Winter writing retreat, day 5

Here I am blogging before I’m even finished writing, but today that’s because I’m enjoying a FULL day of writing and it’s not over yet. (My wife is entertaining company this evening, so I get to retreat to my study all night if I want to. Seriously: one of the most important things to any successful homeContinue reading “Winter writing retreat, day 5”

Erasing the grade

Today I found this article in my Facebook newsfeed: “Wellesley Initiates New Grading Policy for First-Year Students.” And it’s about damn time. The idea is to institute “shadow grades,” which means professors will provide traditional letter grades for those students who want to know, but it removes those grades from the institution itself, recording only pass/fail grades onContinue reading “Erasing the grade”

Reading from Hagridden at Chemeketa Writes

Yesterday, I had the tremendous privilege to participate in Chemeketa Writes, a program at Oregon’s Chemeketa Community College where writers speak to students about the craft of writing and read from their work. I was the first reader on the Yamhill campus in McMinnville, so it was a double honor for me! The poster forContinue reading “Reading from Hagridden at Chemeketa Writes”

WEIRD teaching, WEIRD students*

This article in Pacific Standard, “We Aren’t the World,” by Ethan Watters, is absolutely fascinating. And I’m grateful for the way Watters boils down the VERY complicated science that Joe Henrich, Steven Heine, and Ara Norenzayan are engaged in, because their arguments are such powerful challenges to the foundations of cultural psychology that we peonsContinue reading “WEIRD teaching, WEIRD students*”

Louisiana research trip: the numbers (and the end)

To wrap up my posts about the trip and the research and my book, I thought I’d share some numbers. My trip lasted 10 days, including 2 days of travel. In those 10 days, I visited: 8 specific locations connected with events in my novel 2 wildlife refuges, where I walked 3 trails (I walkedContinue reading “Louisiana research trip: the numbers (and the end)”

Louisiana research trip: the people

In Louisiana, I had the terrific good fortune to meet with some wonderful people. The librarians and staff at the Cameron Parish Library and the Calcasieu Parish Public Library, in particular, deserve more praise than I can offer for their patience and help during my trip. I also am tremendously grateful for the volunteers atContinue reading “Louisiana research trip: the people”

Louisiana research trip: the bibliography

People who’ve been reading this blog for years will know the score. Way, WAY back in 2009 (that’s, like, two generations ago in blog years), I started the first draft of my Civil War-era novel set down in Louisiana. And even though the story itself isn’t true, there were so many historical facts and regionalContinue reading “Louisiana research trip: the bibliography”

Louisiana research trip: the photos

What follows is a series of photos — just some of the photos I took — from my trip to southwest Louisiana to research the final details of my Civil War novel, Hagridden. While my book isn’t strictly, solely historical, it is set in a certain historical and regional reality, and what details echo historyContinue reading “Louisiana research trip: the photos”

Louisiana research trip: the beginning

A couple of weeks ago, during the last ten days of March, I used the funds from my Oregon Literary Fellowship to travel to southwest Louisiana to research the final details of my Civil War novel, Hagridden. I stayed in Cameron and travelled all over the region, visiting libraries and wildlife refuges, touring museums andContinue reading “Louisiana research trip: the beginning”