Another Birthday Rumination

A couple of years back, I waxed loquacious and hopeful about my birthday. Today, as I hit forty years of age–yes, cue the black balloons–I have to note that the hopes…did not pan out quite as expected. And I still don’t know what ingredient in the salad I am, although I expect it’s a vinaigrette dressing, being somewhat astringent.

I need…a few more candles.
Photo by lil artsy on

As I sit now, though, I have a decent job again. I still have my family and my home. The past year wasn’t necessarily a good one for me, but it’s done, and I am where I can move ahead with some confidence. Hopefully, I know enough now not to get too cocky about it…


Let’s see if I can’t make it through another one!

Send me a present?

A Brief Update

Those who regularly read my blog–and thank you, by the way–will likely have noted a shift in pattern in the past couple of weeks. I haven’t been posting my usual updates to the Robin Hobb Reread, and I have been waxing verbose on other topics. This follows a broader tendency in my writing–namely that I have been fairly snowed under, despite the still-summer heat of the central Texas where I live.

Out of season, but still purty.
Photo by nagaraju gajula on

I’m alright, as far as all that goes, but I’ve been busy handling some other things, is all. I’m not intending to give up on the projects I’ve been discussing. Just need to get a few other things taken care of first, is all. So I’ll get back on all that soon.

Until then, thanks for following along! I really do appreciate it!

I also always appreciate your support.

Need Help Writing? Get Help Now!

Schools have started up again, and that means assignments are starting again, too. Even down into elementary school, students are being asked to write–and writing is hard. It takes work. It takes attention to detail. And it takes time to do well.

This is the kind of thing I can help you overcome…
Photo by Jessica Lewis Creative on

Classroom teachers do their best, of course, but with twenty to forty students in a room, there is only so much time they can give to any one student–and when there’s one or two acting out, it’s clear where the teachers’ attention will go. The quiet student who sits and tries to get things done gets left out–not because of anything they did or anything their teachers have done, but because there’s only so much time in the class, and there’re so many other things that teachers have to do.

That’s where I come in.

I’ve been writing for years, and I’ve taught writing in the classroom and in individual settings for almost as long. My students have ranged from middle- and high-schoolers through graduate students; my clients have ranged from high-schoolers through PhD candidates and established scholars. Each has seen a marked improvement in performance after working with me–and you and yours can have the same success!

I’d be thrilled to put my time and talents to work for you. Let me know what you need help writing, and we’ll talk about what we can do together!

Still Another Rumination on Memorial Day

I have commented about this day’s observances once or twice before, I think. I am not moving this year, nor am I preparing to move, as was the case last year. I am moved, perhaps, but for a different reason and a far worse one.

Image from the district’s “School Spirit & History” page, used for commentary.

It remains right and proper that those who have died in honorable, upright service be remembered and honored. That what they died to defend suffers such as has happened–again, and again, and again, in Uvalde as in too many other places across too many years–is far, far less so. And it is hard for the reverence due the victorious dead to be given against the grief due those slain unjustly.

Let us make our world one worth the sacrifices made, one where such grief need not be felt again.

For this Memorial Day, please donate to the folks in Uvalde, Texas, who have their own memorials to erect. Send checks payable to the Robb School Memorial Fund to FSB of Uvalde, 200 E Nopal, Uvalde, TX 78801, or donate via Zelle at

Another Advertisement

I noted not too long ago that I’ve shifted over to freelance work. It’s going decently enough at the moment, and I’m enjoying it, but I’m happy to have additional clients. I’d be happy to put the skills and expertise I’ve developed through years of frequent presentation and occasional publication, decades of study and teaching, and a lifetime of reading and writing to work for you!

I’m easy to work with, I promise.
Image is mine, severally.

I’ve got more than a decade of experience teaching college-level writing and literature classes, doing so at R1 and Big 12 universities as well as small colleges and technical schools. As a private tutor, I’ve worked with high-school students and higher-level scholars, helping them succeed at class assignments, preparation of application materials for schools and for the workforce, thesis and dissertation writing, monograph writing, and novel writing. Fields have ranged from general education to aerospace engineering, business, cybersecurity, language and literature, and psychology.

Further, I’ve written ad copy; infographics and information summaries; social media materials; grants; research proposals; formal literary research at various lengths; less formal essays on teaching, writing, and media works; book reviews; and various creative works. I’ve also drafted many lesson plans–including linked full-group, in-class individual, and independent-learning activities–as well as assessment materials–including multiple-choice questions and short-answer and essay prompts. And there’re other materials in this very webspace, free for review and consideration!

I’d be delighted to help you meet your needs. Please get in contact with me using the form below; I look forward to hearing from and working with you!

And, if you’d just like to send a little support along, I’d not mind that at all!

An Advertisement

As it happens, I’m working primarily as a freelance writer and tutor at this point, other work not being what I’d thought it would be. Now, those of you who’re looking at this know how I write and what I tend to write about, and those of you who keep coming back seem to like what I do, so I’ll put it to you this way: If you’ve got some writing that needs doing, some writing that needs reviewing, or some literary or writerly thing that seems to be messing with you, or somebody you know does, reach out. My rates are reasonable, and my results speak for themselves.

How can you say “no” to this?
Image is mine, multiple ways.

I work in the following:

  • Literary research
  • General informational/documentary research
  • Proofreading
  • Style editing
  • Grant writing
  • Copywriting
  • Creative writing (especially poetry)
  • Literature and writing tutoring
So, if you or someone you know needs help with any of those, reach out in the comments below. I’ll see them there!

I look forward to hearing from and working with you!

I am happy to accept payment for services here.

An Announcement

Since I’ve gotten official word and have told the people who needed to know first, I can say this now: I’ve accepted a position teaching English at Burnet High School in Burnet, Texas. I’m looking forward to returning to the classroom and to the work I trained to do; I’m looking forward to getting back to my professional roots.

Reliance Architecture - Burnet High School
The scene of what’s to come…
Image from Reliance Architecture, used for commentary.

I’ve enjoyed my time at the Hill Country Council on Alcohol & Drug Abuse, Inc., in Kerrville. It’s been a good job that has allowed me no small amount of autonomy, and I appreciate both of those things. The Burnet job is more in line with my history, though, and it offers things I cannot get in my still-current position; I start teaching again on 7 September 2021, and I hope to be doing it for a long time to come.

Go, Dawgs!

Care to help me make the transition?

I Wish I Had This Batting Average…

If I have things figured correctly–and I may well not, I admit–this is the 1,000th entry in this blogroll. It is something of a milestone, certainly, although the kind of statistical breakdown that often accompanies such things will wait until the usual annual report I make on the blog about the blog. No, for now, it suffices to mark the occasion–something at which I do not excel, as those who know me in person know.

Such idle pasttimes…
Photo by Steshka Willems on

No, I am not quite so often celebratory as might be thought; I don’t generally see myself as having reason to be so, or not enough reason to set aside the time to do it as is needed. I’m happy to celebrate others, to mark their birthdays and anniversaries and achievements. Mine, though…not so much. And that is as it should be, really; it is enough for me to note that I’ve made it this far and to keep going.

I haven’t done enough yet, not by a long shot.

I do thank you, though, for reading, and I hope that you will continue to read what I write, whether my odd essay or the rereading series that is still going (and still has a long way to go). I have every intention of continuing to do the writing, whether it’s to note some new occurrence or just to keep things going along; I hope folks get some use or enjoyment out of it–or both!

Help me get to the next thousand?

A Birthday Rumination

Thirty-eight years ago today, I was pulled screaming into the world. I am told–and I have to rely on what I have been told, since memory does not serve me quite so well at that remove–that I was a forceps delivery, and the image of sterile salad tongs cupping my head and yanking me out into light and cold seems apt enough. I wonder if I am the tomato or the carrot in such a salad, or if I am the olive or the cucumber or what.

Chamberlen forceps (Malden found 1813) in K. DAS after Kilian.jpg
Found on Wikimedia Commons, Presumably public domain.
Something like one of these, perhaps?
Image from Wikimedia Commons; I am told it’s public domain.

Whatever salad-fixin’ I might have been or might still be, though, marking another circuit of Sol is something that often prompts reflection and consideration. There’s been enough to consider, certainly, and not all of it has been a comfort. Occupying the position of privilege that I do, I know I am insulated from the direct effects of much of the unpleasantness and outright evil that has been at work in the world, and I am neither unappreciative of that ease nor unmindful of those who do not have it. I work with no few of the latter, and I do sometimes pay attention at work.

I am more or less comfortable at this point, as I sit and type out this post (well ahead of time, I have to admit; I mean to be at work on the NaNoWriMo project when this goes live). And that is a dangerous thing. It breeds complacency, laziness. I already do not do enough. But I also grow more and more accustomed to comfort, easing into it and succumbing to the inertia of my own indolence. I’d imagine I can get more than a few more years out of myself in such circumstances, but whether or not that’s advisable…

As it is, I have more writing to do and different. I also have a new year of me starting, and I had probably ought to see if I can’t enjoy some of it.

It’s my birthday, precious. Give us a gift?

A Note on the New Year of Hindsight

Now that everybody in my part of the world’s had a chance to get woken up and get their hangovers under control, a few comments are likely in order. It is a new year, after all, and the new year does tend to invite this kind of thing, the more so since I did not do a retrospective over 2019. (I usually do that kind of thing on the blog’s anniversary, which happens in June. I hope you’ll stick around for it.)

Image result for new year's day kerrville"
Image from the Kerrville Convention and Visitors Bureau, used for commentary

For one, I’ve given up teaching. I realized, later than probably ought to have been the case, that I was not doing any good in the classroom anymore, that I was simply doing it to collect a paycheck. I’m in a position now that I don’t need the income–there was quite a while that I very much did, but such is not the case at this point–and it’s enough of a disservice to those who would attend classes to have someone who has more or less checked out that I decided I would, in fact, check out. I will not rule out the possibility of teaching again at some later point when I might be able to do some good with it, but I do not see such a time coming again for me at any point in the foreseeable future. I am not a prophet, though; again, I’ll not rule out the possibility.

For another, I do mean to continue to work in this webspace. Even if a lot of the traffic to it since I started has been driven by my students needing to access it, not all has been. Indeed, some of the stuff I’ve done here has helped some people do the things they’ve needed to do. Insofar as that’s the case, then, I’ll keep working on this. In truth, since I’m not teaching anymore, I might well have more time to put to this project; I’ve not been as good about keeping abreast of it as I ought to have been, I know, and I am not proud of it–but I can work to address it and make sure that, moving forward, I give it what it ought to have.

For the record, that does include the Fedwren Project and the Robin Hobb Rereading Series. And it will resume including my commentaries, in which I had formerly engaged and which I would like to turn to doing again; I have missed thinking about things and writing about what I think, even if I am not likely to get anything placed in any kind of scholarly journal and do not really have a need to do so. Again, I’m not teaching; I’ve long since given up on having the kind of academic position that requires publications, and it makes little sense for me to compete with the people who are (and who have institutional access to apparatus) and whose continued livelihoods depend on them getting (back) into print.

For a final note or two: I’m looking at getting a couple of poetry collections compiled and into print. I will, of course, be plugging them here as I get them closer to being done (I’d be a fool to not, and I try not to be a fool). Too, I’m looking at putting together a kind of synoptic history of a local group of which I was part and with which I am associated once again. More on that will come later, as I get more put together, but I will be plugging that here, as well. So there are some things to look forward to as I move into the new year, and I hope that you’ll follow along, as well! I’ll try to make it worth your while.

Did I bring you as much pleasure as a cup of coffee does? Half a cup? Could you kick in as much for me so that I can keep doing it? Click here, then, and thanks!