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Exiles

Exiles

Why does it take so long to accomplish something?

Why do you put off for so long something that really shouldn’t take that much effort?

I have been thinking about this lyric assignment since I signed up to do one in early fall. I never started to write. I just couldn’t. I had a song picked - a new one to me. Not a classic. Not one that I have loved for years. A song that reached out to me.

I listened to the song Exiles on repeat some mornings on my commute to school/work. I tried to understand what it was about this song. Was there some deep connection to the past? Why were these connections coming out in this song? Why right now? Was there some particular lyric that sang out to me?

There was a sound. I knew that much. Something about the drums. They sounded so familiar. From Jumper? So, this song connected my past to my present? That couldn’t be the only thing.

I even researched the title and some of the lyrics:

ex·ileˈeɡˌzīl,ˈekˌsīl/noun

  1. The state of being barred from one's native country, typically for political or punitive reasons. "He knew now that he would die in exile." Synonyms: banishment, expulsion, expatriation, deportation. "His exile from the land of his birth."

The Dark Arts, also known as Dark Magic, refers to any type of magic that is mainly used to cause harm, control, or even death to the victim. The Dark Arts are not necessarily "evil", just because it's labeled "dark".

Exiles

I just couldn’t see it. What was causing me to be so connected to this song? Then I thought maybe this is what writers call “writer’s block.” No, that couldn’t be it; I’m not a writer. Then something happened. I went into my basement, noticed a flower, and my mind opened up.

I am a teacher. I teach mostly 9th graders, Earth Science. It has been the running joke in my department that I am the Queen of the “land of misfit toys.” My kids (usually call my students my kids) come from all sorts of backgrounds. For some everything is perfect. For others things are not so good. Some of them just need attention! I jest that they just need a hug!!

Exiles have been banished or expelled from what they know: the students come from a broken home? Gotten in trouble and are now suspended from school - from the only other “home” they have known?

The exile is talking to or about their teacher. Maybe the teacher can’t quite get to the root of the issue with the student, but the student is so grateful that the teacher tried:

“You're gonna miss us when we grow up I miss your sweetness and your grief And I may be a mystery But you were beyond belief”

“Come and sing it out You're the next best thing to the devil Come and sing it out at the crossroads At the crossroads, yeah”

The crossroads must be the end of high school. The devil telling the student that they won’t survive the next phase of their life - the teacher playing the part of devil’s advocate.

Down in my basement it came to me. The exiles are my students. Now, I am sure SJ didn’t mean his song to be about teachers and the education system. I have listened to this song a hundred times and never did I put that idea to the song. But that moment it all clicked. And maybe next time I listen to that song I will have a different hypothesis... for right now it works.

Interview: Ollie Roper

Interview: Ollie Roper

Alex Kopp’s Virtual Wish Jar

Alex Kopp’s Virtual Wish Jar

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