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Dear [Thing that has Power Over Me],

Our teacher-partner/Pages artist in residence Kim Leddy recently visited ACPA (see:

I like to leave time to improvise when Kim is in the room because she is–I think–first and foremost a creative (to use Curator/Artist Stephanie Rond’s self-classification from our Summer Session). I always leave my time with Kim laden with new project or assignment ideas that demonstrate CCSS learning and are totally fun with huge potential to express creativity. This time it was a simple-sounding assignment with massively important implications:

1) Identify what has Power over You.
2) Next, choose what thing that has Power over You and write a letter to it.

Students examples: work, school, money, nostalgic sentiment — they all have Power over ACPA students, they admit.

I wrote a piece myself during Lunch and without any revision I wanted to share it to encourage my students and others to take risks and be uncomfortable sharing your writing and yet doing it anyhow:

101 Everywhere St.
First World Ave;, 

New Media, USA

Dear Screens,

Screen time!—now, then, always now. [Sigh.]
List all the screens an average human encounters in a day.

– [et cetera]

Consider the places an average earthling encounters screens:
shopping (signs suggest sales),
driving (billboards),
sitting (in-class and out to do class),
relaxing (watching from your bed), working (the laptop is the new pencil), even sleeping (the screen wakes us up)!

Are we amusing ourselves to death with screen time? Is all time now screen time?! When glued to a screen, do you know what you look like?

An entranced zombie.

Yes. Screens zombify your faces. Your minds, however, I don’t know…
…I do know they’re rewiring the way our brains work—on a physical level.
So, what happens to my son in twenty years after screens have bombarded him throughout his formative years? his brain? his body?—what are the effects, neurologically, sociologically?


You Screens can elevate us onto a higher plane of consciousness, but not when cat videos, Miley Cyrus memes, and trolls rule our consumption.

So, Screens, maybe you’re not my enemy after all. Maybe you facilitate my mortal enemy: distraction from authentic living, depletion of discourse, darkness of potential—all in your warm illuminated glow.

Watching you—watching us,

Aaron and Everyone Else

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