A street in Harlem, brown stone steps go down from the houses to the street

Dark Angels Note 165

Dearest Friends

Welcome back to our Friday Note – our weekly collection of writerly thoughts.



Today, 10 November, in 1969, the children’s television show Sesame Street premiered in the US. The show was created to entertain and educate pre-school children by teaching basic numeracy and literacy skills as well as promoting self-esteem and social inclusion. And it, of course, features the characters synonymous with the show, the Muppets, created by puppeteer Jim Henson.

For a show aimed at preschoolers, teachers might have been an obvious resource to staff the writing team. However, the producers decided that educating scriptwriters about the curriculum would be easier than training educators about how to write comedy. So, the research team created a “Writers’ Notebook” of curriculum definitions that the scriptwriters were free to develop for any of the characters.



Although the show is aimed at children, it often features prominent guests such as actors, musicians, celebrities, and poets – Maya Angelou appeared several times on the show.

Watch Maya Angelou’s Favorite Things on Sesame Street’s YouTube channel.



The show uses comedy and conciseness to tackle its subject matter to appeal to and educate its audience.

Do you have a tricky subject that you’ve been wrestling with? Try breaking it down into bitesize chunks or injecting a little comedy. How does that change your perspective of it?



We have a selection of Sharing in this week’s Note.

First is an invitation to tune in to the latest episode of The Extraordinary Business Book Club where John Simmons talks about human-to-human business writing. Listen here or watch on YouTube.


Next, responding to the prompt from Note 163, John shares the poem he read to close the Bloomsbury Festival reading.


Planting time


Last week I planted some words here,

right here, in this very notebook.

When I came back I thought they would have grown.

But no. The words had shrivelled away

to nothing.


Nothing to do but plant some more.

Taking my pencil, I made the space

then dropped words like seeds in earth.

Now look. Just a week later they’ve grown

to something.


Something can come of nothing.



And finally, from Janet Wilkes, a remembrance poem for the Armistice.




In the stamens of red poppies

See the eyes of dead men marching,

See the glitz and glam of Empire,

All the swagger, stomp and strutting,

All the bugles, drums and bagpipes,

Swirling kilts and horses clopping,

Nostrils twitching smelling battle,

Hearing thunder from afar and,

While the smoke ascends and darkens,

Hungry, hawk-eyed vultures gather

Over fields disturbed by conflict

Where swathes of blood-red poppies grow.



Keep sending us any poems, writings, links and writerly whatnots that you’d like to share with the wider Dark Angels family. We love to read them.



Weekly Tuesday Gatherings

Join us again for a reflective hour of reading, writing and communing led by Neil Baker. Everyone is welcome – from the Dark Angels community and beyond. We meet at 7pm UK time. To join us, click here on the night. There’s no need to register in advance.


Come to The Lab

Join Neil Baker for an afternoon of improvisation, spontaneous creativity, and gentle mucking about at The Lab, in London on Friday, December 1 for just £30+VAT. Just one ticket left, available here.


Be well, keep reading, keep writing and know that we’re always here.

From everyone at Dark Angels


Photo by Ronny Rondon on Unsplash