Category Archives: Attempting to Stay Sane

Physician, Heal Thyself

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I never thought of myself in Dear Abby territory, but I do give advice to people for a living. (In response to one client’s question last week about what to do with a sticky situation, I replied, “Fire them all. And then quit.”) A lot of my advice has to… Read more »

The Adjuncts’ Exile

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Last week, Nora and I went to a memorial service for a friend. It was a beautiful, mild June Saturday. The church was filled, folding chairs in the foyer, and a tent outside with another hundred listening to the service on speakers. Maybe 400 people, in a town of only… Read more »

Temporary Sanity

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We all know about being able to plead temporary insanity as a part of a trial. I think the real fact is that most of us are temporarily sane, that being able to look at ourselves and the world around us with some equanimity is a pretty fragile state. One… Read more »

Decorum

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I wrote a few posts ago about rejection letters, a genre in which nobody ever says, “That book sounds really awful,” or “You write terribly,” or “You have no possible future in academia, as far as I can tell.” We’ve developed a veneer of civility over the whole thing, an… Read more »

NOW What?

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I love those studies where we actually get to see how people spend their time through their days. I recently saw a set of logbooks from an adjunct faculty member that included five hours of e-mail in the course of an eleven-hour workday. And that’s no surprise: the work of… Read more »

The Story

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I spent an hour and a half yesterday at the mighty Northshire Books of Manchester VT, one of the fine independent bookstores still with us. (Buy nothing from Amazon, friends. Nothing at all, ever.) And I looked at the covers of two thousand books, and opened fifty, and bought two,… Read more »

The Bureaucracy of Learning

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I once found a student report in a high school hallway. Three exams: 100, 100, and 93. Two homeworks at 50 points apiece, neither turned in, 0/100. Total score: 293/400, C–. So what part of this record is irrelevant? The exams, which could be aced without ever doing homework? The… Read more »

Apologies for the New Look

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It’s like New Coke. You take something everybody loves, and mess with it for no reason. So when I opened Wordpress a couple of days ago, it asked to update the theme I’d been running—the sort of visual template package that organizes site elements. And I didn’t pay close enough attention…. Read more »

It’s Not You, It’s Me

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The rejection letter is a genre of its own, and most of its writers hew pretty close to the script. I’d gone for years without any, but now that I’ve entered a newly competitive arena (fiction writing), I’m remembering them allllll over again. First, the gratitude for submitting your work. Thanks… Read more »

A Crisis of Definition

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Throughout this blog and the books it relates to, I’m oversimplifying a bit when I refer to PhDs as the degree that qualifies one for college teaching. There are others. A lot of them pertain to professions that normally don’t have a research component, like architecture. When I finished my… Read more »