Here’s what occurred as I unfroze pipes and washed dishes: cultivate the Art of Contextualizing Juxtaposition, spinning out the stories liberated by juxtapositions, and encouraging others to play at doing the same. In the context of teaching-learning, it’s encouraging students to MAKE things; whether they’re haiku or collage or mashup or essay matters less than the evolving taste for making and mooting own expression, in [semi-] public space. The essential is that the instructor be seen to be doing the very same thing.
When we first bought the house in Maine, a bit more than 3 years ago, the stairs looked like this:
Our friend Scott Strang, who has built a few staircases in his day, pronounced the banister “butt ugly” (and he’s ordinarily a moderate sort of chap). He was right. My colleagues at Washington & Lee gave me a gift certificate at a fancy hardwood store as a Retirement present, and I cashed it in (more than a year ago) on the wherewithal for a replacement, newel post and balusters and banister and all. The pieces leaned meaningfully in a corner while I figured and schemed and thought about HOW to install them, and today Tim Lewis (who has built a few staircases in his day) did the installation in about 6 hours. It would have taken me several days… but now it’s glorious: