Earlier in the year (here) I described how my students this year are like little pirates and my creative-writing self often feels captive in the hold of a ship sailing on the high seas. A pirate who most often has me walking the plank in my dreams is a young 5 year old I call Long John Silver.
Long John has had me mending sails, swabbing the deck and over a barrel many times this year. But since the crew and Mr. Silver leave me on my own in the hold at night, I’ve raided the stores of wine and spent some time contemplating how best to get this ship to shore and make my escape. I know that becoming familiar with the needs of Mr. Long John, and a few other key crew members, is key to my survival.
What I have learned about LJ is that deep down he really wants his crew to like him. So when I loan him my parrot to give him tips about how to talk and act, he actually puts the bird on his shoulder. Today was a great example. He was in a twist because two mates weren’t matching up pieces of the alphabet correctly. Long John started storming at them and swung his leg (the non-peg kind) and luckily I got there just before it connected. I came close and whispered that instead of shouting at his friends – (“because no one likes to be yelled at right?”) he should offer help. And he did it, Mr. Silver took my little word-bird, returned to his friends and copied my language exactly. “May I join you?”
Ho! I’ve seen some land today. But alas, I’ve got Blackbeard to think about.