Dr. Seuss was Greek

I just wanted to jump in here and say hello to my friends and brothers at Sigma Phi Epsilon–Wisconsin Theta.  SigEp is an outstanding fraternity based on the ideal of a balanced man and promoting the core values of Virtue, Diligence, and Brotherly Love.  They seek to undo the negative stereotyping associated with many fraternities,Continue reading “Dr. Seuss was Greek”

Patrons of writing and teaching: St. Francis de Sales and St. John the Apostle

I’ve been writing off and on about my “patrons of writing,” but I feel I need to acknowledge that, for me, the term I chose comes from Christianity, specifically Catholicism and Orthodoxy, and the Christian notion of “patron saints.” So I figure it’s about time I mention a couple of my Christian patrons. According toContinue reading “Patrons of writing and teaching: St. Francis de Sales and St. John the Apostle”

Patrons of writing and teaching: Thoth

Among the many, many files on my computer, I have a collection of seemingly frivolous notes and scribbles related to writing, which I insist are vital to what I do and will someday, surely, come in handy.  Mostly, I’m wrong.  But every now and then, as I’m cleaning out my files and tossing the listsContinue reading “Patrons of writing and teaching: Thoth”

"Insanely busy"

So, today I read an article in Newsweek about Paul Krugman, the liberal economist and Nobel Prize winner who has been criticizing the Obama administration’s method of handling the economy. And I came across this description of Krugman: He is, to be sure, insanely busy, producing two columns a week, teaching two courses and stillContinue reading “"Insanely busy"”

A writer is a writer: on understanding and humility

Today my university hosted a panel discussion with the six authors who were shortlisted for this year’s International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF). I’ve long hungered for the kind of “visiting writer” experiences I used to enjoy in grad school at University of North Texas, and with this I had a chance to meet andContinue reading “A writer is a writer: on understanding and humility”

The English language

I have always enjoyed teaching English — especially freshman English — for many of the same reasons I love the English language in the first place: Students invariably introduce me to new ways of using (read: abusing) or interpreting the language. This has been true everywhere I’ve taught, regardless of demographic, though I admit IContinue reading “The English language”

Learned writers write academic essays.

Has it really been since Halloween that I last posted? Longer, even, since I posted anything directly related to writing or teaching. Shame on me. But it’s been a busy three and a half months, in which time my wife moved overseas and I tried desperately to wrap up a semester teaching without my wifeContinue reading “Learned writers write academic essays.”

Taboo: The answers

Your grandma makes it — it’s warm. You sleep with it. Answer: a quilt  This is a really old famous writer. Answer: William Shakespeare  It’s Friday! It’s a candybar!Answer: Payday  It’s coming out of your nose. “Boogers! Snot!” Yes — another word for what’s happening . . . . Answer: Drip   (hilarious laughter) Just skip it! Answer: Armpit  Thing in the sky. WhenContinue reading “Taboo: The answers”


This week I have my students playing Taboo. The exercise serves a number of functions, actually: 1) It helps them form bonds within their newly-created workshop groups; 2) it allows them to practice description by finding alternate ways of describing things or ideas, since they have to avoid the obvious descriptive terms on the cards;Continue reading “Taboo”