Not only is literature a wide and varied art form that offers so much opportunity, but it is the perfect relaxer too I think. Taking your mind off the hard work of running projects, writing up your portfolio and life in general.
I personally love performance poetry. Is this theatre or is this literature? Spoken word for me is an enigma that doesn't need to be categorised, it simply exists as a wonderful way to express feeling.
I was asked this month by our wonderful editor, "What is your favourite book?"
I could go back to my childhood and start quoting J.K. Rowling for Harry Potter, Malorie Blackman or perhaps Pete Johnson. These authors all produced things I loved. But instead I'm going to select a more recent book, by a much less known author; that is unless your an academic.
Randy Pausch, for a book called "The Last Lecture" (2008). Put simply, its a book that really hits home about humanity, about life, about the struggles it can entail BUT the strength of man (and woman of course). It is almost auto-biographical, a journey that you are walked through about a man who is diagnosed with cancer and who will eventually lose not only his life, but his family and friends.
I don't want to spoil the storyline, and the 'ending' is what you will expect, but the pivotal points come throughout the book and thus the storyline is key.
"The Last Lecture" is an opportunity for professors to reminisce on their life, consider important questions and what matters most to them. Randy was to give such a lecture, but given his own imminent demise, he could truly reflect and deliver what would be his last lecture.
The lecture was about "Really Achieving your Childhood dreams", and as the blurb puts it. It was about living. "…Time is all you have… and you may find one day that you have less than you think".
Such a piece of literature, purely non-fiction at that, is an inspiring story that can teach many years of wisdom and life lessons in just over 200 (barely A5) pages. There are not many art forms that can achieve such a feat.
So why does this help with getting Gold? Well as I said above, there is the opportunity for release and relaxation which is vital when pulling together a project or portfolio. There is the opportunity to learn critical lessons - not just from guides and non-fiction, but through the tales of experienced authors delighting you with a tale of triumph and strife just as much.
You may also decide that your challenge for Unit 1 is to learn a new style of writing, or perhaps your leadership project involves a series of workshops for others to learn. Literature is an amenable, expansive and immersive art form. Don't shy away, even if you don't like English lessons at school!
And if you're interested, here is the last lecture Randy gave: