The Cheapskate Intellectual

A journey through matters of spirit, sustainability, and self-reliance

Being a tough gal.

“Be like Flannery,” the late, great Barry Hannah said to our creative writing class at the University of Mississippi, looking at me.  It was the fall of 1995.  I was twenty-one, there as a visiting student to write with him, drink and smoke at City Grocery, moon around the aisles of Square Books, and hang […]

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Deadlines, the future, and other cures for anxiety.

The last – how many weeks? Three? – have been a blur of activity in Cheapskate-Intellectual-land. Two East Coast conference presentations in two successive weeks (Chapel Hill and Yale), revisions for a forthcoming essay, writing a book review for Keats-Shelley Journal, getting caught up in important curriculum-planning for next year, end of semester advising, Skype […]

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This machine kills…

Folksinger Woody Guthrie played a guitar labeled, stirringly, “This Machine Kills Fascists.” And this machine — rented from the locally owned hardware store down the street — can chop up some fierce foes as well…. This machine kills the vague ennui of too much solitude.  It kills the self-disgust of totting up accounts and realizing […]

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Spring break: discoveries.

Much as I dislike the of-necessity neologism “staycation,” that’s what I’m doing while my college is on spring break this week – enjoying the days that immediately fill with things to do even if classes aren’t in session (hence my students’ question, “do you even get a break?” Weeellll….) But staying at home doesn’t mean […]

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What’s it worth?

Lately I’ve been feeling challenged to keep mindful about spending.  Three things have helped: One, I consulted my credit-counseling service’s client website, where my progress chart looks like this: What a great feeling.  That’s just a little more than $1,500 on one card to go, compared to what was $22,000 on seven cards four years […]

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