How to be Relentless

Teaching and Disability

Because my disability is hidden, I’m faced with the privilege of deciding whether to come out as disabled. I remember once disclosing that I had a disability during a job interview. “But you don’t look disabled,” the interviewer said. She didn’t mean I didn’t walk with a cane. She meant I didn’t look like the […] Read more

Techniques for Writing Mental Illness

I taught Writing Mental Illness in June and July for Artability at Apollo. As I’ve been thinking about how those classes went I’ve been thinking about the best techniques to tell stories of mental illness from a place of agency.These techniques are to* use generic good writing skills. Use a small slice of time, search […] Read more

MLK Jr, Barack Obama, and Exodus

This was kicking around in my head all day long yesterday, and it was approached or implied more than once on NPR/MPR yesterday. (By the way, I’m treating political speech as literature at least for the purposes of this post.)So, the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness for forty years before they entered the […] Read more

On flirtation with Mikal Gilmore’s Shot in the Heart

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how books work their way into my life. Of course as a reader I’m always reading something. But, why am I reading Joyce Carol Oates’ Blonde instead of the Lee Smith novel I picked up a month ago, or Nick Flynn’s Another Bullshit Night in Suck City? My […] Read more

On Encouraging All Readings

One of the things I loved about being a student at Arts High was that everyone had to go to Common Ex. Ex stood for experience. Everyone came to Common Ex. Photographers. Filmmakers. Musicians. Dancers. Visual Artists. Writers. There was an attitude that there was something any artist could learn about the practice of their […] Read more

The Dread Writer’s Block

For about the last month I’ve been not writing, not merely just not writing this blog. So I thought my first post back should be about the dread writer’s block.When I was at Arts High, everytime a guest came to our class, someone would ask whether they believed in writer’s block or not.This can be […] Read more

Telling Details

I’ve been busy working on my memoir, so I haven’t posted much lately, but I’m going to try to post more often.As I’m working on my memoir, one of the things I’m sifting around in my past for are telling details. And so I was thinking of my favorite telling detail in one of my […] Read more

Writing Mental Illness Workshop October 27, 2007

Here are the details on a workshop I will be teaching on October 27, 2007 from 9am to 12pm at Intermedia Arts called Writing Mental Illness. The course description is over on Intermedia Arts’ website. (You’ll have to scroll down a little bit.)We’ll definately be reading Sylvia Plath, and from a Modern Library anthology about […] Read more

On Diversity and the Canon

I was listening to this broadcast on Minnesota Public Radio a while back about summer reading lists. Part of the discussion revolved around whether lists should focus on classics or on books like Nancy Drew and Harry Potter. Someone called in and wanted to know essentially whose classics. The classic works of people of color, […] Read more

Why Reading Matters

I listened to this speech by Dana Goia, president of the National Endowment for the Arts at the Aspen Ideas Festival, on MidDay, Gary Eichten’s show on Minnesota Public Radio.Goia says that people who read have more civic engagement than people who don’t. This is even true when income and education are controlled for.I also […] Read more

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