Category Archives: Supporting the Next Generation

Forgiving Our Parents. Again. Imperfectly.

How do we forgive our Fathers? Maybe in a dream Do we forgive our Fathers for leaving us too often or forever when we were little? Maybe for scaring us with unexpected rage or making us nervous because there never seemed to be any rage there at all. Do we… 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 »

The Pitch

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I’ve been following some writing blogs lately, mostly having to do with the world of submitting fiction to literary agents, trying to be noticed within the slush pile. And the general theme of the advice is that you have one paragraph with which to live or die. It’s only that first… Read more »

How to Write

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Every year, my friend Jenny Shanahan and I lead a week-long writing workshop for faculty at Stevenson University, outside Baltimore. This summer will be the ninth time we’ve done it—it’s a lot of fun, and seems to be productive for them as well. We put together a booklet of writing… Read more »

Some Folks Got Further to Go

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Note: This post contains naughty words. I didn’t make them up, they’re merely reporting. Just so you know. Take One: last summer’s movie Bad Moms, about the difficulties of modern expectations for perfect mommy-ness, has a scene in a restaurant where the three moms are talking about the ways in which their… Read more »

I’m sorry to have to tell you…

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Gave a nice talk at the town’s library on Sunday, about fifteen people there to talk about higher ed and how individual students and scholars navigate it. One person said that her grandson had just finished college and was about to go to graduate school to become a faculty member, and that… 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 »

Adjunct Bait

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We have some Hav-a-Hart traps that we use around our garden. We throw groundhog-favored foodstuffs into the back of the screened pen (apples and melon rinds work well), and when the unsuspecting whistlepig wanders in, he has to step on a plate on his way to the fruit, and the… Read more »

Okay, It’s On.

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Ahem. Let me step back for a moment. Use my indoor voice, as Mrs. Winteringham reminded us in kindergarten. Some number of years ago, a friend of mine sent a copy of her completed dissertation to one of her committee members, a year or so after its completion. This was… Read more »

Purging What Seemed Essential

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My wife and I are both kind of weary of the things we’ve accumulated over the decades, mostly independently before we were married. We may be the only couple you know with two overstuffed bookcases and six file cabinets in the garage. Anyway, she started a couple of days ago going through things… Read more »