So much has been happening with Sphere College lately it’s hard to know how to catch up my readers. I’ll just attempt to outline the major developments.
First, we just completed the fourth week of classes. We discussed Gilgamesh for the first three weeks, and have now moved on to Genesis (translation by Robert Alter). My approach is to simply allow the discussion to go where the students want to take it, rather than forcing my own agenda. I’ve learned a great deal this way, and it is my hope that the students have as well. They are so enthusiastic that this approach works quite well. I do have to work hard to step back but as long as I realize the ensuing discussion is one the students feel invested in, it’s not too difficult. Unfortunately, two hours per week is not really enough to stretch out our discussions, but at least we get a taste for the depth with which the texts could be treated. My plan for the future is to raise money in order to hire students to do necessary work for the college while providing them with the flexibility to pursue their studies.
Next up: this past week brought some really wonderful news. I finally hired an assistant! Stephen Walsh, one of the Sphere students, opted to quit his stable job and jump into the unknown to help chart new territory. We’re off to a great start. It is extremely helpful to have someone else to bounce ideas off of and who can take on some critical projects.
Also during the past week I made a trip down to North Carolina. While there I met with several people who are responsible for the success of the Black Mountain College Museum (http://blackmountaincollege.org/). I highly recommend a visit to the museum at 56 Broadway in Asheville, NC. Each time I’ve visited they’ve had a fascinating exhibit. The current one highlights the work of three women of Black Mountain College: Anni Albers, Ruth Asawa and M.C. Richards. Richards eventually moved to Camphill Village Kimberton Hills, PA, just a few miles from Phoenixville (where Sphere College is located). While visiting the museum I purchased a copy of the documentary film “M.C. Richards: The Fire Within”. I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet, but plan to get to it very soon.
Over the next few weeks we’ll be forming a Steering Commitee for Sphere College made up of students of the College. I look forward to the discussions we’ll have and the creative solutions that will emerge for the problems we’re already encountering, as well as for those that will inevitably arise. And if I can continue to keep from tampering too much, I imagine things should continue to move along relatively smoothly.