Are You Building a Foundation or Hitting a Target?

archerI was thinking the other day, as I often do, about life. I’m actually pretty much always thinking about life: where I’m going, where I’ve been, ways to improve and tweak every area. A question came to mind as I was walking over the Weeks Footbridge back from Cambridge to my office (that doesn’t matter but I figured I’d set the scene): Am I working towards building a foundation, or am I working towards hitting a target?

We humans go through life in certain ways characteristic of our temperaments and personalities. It seems like the answer to this question would be, “Whatever floats your boat!” and might be a question of whether you’re a J or a P on the Meyers-Briggs (if you know that). But I don’t think they both have advantages. I think one is inherently dangerous. Continue reading

The New Harvard Dean

hbsThis is a great article from The Crimson on Rakesh Khurana, the new dean of Harvard College, entitled “Man on a Mission.” Khurana went over the river to become Cabot House master last year from Harvard Business School, a place near and dear to my heart. I believe I actually scribed a class for him once; I’m not sure if he was actively teaching at the time, or stepped in for a colleague’s class, but he was dynamic. It’ll be exciting to see where he takes the school. (And he posts fun things on Instagram.)

You Need Creativity

One thing I’ve learned in the past few weeks is that if you’re a creative person, you need creativity in your life to thrive. If you are a writer, or an artist, or a musician, or anyone that finds themselves losing track of time and awareness when working on a creative project, you need to keep doing that, not because it’s what you do but because it’s what keeps you intact. There’s a bigger story to this that I may write about soon, but I’m someone who took a year off from creativity. Just in the past month I have been taking a class on creativity, and reading about the creative process, specifically for writers. I also attended Story, a conference in Chicago for “Creators, Dreamers, and Storytellers.” All these elements have worked together to show me that when you’re a creative you can’t just turn it off and walk away. It really is like breathing, and the act of creating affects psyche and soul. It’s not just about making a good story, but about the artist thriving in the act of creation.

Well Hey, That Writing Degree is Coming in Handy!

typewriterWhen you’re sitting in workshop discussing a story, you always see yourself in the future sitting in coffeeshops pounding out the great American novel, or at a literary conference chatting about the identity issues in Kafka’s work with other hipster writery folk, or striking the bad grammar from the submissions of literary magazines, or sitting in circle-the-chair discussions with students over whether characters feel real or not, or reworking a paragraph from your most recent short story, basically being super hip as a writer within the writer persona. Continue reading

What I’ve Been Up To Lately

motion-blur-1386956-mMan, it has been a busy season. Summer was busy: My job escalates in July and especially August (incoming students), I was out of town twice in July for my best friend’s wedding in California, I was taking a class during July too (note to self: Never take a summer course when you’re traveling twice to California), I bought a car in August, I went away at the end of August, I started two classes in September (only thought it would be one!), I was away for a week in September, I’m now living alone in my big apartment, I had a huge book to read as part of class, I’m going away at the beginning of October, I have new projects at work… Continue reading