"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better." ~Samuel Beckett
Teaching
Old Friends Publishing Books

Old Friends Publishing Books

It was a pleasant surprise to learn earlier this year that my former department chair at Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons, Dr.Paul O’Brien, was publishing a memoir after retiring from his forty-seven year teaching career. Paul, pictured to the left at a book signing at ND-BG last night, was one of my earliest mentors, and a true...
Explanatory Notes

Explanatory Notes

So I feel I need to clarify the last post. It was titled “Happy 2016 (Do Unto Others Edition).”  In that post I felt that I did a pretty good  job of describing the Happy 2016 part, but failed to fully articulate the “Do Unto Others” part. It’s not really a long thought, but I...
David Foster Wallace on Writerly Pretentiousness

David Foster Wallace on Writerly Pretentiousness

Ok, so I’m struggling with Infinite Jest right now. I love it, I hate it, I struggle with its weight. But more than anything, I’m blown away by David Foster Wallace’s sheer brilliance and hutzpah. He’s funny, biting, thought-provoking, anger-inducing, and one hell of a writer. Here’s a quote that I read from him regarding...
Summer Reading

Summer Reading

It’s been a great summer! Trips and relaxing and coaching- all have played a role- but I think the main thing that;s really ignited this summer has been reading. Yup, reading. The thing I do every single day of the year in small doses I have maxed out on this last month and a half....
Structure

Structure

It is day four of vacation. Thursday. It has been rainy, cold, and overall miserable, but, in an effort to cut off any criticism coming at me because I am on vacation, I will say that any vacation is better than no vacation. Or is it? As a teacher, I live my life by a...
Warning: The Following Post May Make You Uncomfortable

Warning: The Following Post May Make You Uncomfortable

Warning: the following may make you uncomfortable; consider yourself warned! Rebecca Mead’s Talk of the Town article in the June 9th New Yorker (“Literature and Life”) brings into focus the current trend on college campuses to issue trigger warnings for pieces of literature being read in Lit. classes. If you haven’t heard about these trigger warnings, then...
Winter of my [ARTISTIC] Discontent

Winter of my [ARTISTIC] Discontent

Happy 2014! A Brief Look Back at the Fall Looking back on the blog here, it is amazing to me that I haven’t posted a single thing since August. Talk about a hiatus! I was busy, mind you. My girlfriend moved in with me, her daughters moved to North Carolina, we planned a wedding, school...
Beloved, in Flames (sort of)

Beloved, in Flames (sort of)

They’re banning books again. This time in Fairfax County, Virginia. The book is Beloved, by Toni Morrison. They’re not burning the book- not yet- but I’m still  incensed. The full article from the Washington Post can be found here. The gist of the story is this: Laura Murphy, a concerned mother whose 17 year old...
Salem and the Act of Reinvention

Salem and the Act of Reinvention

I love Salem, Massachusetts. Just returning last night from a field trip that brought me there with thirty-six eleventh graders, I’ve had some time to think about this gem of a city and its dark past. I’ve lived with the witch hysteria just about every year I’ve taught thanks to Arthur Miller’s Crucible, and Hawthorne’s...
Social Media, Errors, and Oversights That Can Cost You

Social Media, Errors, and Oversights That Can Cost You

I love my blog. For years now I have been chronicling thoughts, hopes, aspirations, hurts, and writing tips right here on Sharper Thesis, the blog. But last night I was reminded in an abrupt way that there are rules to social media, and that if you forget them like I did you can miss out...