Category: self-reliance

An Awful Rainbow: possible introduction, part 2.

Part 2 of possible introduction to An Awful Rainbow: Reading the Romantics in a World on Fire. Read Part One here. *** We Frankenstein pilgrims came home to a year that only got scarier. First, there was barely-averted war with Iran. The presidential caucus – Iowa’s pride and joy – came apart in our hands.  […]

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RIP: Diana Athill.

The great and graceful writer Diana Athill has just passed away, age 101. Here’s a piece I wrote about her for the literary site BLOOM (about writers and other artists who come into their prime after age 40). Diana Athill: The Sufficient Self

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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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