“A writer’s notebook is not a diary. Writers react. Writers need a place to record these reactions. That’s what a writer’s notebook is for. It gives you a place to write down what makes you angry or sad or amazed, to write down what you noticed and don’t want to forget. A writer’s notebook gives you a place to live like a writer.” - Ralph Fletcher



Not Here For The Fame...

Them: "You should write a book!"

Me: "You already read my essays and other posts on my blog. Why does it need to be in a book? I've considered a book but it is not a particular goal at the moment and I don't want to explain why that is, but I can assure you that structural inequality is a factor."

Them: "You should teach at a college!"

Me: "Are you hiring? Because I cannot hire myself and stick myself on a campus; I am sure they would call security."

Them: "You should be on MSNBC!"

Me: "Did I state that I want to be on television? Or is that *your* dream? Can people just tweet MSNBC and demand to appear there and then pop up on a show?"

Them: "You should do public speaking at events that Whites approve of, like TED or TEDx."

Me: "Did I state that I want to do public speaking? I mean, in multiple posts I made my goals and audience clear for Gradient Lair, I am unclear about the ambiguity."

Them: "Well how do you expect your message to get out there then?"

Me: "Out to whom? The thousands who share it daily, the hundreds of thousands who view it every month? Who else, since my primary target are other Black women? Do you mean 'out there' to Whites so that you can finally view my work as valid once it has their blessing?"

Them: "But...don't you want to be seen, to be famous for your work?"

Me: "No."

Them: "Well, if not here for fame and mainstream approval, will you do this project for me for free? I mean you don't care about money either then, right?"

Me: "Um, exploitation of labor is OPPRESSION and CAPITALISM, the things you supposedly also hate."

Them: "Then what's the point if it's not for fame?"

Me: "When you learn the answer to this question, then you'll know everything."


What can we writers learn from lizards, lift from birds? In quickness is truth. The faster you blurt, the more swiftly you write, the more honest you are. In hesitation is thought. In delay comes the effort for a style, instead of leaping upon truth which is the only style worth deadfalling or tiger-trapping.

Ray Bradbury


How do you ensure ‘greater worker insecurity’? Crucially, by not guaranteeing employment, by keeping people hanging on a limb that can be sawed off at any time, so that they’d better shut up, take tiny salaries, and do their work; and if they get the gift of being allowed to serve under miserable conditions for another year, they should welcome it and not ask for any more.



DESCRIPTION: Players from both the traditional and emerging worlds of distribution…


Why We Share What We Share


By now you’re probably familiar with the story regarding Lisa Bonchek Adams and her detractors, The Kellers. I am firmly on Team Lisa, not only because we once shared the most lovely afternoon in the company of some seriously amazing women (watch your feet, here come the names): Rosanne Cash,…


Literary Depression: a pedagogical story

Last week I told my students that I used to be suicidal. We were thirty minutes into discussing Kafka’s Metamorphosisand, as is my teaching style, I was pulling from my own life to flesh out the story.

“Does anyone else know what it’s like to wake up as an insect?” I asked the class. “Anyone besides me….”


Boston Review — Vincent Czyz: Prose, Thinly Disguised as an IKEA Superstore

By now it should be clear where I am headed: formula—IKEA, the franchise, the uniform—tends toward prose. The inimitable—a collection of antique furniture, the H & H Deli, Mrs. McGruder’s front porch—the spontaneous or whimsical, the heterogeneous or the unorthodox, tends to be poetic.


Your Writing Reflects Your Reading

At the turn of the millennium, I was sitting in a cinema in Istanbul watching Quills, a film about the Marquis de Sade, the notorious author of late 18th and early 19th century erotica (played by Geoffrey Rush). At one point in the movie, Joachim Phoenix’s character levels this accusation at de Sade: “Any author who writes more than he reads is a hack.”

“For once,” I thought, “Hollywood nailed something.”


#Adjunct professors are the new #workingpoor


American higher education can and should do better for adjunct faculty, Gary Rhoades writes.

…Opinion by @GaryRhoades, #CNN.com, September 24, 2013.

(CNN) — “She was a professor?”

That’s what an astonished caseworker at Adult Protective Services asked about Margaret Mary Vojtko when informed of the 83-year-old woman’s destitute situation, according to an op-ed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Vojtko died September 1 of a massive heart attack.

Yes, she was a professor. An adjunct professor of French at Duquesne University. Until she was not renewed this year, with neither due process nor severance pay.

Editor’s note: Gary Rhoades is a professor and director of the Center for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Arizona.


  • Margaret Mary Vojtko, who taught at a university for 25 years, died in poverty
  • Gary Rhoades: Adjunct professors are paid very little and have no benefits
  • He says the dirty secret in higher education is that adjuncts are used a lot
  • Rhoades: Adjunct faculty do not deserve to be the new working poor in society