writes about nerdy things, and celebrates those things as an English teacher. He lives in the mountains. Thanks for reading; feel free to leave a message.
Soccer I actively hated. But it lasted only a few weeks, until I figured out that if you were too tired to keep playing, or if you had a cramp, you could raise your hand and the coach would pull you out. So as soon as he put me on, I would raise my hand. Once I did this and he yelled, from the sidelines, “Come on, John, goddamnit!” Our eyes met. I kept my hand in the air.

From johnjeremiahsullivan's Blood Horses

I woke up this morning at 4am. I’m staying at home with my parents to help pre-empt the flooding that always occurs during April. Mud season. We go right from awful March, my least favorite month, to April where there is mass flooding. It’s awesome.

I woke up and started reading John Jeremiah Sullivan’s Blood Horses, because I’m so into what it is he does. I really enjoy his work, and I can’t quite get enough of it. You know a writer is for you when you read something and say, “Yeah, me too.” I say that all the time when reading him and the thing I’m learning from him is compassion. A willingness to empathize with people, all people of various shapes and sizes, and their interests.

This quote literally sprang me from my bed, all of his sports-related anecdotes could have been pulled whole-cloth from my own athletic misadventures.     

Announcing The Wil Wheaton Project

wilwheaton:

Announcing The Wil Wheaton Project

About a year ago, I had a meeting with a production company, who wanted me to host a show for them. The concept was simple, I thought it had the potential to be incredibly funny, and I really liked the people I met with.

“I can’t just be a host, though,” I explained. “I’ve been producing Tabletop for two seasons, and if I’m going to be the public face of a show, I need to have a hand in its…

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This is fun, so much so I’ll go as far as looking at syfy’s website to watch this since I don’t have cable.

Archie Goodwin.

I’ve read his Alien adaptation with Walter Simonson, sent to me by the very kind martialartsmaven, but I’m looking for more to read.

What would you recommend? 

Idol.

Idol.

Dave Eggers takes his sketchbook to Game 1 of the World Series, posted by austinkleon.
I’m definitely going to copy this.

Dave Eggers takes his sketchbook to Game 1 of the World Series, posted by austinkleon.

I’m definitely going to copy this.

These people at Mohegan Sun were not even drunk; they were dancing in front of the stage, mostly sober—had I ever known anyone who could or would dance sober? I was still in the back, by the bar, but I was jumping up and down, and the rest of the bar was jumping up and down, everyone’s face positively stupid. And it occurred to me then that fun is only fun when’s stupid. That there is no joy without stupidity, without abandon, without judgment—that music is best enjoyed in this stupid way, in a stupid place like this, with people you love holding stupid tambourines and playing with strangers amid strangers, who are dancing around to a song about spaceship-people building municipalities without permits or city planners but with pop songs.

Dave Eggers in an excerpt from his forthcoming book of travel essays, Visitants. A book that doesn’t seem like it’s going to come out in the US, but I definitely want to read. 

I’ve been to Mohegan Sun. I found the place to be a den of sadness. Generally, that’s my reaction to strip clubs and casinos. I had a poorly cooked hamburger there.

Doing the thing, talking to groups in film class. Photo by Jordan, who came and talked about editing film. I love this class. These guys are going to make some fun movies.

Doing the thing, talking to groups in film class. Photo by Jordan, who came and talked about editing film. I love this class. These guys are going to make some fun movies.

SBU journalism professor pens first novel with encouragement of peer and former students.
I can’t summarize how great and wonderful this is so I’m going to do it in list form.
Denny was my first college writing professor and many of his lessons I’ve brought over to my own classes.
One of them is William Strunk’s admonishment “Omit needless words.”
So teaching Strunk and White.
Having reading quizzes.
Understanding how to show and not tell in writing is by using the five senses humans use to know anything.
Like omit needless words, my second favorite note on student papers is “I’m sorry that’s vague—can you be more specific?”
Holly McIntyre.
Denny told me about this book one day in my senior year at St. Bonaventure when I asked him if he would read a chapter of my aborted first book, which was just a college student pseudo-memoir that tried too hard to be an impersonation of Rules of Attraction—basically something nobody wants to read. He echoed Bob Schreck’s advice to Nick Spencer: That I don’t know anything since I’ve spent my entire life in school, and I should go out and experience other things than stay in school, because that gives you life experience to write about.
And I listened and didn’t go back to graduate school until six years after I graduated from undergrad.
He is, probably, the very first influence I had as a writing teacher.

SBU journalism professor pens first novel with encouragement of peer and former students.

I can’t summarize how great and wonderful this is so I’m going to do it in list form.

  1. Denny was my first college writing professor and many of his lessons I’ve brought over to my own classes.
  2. One of them is William Strunk’s admonishment “Omit needless words.”
  3. So teaching Strunk and White.
  4. Having reading quizzes.
  5. Understanding how to show and not tell in writing is by using the five senses humans use to know anything.
  6. Like omit needless words, my second favorite note on student papers is “I’m sorry that’s vague—can you be more specific?”
  7. Holly McIntyre.
  8. Denny told me about this book one day in my senior year at St. Bonaventure when I asked him if he would read a chapter of my aborted first book, which was just a college student pseudo-memoir that tried too hard to be an impersonation of Rules of Attraction—basically something nobody wants to read. He echoed Bob Schreck’s advice to Nick Spencer: That I don’t know anything since I’ve spent my entire life in school, and I should go out and experience other things than stay in school, because that gives you life experience to write about.
  9. And I listened and didn’t go back to graduate school until six years after I graduated from undergrad.
  10. He is, probably, the very first influence I had as a writing teacher.

English is Crazy performed by Pete Seeger.

Media studies has really embraced cultural studies, but having people as a whole think your work is awesome is very different than having a hiring committee, especially one made of people who aren’t necessarily in your field, think that celebrity gossip is worthwhile, if that makes sense. So for me it’s a combination of what I study, but also the way that I write about it—I study something feminized and devalued, and I do a lot of that work on the internet, which is still considered to be not “real” scholarship. I was always doing “real” scholarship alongside this internet work—I’ve published eight peer-reviewed articles—but if my time on the market is to be believed, it simply didn’t matter. Same with my book: because I got paid to write it, and because it’s with Plume/Penguin instead of a university press, it’s not legit.

Anne Helen Petersen about leaving academia for Buzzfeed, at the Hairpin.

I’ve known for some time that my work, and the sort of audience I love writing for, is not a very good fit for academia, but I thought that I could wedge/force/hipcheck my way into a position that would reconcile the type of work that I wanted to do with the teaching that I love. But as a friend of mine said amidst her time on the market, “academia is drunk”—not belligerent or irresponsible so much single-sightedly focused on things that may or may not ultimately matter.

In other words, no one wanted to hire me! I want to be super explicit about that because I think people will assume that because of all the writing I do, both on and off the internet, that I somehow had some cornucopia of choices and was like “show me the money.” OH MAN I WISH. I get so much satisfaction from teaching, but there was no way to keep doing so—and continue the writing I find fulfilling—and make a sustainable salary. BuzzFeed gives me the platform and support to do the type of writing (and reach the type of audiences) that I love, but can also provide me with a living wage.

I wonder about this sort of thing. I don’t consider myself an academic but the fears shown in this interview mirror my own. My field is English with a focus on cultural and media studies. The chances are not good that I’ll have a secure job as an English professor. That means publishing regularly, getting a Ph.D, and being extremely lucky. I’m not sure that’s a thing worth engaging in at thirty-three. The other day, a colleague who has been teaching at the college for over thirty years says there isn’t a focus on a narrow field of study, professors teach many classes that are not what they have their graduate degree in. He teaches English, ethics, and permaculture. Next semester, I’m teaching an interdisciplinary course, composition, and a comics studies class.  I’m not really sure what to think, but I guess I should have a more open mind on my options, because I’m not sure what I would do professionally if my day job wasn’t being a teacher. I don’t really want to have anything else be my day job. Well, being full time novelist would be fine, but I’d say that’s a long shot, and not something to count on.