It’s a moot point whether there is such a faculty as ‘creativity’, but whatever peculiar combination of skills it is that we choose to call by that name continues to flourish at OISE Cambridge.
One of our students, Ivan Leplevskiy, is just coming to the end of an 8-week course, and is now heading off to art school. Before he left he did this drawing of James, whom many will remember as the tallest teacher at OISE, and the most distinguished. The drawing certainly captures something.
Ivan also showed us a selection of paintings, of which these are a few:
We wish Ivan the best of luck.
Meanwhile, one of our teachers, Sally Guyer, in company with Doris Lessing, has been working on the creative imaginations of various of our students. She sends me the following communication:
Following a reading comprehension in ‘Global Advanced’ where we read a short story by Doris Lessing about a young boy called Gerry, these 4 students were then asked to write a piece as if they were one of the other characters (the big boys) in the story.
Every day, my German friends and I go to a beach on the west side of Miami. An English child comes daily to a beach close to us. Every day he observes us diving through an underground tunnel. Yesterday he came and talked to us; he was curious and wanted to try what we were doing. I told him it was too dangerous for him because he was too young and wouldn’t be able to hold his breath for long enough. He was very stubborn and wanted to try anyway but I didn’t agree. I wasn’t persuaded. He wanted to demonstrate to us he was able to do what we were doing so he held his breath and dived down through the tunnel. We waited for him at the opposite end of the tunnel. He spent a lot of time down in the water and after a while I became afraid he was drowning. I thought it was necessary to go down and see what he was doing but suddenly he came out of the water. Everything was fine but I knew he had run a big risk and put himself in danger.
I was spending my summer holidays in my village near the lake. This year an English boy called Jerry decided to spend his holiday here. He is four years younger than us but my friends and I welcomed him into our group.
Usually when we bathe at the lake we dive into the water and try to pass through an underwater tunnel. One day, we went to the beach and while we were playing we saw Jerry half a mile away, diving into the water. I thought it was strange that he didn’t come to play with us but at that moment I didn’t pay too much attention. After a few minutes, I noticed that Jerry was still underwater so I started worrying and ran to the place where I saw Jerry diving. When I arrived there, something drew my attention – there was a rock stained with blood. I thought the worst. As I turned round to go back and call the police a gasp reached my ears; it was Jerry. He was laying on a rock looking exhausted with his eyes filled with blood and his nose bleeding but, thank God, he was alive.
Not a day goes by when I don’t see that little boy swimming enthusiastically at the beach, right next to where me and my crew meet every day. He seems to be in the water from the early morning until late evening and it looks as if he is trying to measure how much time he can last underwater since he always brings a stopwatch with him. We’ve been observing him for a couple of weeks so far and he certainly is a promising swimmer but he looks a bit young to be part of a crew. We thought we could challenge him to dive into the water and swim across the rock passage, something all of the members of the crew have had to overcome at some point. That way all of his efforts would be somehow be compensated (rewarded).
It is a daring and dangerous test though, not advisable for those who are afraid of the dark and the unknown. I remember the day I had to do it – my arms and legs were trembling and my head was spinning just before I got into the freezing water. A strong feeling of regret invaded me and thoughts of giving up kept splattering my mind. But I had no choice, I was pushed into the water amongst a loud uproar coming from all of the people from the crew, an uproar that that faded away into a rumble and then silence, absolute silence. I was left in complete darkness so I relied on my hands to find my way. I was surprised at how much my lungs were withstanding the pressure and this gave me the confidence I needed to carry on with my task. I was eventually able to perceive, despite my blurred vision, a dim light at the end of the cave. When I finally got out, the previous uproar turned into shouts of victory. I was euphoric too, not just because now I could be one of the crew but also because I had gone beyond my limits and shown myself that I could face almost any challenge.
This happened when I was nineteen and I can imagine that, for a boy of his age, it could actually be a matter of life and death. How would he be able to cope with such strong emotions?
I had just woken up when I found John banging at the front door because he was waiting for me to go to the beach. I looked at the alarm clock and realised I was really late. I quickly put on my trunks and ate a few biscuits then got on my bike and went to meet John. He told me he had been waiting for almost half an hour.
As we arrived at the beach I saw Gerry passing in front of us. He didn’t stop as usual but continued cycling. I was quite surprised he didn’t wait for us. He loved hanging out together. At the beach we swam straightaway because it was so hot and then we layed on the sand and waited for Tom who would be arriving soon.
Suddenly the weather changed and it started raining. I had forgotten that my parents had told me it was going to rain at lunchtime. The rain was very brief but I stopped under a tree to backpack getting wet in the shower. I saw Gerry coming back from the beach. He was pale and his face back was full of scratches. I understood instantly what he had done. He joined us and we went back to the beach once it had stopped raining and had a wonderful day, swimming and playing football.