Day 183, September 15, 2020

 All the Eggs

Today's soundtrack: Hank Jones Trio, Sadao Watanabe, Chick Corea, Hiromi, Austin Peralta: Tokyo Jazz 2006

What is an idea? When does an idea become a conceptual idea. Of my peers who have found success in their craft, it is the ones who have been able to sustain a conceptual idea for a long enough period of time that they became experts at what they did, or were recognized by someone else for their conceptual fortitude. 

When I tried to get into a creative writing class my first year in college, the creative writing teacher didn't let me in and gave me a lame lecture on the danger of becoming a jack of all trades, master of none. I hated that he had the opportunity to encourage creativity in a student who was passionate and eager to write, but instead he waved me off until a later date when I had learned more and mastered Chaucer or Keats or some such. I avoided that professor for the rest of my career at Sewanee and only took creative writing when he was on sabbatical and we had a visiting faculty member teaching the class. I later found a creative outlet and a sympathetic professor in the Art Department and was able to balance my love of literature with my desire for creativity with a double major in English and Art. 

But after all that, maybe that professor was right. I have become distracted by my trades. I have too many things I enjoy too much. Whether it is engaging in participatory action research with students and colleagues, my work on diversity and racial justice, economic development through the creative economy, writing poetry, playing guitar, playing bass, cycling, community colleges, community economies, woodworking, and all the other things that make living worthwhile like good food, apple pie, love... and then I realize, how can it be that I haven't written fiction in so long? 

Can it be that I am ok with this outcome? There is something that feels resilient to have so many different baskets to put my eggs in. While I have not amounted to anything of note (yet) in any of these trades, I benefit from each of them greatly. I still admire and greatly envy the greats, like my father, like Tayari Jones, Dara Wier, Joe Pass, who have that focus and fortitude, that conceptual vision. My hope is that my conceptual vision is still growing and forming. Sometimes, all the little things we do add up into something larger, they way that my mentor, Julie Graham talked about teaching as making the greatest impact any activist could ever wish to have. 

So, I have these thoughts about shamanism, and what that might look like in a contemporary context, in this great diaspora of Korean people. People who traditionally would fall to an incurable illness, only relieved by the shaman, who then identifies the healed as a potential shaman to carry on the traditions. But what happens when that transmission is broken? Is lost? Is living in a fifth floor walkup in New York. That's the story that I never got out. Maybe someday soon you'll read it.

Take care and fortitude!


From Our Friends:

From the GCC Art Department:

The Art Department is kicking off our Fall Artist Lecture series tomorrow at noon. Matthew Steinke will visit us on Zoom to talk about his work. For more information on the artist and the link to the talk:

Everyone on and off campus is invited!



From Teaching Tolerance:

Sounds Like Hate—a new podcast from our colleagues in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project—is an audio documentary series about the dangers and peril of everyday people who engage in extremism, and the ways to disengage them from a life of hatred. 

The podcast dedicates two episodes to exploring how one Vermont high school is grappling with questions about flying a Black Lives Matter flag and removing a mascot some say bears a disturbing resemblance to a hooded Klansman.

In his newest article, Teaching Tolerance Senior Writer Cory Collins explores three valuable lessons from Sounds Like Hate about fighting racism in schools and communities:

  • Lesson One: Symbols tell a story students notice—and they often reflect systemic problems.
  • Lesson Two: School leaders and educators must embrace discomfort. 
  • Lesson Three: Supporting student activism is multifaceted work that benefits all students.

We’re grateful to the students and educators who shared these lessons and stories with Sounds Like Hate. We hope you’ll have a chance to read more, and to listen for yourself.

From UB Web Seminars:

Finding Opportunity in 
Adversity – Lighting the Path 
for Community College Students
September 23 | 2:00 pm ET | 1 Hour 

From the UMass Fine Arts Center:

White nightgown on clothesline image by Trish Crapo
Trish Crapo's "The Presence of Absence"
On View Now by Hampden Gallery

Online Exhibition September 15 through October 7
Perhaps you already know how easily the memory of a lost loved one can become a phantom companion. Through photographs, video, and spoken word created at a remote shack in the wild dunes of the Cape Cod National Seashore, Crapo explores whether wind, a clothesline, and a white nightgown can summon someone from the other side.

View Exhibition button image

Trish Crapo portrait Join us for a live virtual event on September 17 at noon ET with the artist discussing her work and reading her original poetry. Followed by a Q&A moderated by Samantha Wood, a UMass alum, artist, journalist, and a fellow member, with Crapo, in the Exploded View artist collaborative.

RSVP button

REVIVAL/50: Kimaya Diggs

Kimaya Diggs photo 

Premiering on YouTube 
Friday, September 18 at 4 p.m. ET

Diggs has created a musical lane all her own. With a playful presence and frank, transporting storytelling, Diggs’ mastery of her voice is the focal point of each performance and a transfixing experience. Her bodies of work include soundtracks, libretti, and themes for several plays, operas, and podcasts.

Get Reminder button image

REVIVAL/50 is a year-long digital performance series celebrating
Augusta Savage Gallery's 50th Anniversary.
See the full lineup at

From Academic Impressions:

From Verso Books:

We need a way of assessing not just what is wrong with capitalism, but what is desirable about alternatives.

From the Arts Extension Service at UMass:

Creative Women Leading Climate Action 

Keynote Lecture by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Wednesday, September 30, 6 p.m.
Free. Online. Open to All.

See Keynote Website for Details and Registration

Live and Recorded on Zoom, Facebook, and YouTube. Q/A to follow. 

Co-presented by Arts Extension Service, the Creative Women Leading Climate Action Symposium, 2020-2021 History Department Feinberg Series "Planet on a Precipice," and Partners. Spanish interpretation and closed captioning available. Audiorecording on SoundCloud.

From the UMass College of Natural Sciences:

There is still time to register for our next Zoom webinar, Unexpected Solutions: The Science of Problem Solving, occurring Tuesday, September 29 at 1pm, EST.


Learn about the applied research and innovation that stems from the College of Natural Sciences (CNS) to solve tricky problems. A few of the topics to be covered by our experts during this discussion will include the development of a copper antiviral face mask and portable virus detection device, the differences between applied research and basic research, and how industry partnerships bring professional experience to our students.


Registration is required to obtain a link to the event, and can be done by visiting

Today's Online Teaching Tips:

From Info Base:

Thursday, September 17, 2020 | 2PM ET

When Allen Community College (KS) shut their physical library down in March due to COVID-19, Library Director Virginia Shaffer was well prepared to move her library’s services fully online. Using flexible, multidisciplinary resources like Credo Reference and Films On Demand, Shaffer was well positioned to support the disparate needs of Allen CC’s students and faculty in their transition to fully online. Join us for a look at Allen Community College’s online success this past spring and how they have prepared for blended learning this fall. We’ll also look specifically at how to embed and link streaming video and reference content to LibGuides and LMSs.

From Academic Impressions:

From NPR:

How To Make The Most Of Online College This Fall

Millions of students are starting the fall semester online — in their childhood bedrooms, at kitchen tables surrounded by siblings or wherever they can find a quiet spot — as the coronavirus has forced more than a third of four-year colleges to teach entirely virtually.

With everything that's happening in the world, it can be hard to focus, especially if you didn't go into college with the intention of taking classes online. 

But students have been taking online courses for a long time, and many have loved the experience. 

Here's how to make the most of an online semester:


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