Today I took the Young Writers to Bates College. What a fantastic day. We arrived early and had just seated ourselves on the couches, when an older gentleman in coveralls walked into the room. With a scowl on his face (he later explained that he never smiles when first meeting people), he walked straight up to one of our students and stood about two inches from said student's face and said "Who are you? What are you doing here?" in a very thick Maine accent. As the student stumbled over an explanation, the man cupped both his ears and got even closer. At this point I had a sneaking suspicion that this might be the writer for the day. My instinct proved right. The man in coveralls was none other than Robert Skogland, aka, The Humble Farmer. He was quirky, somewhat rude and absolutely hilarious.
When all the students arrived, one young woman was reading an article he had left on the table. "What are you doing?" he demanded of her. "Reading your article," she responded hesitantly, as we all squirmed in discomfort for her. He walked to the table, grabbed one of his cds out of box and threw it to the girl, congratulating her on showing an interest.
He was an absolute riot. He kept both the teachers and students engaged and laughing all day. As he read students' work he would be struck by something funny and the room would fill with his booming "HA! HA!" He talked about the difference between a humorist and a comedian and explained that sometimes a punchline need not even be delivered. My personal favorite was his commentary the Bangor Daily News refused to publish. He stated that when a group of men from Saudi Arabia attacked New York City, we proceeded to invade Iraq. Ecuador responded by saying they were sure glad that Peru hadn't chosen to start a war with the U.S. This is the kind of humor I crave. For Skogland's thoughts on dry humor, click on the title of this post.
NCTE Reflections Part One
2 days ago