, with your comment & my response in the "Reflection upon re-reading and re-posting" section: http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/on-being-a-blogger/
When I hunted it down, I had actually remembered that, on twitter, you told me that 'serendipitous' was a new word for you... I think it was on this post rather than your blog, and that's why you can't find it.

I had that memory written into my comment above, but telling someone 'you learned this from me' seemed pretentious and I deleted that part. Isn't it funny that it is a rather small point from 4 years ago, and we both still remember it?

I fell in love with the song 'Tea in the Sahara with you' as a teenager. "...sometimes the simple appreciation of these connections does mean a lot to me" too.

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