“Going Alexander” – On Not Being Left Alone with Hurt

Trauma is not what happens to you. Trauma is what happens inside you as a result of what happens to you To “get your Alexander up” was a core phrase of my growing up. Generally it opened with a caution – “Now, don’t get your Alexander up.” Nearly as often it was an observation – “Oh, look, he’s got his Alexander up.” Sometimes these phrases … Continue reading “Going Alexander” – On Not Being Left Alone with Hurt

Out of the Box: Learning and Teaching in Other Ways

Before the Essay… During these two weeks of vacation from “work work,” I’ve been writing each day, talking with a few trusted friends most days, and reading in between. The reading has included select academic pieces I wrote in graduate school, and reflective essays composed for personal and professional audiences. All of the writing from before I knew that “not parent expected” was a thing … Continue reading Out of the Box: Learning and Teaching in Other Ways

Yellow iris with maroon highilghts.

Dreams Between Us: Elegy for My Father

Rather than learning from our parents and ancestors how to live into death, and even beyond it in a spiritual sense, we attempt to create away from death, and thereby away from life as well. Greg Mogenson, Greeting the Angels Habitations The swivel chairs long in my living room – their backs shaped like perfect clam shells, the seats gracefully broadening toward the front so … Continue reading Dreams Between Us: Elegy for My Father

The comment "not a lie - a new backstory" written onto an unlined 5x7 note card.

Never a lie. No longer a secret.

Across the three years since discovering I am not linked genetically to Pops, to the whole of my Alexander-Stafford-Evan-Svelstad family, I’ve pretty consistently refused to describe my parents’ decision to not reveal my paternity secret as a lie, or a deception. As consistently, I have acknowledged that they made a secret of my paternity: Did my parents keep secret the circumstances of my conception? Yes. … Continue reading Never a lie. No longer a secret.

Innovative Mentoring – Mentoring Innovatively: 10 Years Later

I’ve been thinking, this first week of not teaching in the 2020-2021 academic year, about my friend David Roberts – his mind, heart, soul beauty. In thinking, I’ve been reading essays I wrote because of his invitations and conversations, especially a series of them for his cooperative blog Societal Innovations, which offers this tagline: Thoughts and ideas for an optimistic future. Yes, that’s our David. … Continue reading Innovative Mentoring – Mentoring Innovatively: 10 Years Later

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It’s Never Just a Song

I. Turn Your Radio On It is significant that virtually all hostility [to the word culture] has been connected with uses involving claims to superior knowledge, refinement and distinctions between ‘high’ art (culture) and popular art and entertainment. – “Culture” in Keywords by Raymond Williams “He’s Welsh, you know.” “Did you know she’s from Wales?” Whether a visiting weekend or weeknight during a longer school … Continue reading It’s Never Just a Song

Decorative image with bouquet of irises

Meme me

Finally found a meme that nicely (as in accurately *and* kindly) captures all that I want to say in response to people who are surprised, and sometimes annoyed, to hear that I’m not seeking out bio dude’s living family. I fit there genetically. *However* all evidence indicates that I would find being among them like being on the Island of Misfits, especially when it comes … Continue reading Meme me

Grace, Genealogies, Generations

“…and Tuesday’s child is full of grace.” As Tuesday-born children Mom and I laughed lots about the rhyme not being right in terms of coordination. Pops was Friday born – loving and giving. In this particular year, I’m thankful for their combination of grace and love 62 years ago. It’s been a heck of a year personally, and I’m thankful for the grace – the … Continue reading Grace, Genealogies, Generations