November 2011

Mixed metaphors, and other things to keep you up at night

by David Alm November 30, 2011

Writers pride themselves on understanding — and caring deeply about — the minutiae of their craft. I once met a writer who had a semicolon tattooed on her forearm. When I asked her why she had such a tattoo, she plainly said, “Because I’m an elitist.” I got what she meant, and somehow calling herself [...]

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This must be the place. (Home is where the sea turtles are).

by Amanda Leigh Lichtenstein November 25, 2011

I kept thinking about home on the way to a sea turtle conservation center located at the northern most tip of Zanzibar, in the village of Nungwi. It was an early, rain-soaked Saturday morning, and as we wound up Zanzibar’s roads lined with lush green banana leaves and bursting coconut palms, I was thinking a [...]

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Sholom Aleichem

by Peter Anderson November 23, 2011

Lately I’ve been working my way through Selected Stories by Sholom Aleichem, whom I’ve never read before but am greatly enjoying. In his story “You Musn’t Weep – It’s Yom-Tev”, a young boy struggles to maintain the innocence of childhood while his father is slowly dying from an unnamed disease (probably pneumonia) and his mother and [...]

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What to do about student loan debt?

by Rebecca Lehmann November 15, 2011

In a recent series of opinion articles on The New York Times website, various thinkers ponder the wisdom and efficacy of the changes to student loan debt repayment proposed by Obama: that borrowers be able to consolidate loans at a slightly lower rate, that Income Based Repayment plans be made more accessible, and that loan [...]

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A student’s death, mediated

by David Alm November 15, 2011

On Friday, I woke up early, around 5:15 a.m. and checked my email. There, amid the junk mail, was a subject line that left me stunned. It informed me that a student I’d had for two courses at Hunter College, in 2007 and 2008, had been killed. Walking down a road on Long Island last [...]

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Autumn blaze of Contrary

by Contrary Magazine November 13, 2011
Old House

In the Autumn issue of Contrary: There’s barely room to breathe. Her knees pressed to the rear of the machine, chest pressed to her knees, back to the wall. Grime and furred dust coats the floor beneath her, sticky on the skin. Clumping to her hands as she pushes further into the corner. Her heartbeat skitters along [...]

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Running ecstatically towards nothing

by David Alm November 8, 2011

When the topic of running comes up, I have a favorite line I tell people: “I run because it gives me the illusion that I’m getting somewhere.” They usually laugh, and I laugh with them. Except it’s not entirely a joke. I’ve chronicled many grievances on these pixilated pages: academic, professional, technological. But I’ve been [...]

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Rushdie tweets on a reality-show twit

by David Alm November 3, 2011

When Salman Rushdie is an earlier adopter than me, I know I’m out of step with technology. But so it is. Using Twitter to weigh in on Kim Kardashian’s divorce from Kris Humphries (two people I frankly know absolutely nothing about) after just 72 days of marriage, Rushdie proved that he could be at once [...]

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Follow my lessons, not my footsteps

by David Alm November 2, 2011

Last week I received an email from a former student asking for a letter of recommendation for graduate school, and I had no problem saying yes. He had taken three courses with me in three years, and been one of the best students I’ve had in my eight years of teaching. He is a gifted [...]

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