Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Once Upon a Midnight Dreary.

When my parents left on Tuesday to drive back home, my mom gave the boys a couple of gifts:
- the first season of The Sarah Jane Adventures, aka the gateway drug that will inevitably make my sons Doctor Who fans, and
- a collection of Edgar Allan Poe poems.

The boys were particularly intrigued by the latter. For the past few weeks "Zarf" and "Klaxon" have been watching episodes of Ruby Gloom. One of the characters is a talking raven named Poe, whose brothers are called Edgar and Allan. They asked me to read "The Raven."

I have many strengths. I can fold a fitted sheet so that when someone opens my linen closest they can't tell which are the top sheets and which are the fitted. I can stretch a dollar from here to next Sunday. I'm great at hemming pants. Have a 600 piece Lego set that needs building? I'm your gal! Want a policy and procedure manual drafted for your non-profit organization? I have experience! I have never met a bookshelf that I could not organize so you can find whatever you need in SECONDS. I have freakish upper body strength and can carrying very large packages with ease. I'm up to the challenge of reading aloud a story that requires multiple voices with various regional accents!

But I can not read poetry. I stumble. I stutter. I stymie myself and my listeners.

So like any sane, technologically savvy person, I outsourced the matter to a pro: John De Lancie:

Zarf and Klaxon sat and listened to Mr De Lancie -- known to Trekkies as the omnipotent trickster Q from Star Trek -- in silence. Then we talked. Did the raven really speak? Did the narrator just imagine it? How did Lenore die? Was the reference to Pluto about the god or the dwarf planet (god, in case you are wondering)? What kind of person has a bust of Athena in their study?

I was so pleased with this child-led language lesson, I mentioned it on twitter. Later I noticed someone had responded:

If I tell you that I squealed with joy when I read John De Lancie's tweet, will you think less of me?



    Are you never going to wash your eyeballs again? Because I wouldn't.

    Love John DeLancie. Love that poem. Love his reading of it. And am now giving him a Classy Actor Award for his gracious reply.

    Also, can you come homeschool me?

  2. Um, you are officially the coolest person in the Universe that is NOT John de Lancie or Patrick Stewart. Serious.

  3. Squeeeee!

    Also, I cannot hem anything or build Lego without studying those little manuals and downing a lot of Tylenol. Wanna come over?

  4. BTW, I squee-ed just because you did. I actually don't really know who that guy is.

  5. He read that so well...I vaguely remember him as Q...and I recognized his voice.

    I could NOT imagine building anything out of lego that big. No sir. As for Mom can fold sheets like have to unfold them to figure out which one is which. My lumpy lumps give themselves away! Organizing though...that I could give you a run for your money on!

  6. Who knew he'd turn out so cool when he was Eugene on Days of Our Lives? Somewhat coincidentally I watched Trekkies last night. Some of the fans are - whoa. All of the cast members were so warm and genuine and gracious, though. Clearly he is a class act.

    Sadly, my Dad taught me to fold the fitted sheets: "you squish them up and shove them in the closet and slam the door before they pop back out". I will now always miss you on laundry day. I can read poetry pretty well though.

  7. You are a SUPER STAR! :-) All I remember is reading Tell-Tale Heart in junior high and being TERRIFIED. That's Poe, yes?

    I like poetry, but am not sure how I'd be at reading it out loud in that situation. You just need some Shel Silverstein, you wouldn't stumble over that!

  8. That's awesome! I may need to start using twitter....

  9. Ok not to change the subject, but could you come visit me? I have several pairs of pants that need hemming and my bookshelves are in desperate need of organizing. I can offer, in exchange, a blackberry apple pie? Or my ability to weave through traffic and scare my more timid passengers? Let me know.

  10. Frame it! Frame the tweet. That is freaking cool.

    BTW, I read The Raven for the first time ever today. Totally without me reading your blog first. Weird. I just felt the urge to give it a go...I didn't like it much. But then I didn't expect to. Poetry and I aren't the best of friends. However, I *have* read it and that's one more thing to tick off the list.

  11. Funny I should read this post today, because this site was just suggested to me on

    I see a Poe unit in Language Arts!