The Cheapskate Intellectual

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


In the words of the great Candi Staton, self-preservation is what’s really going on today. Or what went on yesterday, for the first time ever in the Cheapskate Intellectual kitchen. But it won’t be the last. Following the directions in the super-easy and super-fun book CANNING FOR A NEW GENERATION, I rendered a colander full […]

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Hair with body — literally.

This is me this past weekend, celebrating my summer self.  Gloriously, the season is shifting inside my head — the loosening and breathing and unconscious release of the anxious, trouble-borrowing, multitasking clench which I realize only in retrospect is my school-year norm.  And the shift is outside my head too.  Literally, right on top. Because […]

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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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