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Category Archives: Writing

Postcards from the underworld: Doctoral program, semester 2

I was told this, my second semester, would be the hardest, and by gum, they delivered. For a lot of reasons, this was a heck of a time, an overload of schoolwork in the midst of a crisis at work that left me sleepless and scrambling for weeks on end. But I’m done. When I […]

The Cassoulet Saved Their Marriage… The Melting Pot Helped Ours

Today is the publication day for The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage, an anthology of essays about marriage and family edited by Caroline Grant (of Literary Mama fame) and Lisa Catherine Harper (writer and writing teacher extraordinaire, author of A Double Life). This anthology includes a shorter version of my essay, “Still Life on the Half-Shell,” […]


So, about my writing. I mean my literary-essay writing, not blog posts or journo-style magazine writing or academic writing. I’ve spent the past year: Moping over the breakup of my writing group, Pursuing several professional goals that required intense study of un-fun stuff but were also convenient excuses for not writing, and Feeling sorry for […]


I realize this is old news for many of you by now (a full 24 hours after the story broke) but I waited until I was home and — donning my writer’s hat — could compose my thoughts about the discovery that Mr Daisey and the Apple Factory is composed of lies, damn lies, and […]

Between an ebook and a hard place

Last week the ever-interesting Barbara Fister observed over on Inside Higher Ed, People are beginning to notice that big publishers are not really all that interested in authors or readers; they are interested in consolidating control of distribution channels so that the only participants in culture are creators who work for little or nothing and […]

Neologists Unite

Back in 2004 I coined a term, “biblioblogosphere,” that managed to catch on. I wasn’t trying to coin a term. (What an interesting phrase, involving smelting and mints and all that.) I was just writing, and that’s the word that came out–not a hyphenated expression, not a malapropism, just a word, intended to be humorous–long, […]

ebooks, pbooks, mebooks, and parrots

Here is a very interesting question others have posed: are libraries that license ebooks through Overdrive violating state patron-privacy laws because Amazon retains user data? (For context, Sarah Houghton-Jan, who last spring proposed an eBook User’s Bill of Rights, recently taped a video recording her thoughts about the Overdrive-Amazon deal enabling Overdrive books to be […]

In Praise of Succeeding

Last weekend on Twitter I saw a post:  “Tell me your favorite books on failing and failure, especially as it relates to innovation and leadership.”  I responded with this comment: “another blog post I don’t have time 2 write: how failure is overrated, & often confused w iterative design.” I got up a little earlier […]

Bristlecone: A Practical Plan for Practical Dogfooders

In response to my vision of Bristlecone — a preservation plan for literary journals — Mary Molinaro wrote, Her idea of a preservation plan for literary journals, named Bristlecone, has some positive aspects, but I think misses the mark on so many levels. [1] The basic goal of preserving a last copy of these literary […]

The fruits of late summer

Scuppernongs and Muscadines Originally uploaded by freerangelibrarian I spoke at a writing association recently where I noted that it takes me several years to finish an essay. I saw dismay on the faces of aspiring memoirists (since like many new writers they wanted to be told that their focus should be on finding agents and […]