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

Mouse Music Logo Llanidloes

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

“…manage the unhappiness of whoever feels they’ve lost out without resorting to civil war”

It’s not that the country should put aside its differences and come together: a horrible, stifling thought. It often seems, in the heat of Brexit rage, that ardent leavers and remainers have forgotten how normal it is for nations to be divided. “United” nations made up of people who agree about everything are fictions invented by authoritarian regimes. The point of democracies is not to … Continue reading “…manage the unhappiness of whoever feels they’ve lost out without resorting to civil war”

“…try to imagine what it was like for my parents, and what they did and what the could have done differently.”

5 Feb 2019 – 8:34 pm Photo on the left, my parents shortly after they married at the end of 1956, about 6 weeks before I was born. The photo on the right, my godfather with my parents at my baptism in March 1957, about 6 weeks after I was born. About the time I would have been being born in order to actually be … Continue reading “…try to imagine what it was like for my parents, and what they did and what the could have done differently.”