My Favorite (And Least Favorite) Words

I can’t exactly explain why, but certain words appeal to me and others don’t. It seems a silly thing to parse out favorite and least favorite words, as if they are colors or architectural styles. But perhaps they are. Words can be delicious, so I share some of my likes and dislikes with you today.... Continue Reading →

Learning to Use Punctuation

In my composition classes, I often spend time going over punctuation concerns, since students often suffer from confusion, especially when it comes to commas.  I have used fun ideas from the Internet and from Lynne Truss’s book Eats, Shoots & Leaves (2003).  I’ve even toyed with the idea of having students buy Truss’s book, but... Continue Reading →

Writing While Wet

My best ideas come in the shower.  I will be in the middle of scrubbing suds into my hair, with bubbles flying and sodium laureth sulfate dangerously close to my eyes, when the perfect topic will appear, and then the words will start to flow.  I will know exactly how to begin, what should come... Continue Reading →

Consorting With Great Books

A few years ago, a favorite professor of mine, Dr. R., suggested that I read Great Books: My Adventures with Homer, Rousseau, Woolf, and Other Indestructible Writers of the Western World (1996) by David Denby.  It’s an account of Denby’s return to Columbia University as a middle-aged film critic to retake two courses: Literature Humanities... Continue Reading →

There Is a Bicycle Named Hepzibah

I had to finish reading The House of The Seven Gables (1851) by American author Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) so I could tell you about my neighbor who named his bicycle Hepzibah.  He’s an older gentleman, a little stout, and extremely smart.  (His wife once told me that he had been a national merit scholar at... Continue Reading →

The Little Woman Who Wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin

I have been in group settings in which people will say, “I don’t really care about [insert societal problem] because it doesn’t affect me.”  Or, “I don’t want to talk about that because it upsets me.”  Notice that both of these statements end with the pronoun “me,” and consequently these statements are essentially selfish.  Now,... Continue Reading →

The Best Quotes from Middlemarch

This is the third and final installment of my thoughts for Middlemarch Week.  If you missed post one, A Preview of Middlemarch, click here.  If you missed post two, George Eliot on Marriage, Human Nature, Money, Politics, Religion, Feminism, and Gossip in Middlemarch, click here.  If you’re sick of Middlemarch (1874), which is number 20... Continue Reading →

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