Monday, September 17, 2007

column 16; boy smell

One thing that I had to commend Nirvana for was the aptly titled 'Smells Like Teen Spirit.' The scent of 18 adolescent guys cooped up in a room is an odor indescribable and scorched to one's memory after exposure. If that smell was a song it would probably be Nirvana's. And I mean that in the best sense possible.

Last summer I was living in a cabin with 12 15-year old guys. This summer I'm in a dorm with 30 of them. More privacy (a room of one's own), but more teen spirit to smell.

Planning to work with teens for most of my life, though, I figured the opportunity would be worthwhile to get some out-of-class expereince. The kids here are artists, so far we have the theatre boys and visual artists, next week come the opera and dance boys. And the summer wouldn't be complete without the chamber musicians coming after that, or the creative writers. Three guesses on which group I get to work with, and the first two don't count.

The first wave of boys are great. Lots of energy and excitement, as was clear in our first dorm meeting tonight. After interrogating them on their names, studies, and favorite kind of pie we had the enjoyable task of covering the rules in minutia, and often in triplicate for inattentive ears. The place here is pretty lock-down for the students, but with the schedules they have I can't imagine them working very hard on much else beyond their craft. The theatre kids showed up yesterday, auditioned today, and are cast tomorrow. They're putting on 4 plays and two full musicals in five weeks. Would I be able to handle that kind of schedule and also sneak out? No way, but then again I could never read the Scottish play without laughing, so.

Incidentally Shakespeare's historically innacurate death-bed of Macbeth was viewed by me near Culloden and Inverness in Scotland. In case you get the chance. The Scots turned it into a tavern.

And of course the creative writing students this summer are going to Scotland. Think of all those famous Scottish writers, after all. Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson. Others, I'm sure.

Do I wish I was in Scotland right now? No way. Sweltering heat and tourist gaping for Nessie. I got to gape with Nessie in near-private with my sister during the Winter. And if there I'd not be able to enjoy the particular pungence of the position I've landed myself in this summer, working with boys in Wetsern Massachusetts.

I'm planning to write a lot.

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