The Dip

creative work, Little Hater
I failed #NaNoWriMo 2017. I know that it is now January 2018 and I'm a little late to announce this. I stopped writing about 19 days in, as I realized that there were simply too many gaps in the story I was trying to write. There was too much I didn't know about my dad. And as I ran out of "stories about my dad" that I've told in anecdote form over the years and entered into emotional terrain, my urge to write ground to a halt. That emotional terrain is important, though, because that is the legacy my father left me. When I set out to write about my childhood and my father, I knew I was going to run into uncomfortable emotional territory. Memoir writing makes this likely,…
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Whose Voice is in Your Head

coaching, Little Hater, post-academic
What was your vision of your life after graduate school? An enviable concoction of interesting seminar classes, writing, and participating in shaping the university and/or the discipline as a professor in your field? That image of the tenure-track position, leading to a secure and tenured future, is a powerful one. It endures in the face of abundant information indicating that, in most fields, it is this very job that is the “alternative” career for PhD holders. Many PhD holders in the humanities and social sciences end up in jobs that do not require a PhD, and many others take research or policy positions where their PhD is an asset but are also not in the academy. We all know of the huge pool of adjunct, sessional, and contract faculty members…
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Originality vs. The Little Hater

creative work, Little Hater
The academy instills in its acolytes the importance of originality. The definition of successfully scholarship is, after all, making a NEW and significant contribution to your discipline. The focus on originality pushes knowledge further and inspires some great thinking. It encourages researchers to build on earlier knowledge to come to new conclusions and create new ideas. But the burden of being original often feels like just that . . . a burden. Matt Inman, the writer of The Oatmeal comics, published a long coming on "making things" that, I think, resonates a lot with academics as well as creatives. He wrote: "And it's great that no one can tell me what to write about, but I've found that being TOLD what to write is a lot easier than just conjuring…
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