Reflections on Middle-Class Prepper culture and visions of apocalypse. This is an essay by Calla B. Martin. January in Minnesota is typically a time to hunker down, do projects, and what I love most: read. While the temperature dips up and down, those of us fortunate enough to spend warm hours at leisure have time to reflect and contemplate this world we live in (that is, if we aren’t too distracted by social media). I digress. It turns out that reading speculative fiction about the catastrophic failure of our social and physical infrastructure alongside recent news articles about the real systemic vulnerabilities of that infrastructure is…kinda a bummer and not just

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Reflections on Middle-Class Prepper culture and visions of apocalypse. This is an essay by Calla B. Martin. January in Minnesota is typically a time to hunker down, do projects, and what I love most: read. While the temperature dips up and down, those of us fortunate enough to spend warm hours at leisure have time to reflect and contemplate this world we live in (that is, if we aren’t too distracted by social media). I digress. It turns out that reading speculative fiction about the catastrophic failure of our social and physical infrastructure alongside recent news articles about the real systemic vulnerabilities of that infrastructure is…kinda a bummer and not just

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This is an essay by Sheila Hageman. Reflections on Maya Angelou and Speaking to Universal Truth “I wasn’t thinking so much about my own life or identity. I was thinking about a particular time in which I lived and the influences of that time on a number of people . . . I used . . . myself—as a focus to show how one person can make it through those times.”–Maya Angelou   These are Maya Angelou’s words from an interview about why her memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings resonates so deeply with its readers. This is not a book simply about one woman’s plight (although it is

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This is an essay by Sheila Hageman. Reflections on Maya Angelou and Speaking to Universal Truth “I wasn’t thinking so much about my own life or identity. I was thinking about a particular time in which I lived and the influences of that time on a number of people . . . I used . . . myself—as a focus to show how one person can make it through those times.”–Maya Angelou   These are Maya Angelou’s words from an interview about why her memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings resonates so deeply with its readers. This is not a book simply about one woman’s plight (although it is

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Posted in Creativity, Learning

This article was written by Sarah L. Webb. I’m addicted to reading with a pen in my hand. So addicted, in fact, that I have to have a pen even when I’m reading on my Kindle. Not only am I addicted to reading with pens, but I’m also a pen pusher. My goal is to turn my adult students into pen users just like me (which is a lot harder than pushing pens to youth readers). I wasn’t always this way.

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This article was written by Sarah L. Webb. I’m addicted to reading with a pen in my hand. So addicted, in fact, that I have to have a pen even when I’m reading on my Kindle. Not only am I addicted to reading with pens, but I’m also a pen pusher. My goal is to turn my adult students into pen users just like me (which is a lot harder than pushing pens to youth readers). I wasn’t always this way.

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This is an essay by Emily Ruth Verona. There are many ways that people come into writing. They are drawn into from different backgrounds and demographics. Some start young. Others begin later in life. There are those that write poetry, fiction, articles, or memoir. There is no right way to become a writer. I can only attest to the way I became a writer and it started before I knew how to hold a pen. I write aggressive fiction. My characters are deeply flawed and often unreliable. In school, I studied both creative writing and cinema studies, both of which fed my narrative interest. The films I watch are dark dramas with

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This is an essay by Emily Ruth Verona. There are many ways that people come into writing. They are drawn into from different backgrounds and demographics. Some start young. Others begin later in life. There are those that write poetry, fiction, articles, or memoir. There is no right way to become a writer. I can only attest to the way I became a writer and it started before I knew how to hold a pen. I write aggressive fiction. My characters are deeply flawed and often unreliable. In school, I studied both creative writing and cinema studies, both of which fed my narrative interest. The films I watch are dark dramas with

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Posted in Learning, Reading, Writing

This is an essay by Brandon Monk. “I remembered that, and, remembering that, I remembered everything.” Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I’ve written before about the idea that taking a trip down reading memory lane is a worthwhile way to re-kindle your reading interest. An old favorite–a book you read for pleasure as a child–can take you back to the days when reading was a care-free experience. Often, the mandatory reading school imposes robs us of the pleasure. Those who continue to read find ways to carve out time to read the things they like. But, what if you have no pleasant reading memory? I recently read

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This is an essay by Brandon Monk. “I remembered that, and, remembering that, I remembered everything.” Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I’ve written before about the idea that taking a trip down reading memory lane is a worthwhile way to re-kindle your reading interest. An old favorite–a book you read for pleasure as a child–can take you back to the days when reading was a care-free experience. Often, the mandatory reading school imposes robs us of the pleasure. Those who continue to read find ways to carve out time to read the things they like. But, what if you have no pleasant reading memory? I recently read

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Posted in Books, Learning, Reading

This essay is in two parts and was written by Elizabeth Simons. Part One: The Essence of Being a Writer In the third season of the overwhelmingly popular drawing room saga Downton Abbey, the imprisoned Mr. Bates receives a packet of letters from his beloved wife, Anna. She, in turn, receives a packet of letters from her husband. The last scene in this episode shows them, side by side, each totally absorbed in reading the other’s words. The camera juxtaposes the two images as if they were next to each other. It’s a breathtaking moment. This is the power of words. Human beings are born to communicate, to make connections. Words

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This essay is in two parts and was written by Elizabeth Simons. Part One: The Essence of Being a Writer In the third season of the overwhelmingly popular drawing room saga Downton Abbey, the imprisoned Mr. Bates receives a packet of letters from his beloved wife, Anna. She, in turn, receives a packet of letters from her husband. The last scene in this episode shows them, side by side, each totally absorbed in reading the other’s words. The camera juxtaposes the two images as if they were next to each other. It’s a breathtaking moment. This is the power of words. Human beings are born to communicate, to make connections. Words

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 This is an essay by Deanna Zachrich. Coursera is an educational technology company that works with universities to make some of their courses available online. They currently work with sixty-two universities across four continents offering courses in engineering, humanities, medicine, biology, business, mathematics, literature, and many other areas. It’s a great way to engage your brain without spending a small fortune on tuition because every course offered is absolutely free. I recently participated in a literature course that changed my perception on science fiction – a genre that I steered away from in the past. Yep, I was a science fiction snob. But I’m happy to report my opinions on the genre have

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 This is an essay by Deanna Zachrich. Coursera is an educational technology company that works with universities to make some of their courses available online. They currently work with sixty-two universities across four continents offering courses in engineering, humanities, medicine, biology, business, mathematics, literature, and many other areas. It’s a great way to engage your brain without spending a small fortune on tuition because every course offered is absolutely free. I recently participated in a literature course that changed my perception on science fiction – a genre that I steered away from in the past. Yep, I was a science fiction snob. But I’m happy to report my opinions on the genre have

Read more

Posted in Learning

This is a guest post by Ollin Morales. Have you ever read something and then said to yourself afterwards: “That was beautiful–but I have no idea what it means!” Or maybe what you read wasn’t beautiful at all. It was just a huge, jumbled mess. Either way, you might agree with me that one of the biggest problems writers face today is a rather simple one: they have trouble making sense to their readers. The ability to write something that makes sense to a whole lot of people you don’t know is a very underrated skill to have. But the more your work makes sense to your readers, the more you

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This is a guest post by Ollin Morales. Have you ever read something and then said to yourself afterwards: “That was beautiful–but I have no idea what it means!” Or maybe what you read wasn’t beautiful at all. It was just a huge, jumbled mess. Either way, you might agree with me that one of the biggest problems writers face today is a rather simple one: they have trouble making sense to their readers. The ability to write something that makes sense to a whole lot of people you don’t know is a very underrated skill to have. But the more your work makes sense to your readers, the more you

Read more

Posted in Learning, Lessons, Writing