Teaching at a Community College: A Fulfilling Career

A student recently emailed to say that she was concerned about her future and that she wasn't sure about the career path she wanted to take. One of her concerns, she said, was making money, but she also wanted to be happy. Maybe, she suggested, I could assign an essay on the topic of careers…Read more Teaching at a Community College: A Fulfilling Career

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More Sketchy Thoughts on Slaughterhouse Five

A while back, I posted some thoughts on whether or not Billy Pilgrim is hallucinating when he's visited by aliens in Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five. I'm teaching the novel again this week, an my thoughts have turned to the issue of free will in the novel. The reason this came up is that a student…Read more More Sketchy Thoughts on Slaughterhouse Five

Evolution

Here's something I mentioned in one of my classes today... Just a theory I'm working on. I'd argue that throughout any given literary movement (or, more generally, artistic movement), there's an ongoing debate of many, many voices, each representing a slightly different approach to defining and realizing the ideals of that movement. The debate isn't…Read more Evolution

Trying to Make Sense of the World: An Interview with Charles Holdefer

In the latest installment of my podcast, I interview Charles Holdefer, author of Back in the Game, The Contractor, Nice, and Apology for Big Rod. An American author, Charles lives in Belgium and teaches in France at the University of Poitiers. I caught up with him recently when he was invited to teach a week-long creative…Read more Trying to Make Sense of the World: An Interview with Charles Holdefer

The Coolest Thing You Will Ever Do In Your Life

This week's episode of my podcast is titled "The Coolest Thing You Will Ever Do In Your Life." In it, I read a piece of fiction from a work in progress and interview longtime educator Monica D'Antonio about teaching and the state of higher education in America. More or less.

Is Billy Pilgrim Crazy?

A student of mine recently asked whether Billy Pilgrim, the protagonist (for lack of a better word) of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, has, within the context of the narrative (such as it is) really experienced a close encounter with aliens or simply lost his mind. The question is certainly valid. When I first read the…Read more Is Billy Pilgrim Crazy?