Category Mismatches, Part Number B

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So I’m spending part of my Sunday morning reading the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce 2016 whitepaper called America’s Divided Recovery: College Haves and Have-Nots. I’m weird that way. And I’m trying not to be surprised at some circular logic. Based on the education level of incumbents, this report… Read more »

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 »

Category mismatches

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Once we divide the world into labeled buckets, we can quickly fall into the trap of thinking that everything must fit into one of them. The work I’ve been doing has shown me an awful lot of category mismatches, easy labels that contain dissimilar things. STEM, for instance, is a… Read more »

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 »

Native Speakers

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I spent ten days working with two different clients, a big architecture-engineering firm and a small college. Hung out with fun people, worked with my pal Jenny as we have every summer for the past seven, and was grateful to get home after about 1500 miles of driving over two… Read more »

Peak Faculty

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A few years ago, there was a lot of talk about “peak oil.” The idea was that we’d passed the midway point of easy crude oil extraction, and were now on the historical downhill side of petroleum. To some extent, that was good news; it signaled a peak of hydrocarbon emissions… Read more »


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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 »

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 »