salvador-dali

The Persistence of Memory

Jose Vilson Jose 4 Comments

Let’s set the scene.

Sunday, September 7th, 2008. I’ve just spent the better part of the last 7 hours soft-coding and designing page 4 of my website, which includes it’s own subset of pages and such, and making a really cool menu. Drake and Josh, Spongebob Squarepants, Philadelphia Eagles vs. St. Louis Rams, and Dallas Cowboys vs. Cleveland Browns on the TV screen. Honey Nut Cheerios, egg sandwiches, and rice and beans on my various plates. All this Sunday productivity has prevented me from being even more productive. The sun looks the same now against my walls that it did when I woke up: orange and calming. No, I haven’t stepped outside all day. No, I haven’t graded my kids’ work: a diagnostic namely. No, I haven’t even seen my regulars like Facebook and Twitter in a little while.

All in the name of finishing what I’ve started.

I was inspired yesterday to go to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) to see the new Salvador Dali exhibition, and in a word: disturbing and awesome in the truest sense of the word. His paintings are rife with introspection, iconoclasm, and assault on conventional thinking. While his artwork is easily recognizable, they’re just as mesmerizing as the first time you see them. His work does not belie his face: he’s a madman of extreme proportions, and his art was his placebo. When you look at the work, you notice the man is accomplished for wringing out those emotions of us; he arouses feelings of disgust, hurt, disappointment, arousal, idolation, and excitement.

And the one thing we can say about him is that his genius ISN’T in what he was ABOUT to do. He had tons of unfinished works, and left a few manuscripts on the table for us to peruse I suppose. What he didn’t finish usually measures potential. Thus, we can only measure someone by what they DO finish. If he didn’t finish his works, would we laud him posthumously the way we do now? Not as much. We forgive his intricacies and, frankly, his more perverted thoughts, strictly because when he made the surreal more tangible to us through his work.

In the same way, whether we’re in the middle of a project, whether we’re getting paid for it or not, it’s in our best interest to finish what we start, or at least finish the plans that will let someone else finish the job for you. This summer, during my semi-internship at my school while learning about data and how to apply that to instruction, I also helped develop and implement an Excel spreadsheet that automatically analyzes the snapshot we know as the NY State ELA and Math tests and distributing that to every teacher in the building. While there’ll definitely need to be software updates every so often, suffice it to say that actually getting it done was the best feeling ever.

That’s pretty much how I’m approaching the next 176 (or so) school days left in my schedule. As well as this blog. And my books. And my life. There’s lots to accomplish, but for anyone who’s been paying attention, I’ve never been so motivated in my life. Now, if I’m correct, the next blog you all read will update you on my latest and greatest baby: the long-awaited main site update.

jose, who wonders who watches the watchmen …

About Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

Comments 4

  1. Taylor

    Wow. I am duly humbled. So many unfinished (barely started) things from this summer.

    All the cool coding and poetry aside, THIS is why I still read your blog (when Zeus ~or is it Poseidon? gives me internet) because you motivate me and you make insightful observations. I’m inspired to do more.

  2. Hugh O'Donnell

    Holy Shazzbat, Jose! You wore me out just reading about your energy level!

    I have to comment on Dali, though…I was hooked on his work when it was covered in Time Magazine in the 1950s. I read Time every week — my Dad subscribed.

    What an opportunity for a kid to have a window to the world — prior to the internet.

    Thanks, Dad! :)

    Hugh O’Donnells last blog post..The Pace of Change

  3. Pingback: The Jose Vilson — I Watch The Watchmen

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