So… What’s an Academic Conference, Anyway?

If you’ve ever been an English major, you’ve probably had family members who haven’t the slightest clue what that means. And if you’re an English PhD student, this confusion increases exponentially. If you’re an English PhD, you’ve also probably had complete strangers snidely remark about your being “one of those eternal students” who “doesn’t goContinue reading “So… What’s an Academic Conference, Anyway?”

Amache, Colorado: Where I Drove, and What I Wrote For

When my mother and I visited Amache at the end of June 2016, I didn’t expect to learn anything I didn’t already know–not from the meager National Park Service signage, attempting to tell a ‘niche’ ethnic history most people wouldn’t know from Adam (Japanese Americans included).

5 Things You Can Do in Kansas

It’s rolling country, in case you didn’t know. The flat is further west. Up by Atchison, up where Lewis and Clark came through, Kansas is glacial hills. South to El Dorado, it’s hilly, too–tallgrass, hills, and bison (less impressive now, having recently come face to face with more than a few on Catalina Island). 1.Continue reading “5 Things You Can Do in Kansas”

Review: The Farmacist, Ashley Farmer

I wrote a review of a new book out from Jellyfish Highway Press: The Farmacist, by Ashley Farmer. Jellyfish Highway Press, November 2015. 80 pages. Ashley Farmer’s The Farmacist suggests by its title an affiliation with digital contagion—perhaps as an offering, a written prescription for our complicated diagnosis. Yet there is nothing prescriptive about its approach. RatherContinue reading “Review: The Farmacist, Ashley Farmer”

Strange Tales from the Midwestern Front: What You’re Missing If You’re Not Forced to Take the Bus in a Mid-Sized City in Michigan

They’re stepping off the curb, near the city courthouse. “72 hours from now we’ll be half an hour from getting married,” she says. He says, “Holy shiza!” and she laughs. — She’s eighteen, just out of high school. She’s taking a gap year, to work. She says she doesn’t have any real callings or talents.Continue reading “Strange Tales from the Midwestern Front: What You’re Missing If You’re Not Forced to Take the Bus in a Mid-Sized City in Michigan”

When I’m Critical It’s Only Because I Love You: Growing Up in California and Pixar’s INSIDE OUT

I’d read a review that found the film disturbingly existential, even nihilistic, because–according to the reviewer–the film told its viewers that the happiness of childhood would eventually fade away and in adulthood we were all destined to be sad. If you’ve seen the film, you’ll know that this is a complete misreading. Its message isn’t that we’re all destined to be sad and increasingly so as we become adults–it’s that it’s okay to be sad; you shouldn’t have to (and indeed, shouldn’t, period) banish sadness; sadness is a part of the human condition and it is the part of you that can ask for help when you need it. To be sad is to welcome the idea that life holds troubles, and to open oneself to assistance from those around you. The film is a destigmatization of sadness, not a harrowing picture that that’s all we’re destined for as we age, or that it is something to be championed at all times.

Why I Walked to Moscow, Idaho & Why it has Nothing to Do with My Carbon Footprint

The Pullman airport is six miles from the city of Moscow, Idaho, and it takes me just under two hours to walk it.  A taxicab running trips between the airport and town passes me five times, back and forth, and I use the time between our encounters to gauge how far from town I mustContinue reading “Why I Walked to Moscow, Idaho & Why it has Nothing to Do with My Carbon Footprint”

conversation with my mother 3/7/2015

i want a goat, i tell her. pygmy or nubian? the cheese-making kind, i tell her. & their eyes are so cute. i say, my friend has a goat who will only deign to eat grass if you rip it out for her and let her eat it out of your hand. my mother takesContinue reading “conversation with my mother 3/7/2015”