Public

There’s an attempt underway to scrub up and do some honest-to-goodness public writing—in areas and topics I’m trained in or not trained in. Preemptory caveat: I very much do not want to write about the present or future of higher education, noble and urgent a topic as that obviously is. The Big Goal is to write a follow-up tribute to Joan Didion’s Slouching Toward Bethlehem, called To Be Born. I may share some of the modest beginnings of it here. I first ‘read’ that Didion book in Brett Millier‘s American Lit class in Spring 1995, but it wasn’t until I heard Diane Keaton’s audiobook version that I truly fell in love with it.

The truth is I love writing academic books and articles. I truly do. I also love academia in general and do not suffer from any sort of grave misgivings about being a part of it. But I find public writing to be the kind of challenge that keeps the future most vivid and purposeful for me. Having moved to Vancouver / Musqueam unceded territory, I also feel a sincere obligation to integrate into the cultural and historical terrain of my new home in ways that I simply did not do anywhere else—since leaving Middlebury, Vermont, in June 1999. I hope that, in future, writing will bring me closer to my community, rather than separating me from it.