#SOL17: Digital Life, Post-Concussion

I. I haven’t blogged since July. First there was a bike trip to the San Juan Island. Then there were other things related to giving this old house the kind of love it hasn’t had in a while. And then came the eclipse.  I watched it from a lawn chair in my sister-in-law’s backyard, coffee mugs and cats at our sides. When it was time […]

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I Don’t Know How To Teach Literature

No, that’s not accurate. I can sling the terms around with the best of them: irony, theme, protagonist, point of view…. More difficult, and what I’ve found myself puzzling about over the course of the past week is the question of how I would “teach” kids to tell the difference between literature and its bastard cousins, fiction, popular fiction, or young adult fiction.  One is enjoying a popular resurgence but […]

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A Rose By Any Other Name Would Be A Dead Weight

I’m in A Mood today. I was going to write, for no special reason, but that would be a lie. It all started yesterday, in a rose bed not far from my house. Roses are a Big Deal here. (They don’t call Portland the Rose City for nothing.) Roses grow like weeds, to the point you can feel rose-intoxicated by taking a breath as you walk […]

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Racism Goes to School

Preface In the time since I began to write this post, racism has been visible in Portland in a number of ways, one horrific enough to make national news. But there have been local incidents too. For example, at the middle school a few blocks away, an 8th grader waiting at a bus stop was harassed with racial slurs. This poster appeared not too far […]

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#SOL17: Gobsmacked*

I could have titled this post “Learning By Happenstance,” because I happened on an announcement about a town hall regarding education cuts in Oregon and decided to go. It was an eye-opener, to say the least, especially for someone trying to make sense of a completely new education system. What I learned: Two pieces of Oregon legislation dramatically changed the course of the public schools, beginning in […]

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When I told people I was moving to Portland, OR, I received pretty consistent reactions. “Oh, I love Portland.” Or, ” Ohhhh, I have always wanted to go to Portland.” Or, “Ha— I’ve seen Portlandia. I’ve heard it’s just like that.” But it would be a mistake to reinforce the impression that PDX is an idyllic hipster haven. Yes, there are independent bookstores, coffee shops on every block, […]

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Learn. Make. Watch. Why? A Response In Two Parts

I. I’m learning that when a glorious day comes in Portland OR,  you drop everything and head outside. Saturday was one of those days: azure sky, crisp spring air, new leaves bouncing in a light breeze. Me,  I headed indoors and spent my afternoon in a dark, windowless space, staring at a screen. I had snagged one of the 20 spots in a workshop at The Northwest Film Center […]

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#SOL17: In Which I See The Obvious

I miss my desk. I miss my books. I think I miss my books more. For two months, my things have sat in storage, waiting to be summoned to the new house. Poor house, with its listing foundation pillars and rotted sill plates, its mold-infested basement and muddy crawlspaces, its sewer conjoined illegally to the neighbors’, its cracked ductwork with traces of unmentionable inhabitants. It […]

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#SOL17: W&GOT, an Alt-LOL Exploration

What is W&GOT? In this newly alt-world, it’s my alt-LOL; it stands for Wailing and Gnashing Of Teeth. Because in a stunning frenzy of whatever-the-f$%k-you-want-to-call-it, Betsy DeVos has made it out of committee and is headed to a confirmation vote by the full Senate. It was, by all accounts, procedural insanity at its finest. Here’s how NPR education reporter Cory Turner summed it up– apologies […]

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