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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The miserly spirit.

“Let the Captains of Industry retire into their own hearts, and ask solemnly, If there is nothing but vulturous hunger for fine wines, valet reputation and gilt carriages, discoverable there? Of hearts made by the Almighty God I will not believe such a thing. . . . Arise, save thyself, be one of those that […]

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