Recently, I was honored to spend time with my paternal grandmother as she died and with my father’s sister and brother as they provided care. Relatively speaking, she passed away quickly, after a short kidney illness, and peacefully, having had an incredibly sound health care directive in place. I was surprised to be tasked with giving Jeri Christianson’s eulogy: it was overwhelming to absorb the enormity of standing in for my father, of crystallizing a life, of leading my family through a life course transition in a way that would recognize the process of grief and change is both individual and social. Here’s what I wrote: Continue reading Jeri Christianson: A Eulogy
This article first appeared in Contexts magazine’s Winter ’10 issue.
This issue, Contexts is changing the format of our usual student essay. We received four extremely thoughtful—and handwritten!—essays from “Inside” students in response to our student piece in the last issue, and so we’re sharing their insights to give another perspective on this ground-breaking program.
In the fall 2009 issue of Contexts, Tasha Galardi, an Oregon State University student, wrote about her experience as one of the “Outside” students participating in the Inside-Out prison exchange course in Crime, Justice, and Social Policy. The course brought together students from OSU and students who are currently incarcerated for a 10-week, college-level sociology course. Galardi wrote that one of her reasons for taking the course was to challenge her own preconceived notions of prisoners. Learning sociological theories in dialogue and collaboration with the “Inside” students she got to know over the semester transformed Galardi’s ideas about crime (and criminals). Continue reading Essays from Inside Prison
This piece was written for Laughs Last author and Stand Up! Records humorist Dylan Brody for inclusion as back-cover copy and on various retailer websites, press releases, and whatnot. I adore whatnot.
There may not be boxes strong enough for the weight of memory, but some books can do the trick. Laughs Last is a rumination on family, legacy, talent, and the fluidity of time, a poignant dream of adulthood coming in fits and starts to our protagonist Damon Blazer. Continue reading Laughs Last
I started taking Latin in the 6th grade, when we were offered one quarter each of Latin, French, Spanish, and German. I continued through high school, college, and graduate school, for a grand total of, I believe, 11 years of Latin. I am not very good at Latin. Hell, I’m still working on conversational English.
What I have learned well, though, is what all of those nice little Latin abbreviations that pepper our readings actually mean: Continue reading Abandon Ye Latin
This post originally appeared on TheSocietyPages.org.
A primer on getting the most out of the editing process, this short article assumes that you’re working on a journal submission, but is generally applicable to an op-ed you might be pitching, sample chapters for a book proposal, etc. I am also assuming you’ve already found an editor, but I’ll talk about that a little bit. As always, I take questions and additional recommendations—I’m positive I’ve overlooked, oh, about a hundred things. A hundred seems about right. Continue reading The Art of Being Edited*
This piece was originally written for Stand Up! Records, for whom I am a copy writer and loyal laugher. Written, unbidden, just after hearing Mike had died, it’s still one of my favorite pieces. Hasty, but heartfelt.
Mike DeStefano, a light of compassion in a dark world, passed away on March 6, 2011. And just like he predicted in an interview on Marc Maron’s WTF Podcast last December, it wasn’t drugs, disease, or his own hand. He had a heart attack and, just like that, we lost a friend. Continue reading A Remembrance of Mike DeStefano
As Chris Uggen pointed out on the Twitters, it’s easy to disappoint your coworkers. Whether it’s producing actual Swedish fish when a candy-mergency arises in a late-night writing session or dropping the ball when it’s your turn to write the lit review, there are just so many opportunities to co-write badly. Here’s my very quick editorial advice should you decide to undertake a co-authored project: Continue reading The Care and Feeding of Co-authors
Thanks to W.W. Norton & Company, my clients The Society Pages now have a full set of three published, edited volumes, with more to come (volumes on debt and culture are in the hopper already). Each draws on materials published as original features on our website and ties in content from our suite of blogs, The Community Pages, which include blockbusters Sociological Images, Cyborgology, Public Criminology, and Girl w/ Pen! Each book also has a companion website and a full discussion guide. Even better? It’s great scholarship at a trifling price ($15), and the originals remain online, for free, even when they make it into a volume. How lucky are we?
A.K.A., “The Umlaut Story.” Told Feb. 23, 2014 at the MN Encyclopedia Show, Kieran’s Irish Pub.
First, I am so delighted. I just had a bowl of hot cheese, overheard that the famous scene from the “Warriors” where Luther from the Rogues calls out the eponymous gang was improvised, and found myself surrounded by cunning linguists. I’ve also been billed as an “expert.” As an editor, I suppose that’s true. Sometimes I do like to talk about grammar and punctuation in public. I’m just not used to the rebuttal portion.
Anyhow, I want to be real, you guys. The umlaut is not punctuation. I’ll give you a second to recover. The question that follows, naturally, is why am I here, at the Encyclopedia Show on punctuation night, talking about umlauts? Easy: sibling rivalry. But we’ll get to that. Continue reading You, Sir, Are No Björn
More professionally, I might say: I am the senior managing editor of Contexts, founding associate editor and producer of The Society Pages, and a sociology editor, jargon-slayer, and “book doula” for hire. My specialty is in helping authors identify and hone their arguments in ways their target audiences can both understand and use. In this way, I’m a translator, consultant, writing coach, and editor all in one. Continue reading About Me