Category: self-reliance

Bacon and Brussels sprouts.

Next time you want a quick, warm, good winter supper — or a dish for Thanksgiving — especially if you are a Southerner in the Upper Midwest, here’s what you do: Go out in your garden and break off some Brussels sprouts. Brush off snow as necessary.  Bring the individual sprouts cupped in your shirt […]

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Parents, college, and the student self.

The recent controversies about “free-range parenting” have me thinking about something every college professor deals with: the relationship between parents and their college-age children, which is often very different from what we experienced with our own parents when we left home.  Recently a prospective student’s parents asked me, “So, everything you are saying about self-motivation […]

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If that don’t beet all…

Benjamin Franklin once remarked, “Experience is a dear school, but a fool will learn in no other.”  Put another way, knowledge can be expensive, but a little pain can make it stick.   Put a third way, I will never again — even in the fall, no matter how busy this busy time always is — […]

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Yo, Thoreau.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived [….] Our life is frittered away by detail […] Simplify, simplify.”  […]

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Your native town, and the world.

“Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge, and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow.” – Victor Frankenstein to Robert Walton, Frankenstein; […]

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Moving home: (re)thinking the organic South.

Sometimes I think “home” in my mobile life has become less a specific place than a kind of place where certain conditions obtain — the sense of comfort, practicality, and freedom that comes from being able to move around on foot and bike as well as car; the ability to eat healthy food that didn’t […]

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The humility wheel.

Pottery class, day three. Clay in hair.  Clay in eyelashes.  Clay on neck.  Clay on shirt and jeans.  Clay on sandals, tracked inadvertently across studio floor.  Clay deep in cuticles.  Hands and arms trembling when held out to examine clay deep in cuticles; I’m still trying for less muscular effort and better touch, but kneading, […]

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