Oct 282015
 

Regarding Devoney Looser’s ‘Chronicle of Higher Education’ article “Me and My Shadow CV: What would my vita look like if it recorded not just the success of my professional life but also the many, many rejections?” my friend Jonathan Mayhew writes,

Nobody cares about your list of rejections and failures. When I first saw the title of this essay I thought it would be about something much more interesting: the parts of the scholarly formation that seem less scholarly but that somehow affect one’s writing: my study of jazz and percussion, my obsession with prosody: all the things I never wrote about but that are essential to who I am: for my friends, it could be their work as zen masters, or being in a band: the translations someone has worked on but not published.

The point the article is trying to make is that we see a cv loaded with stuff but don’t see the rejections and failures that everyone experiences. The longer the cv, the longer the shadow cv too, because someone more active will also have more opportunity not to get grants they apply for. Everyone knows this, so it’s supposed to be great for younger people to see that these successful people have also failed. I get the point, but it is a stupid article because it is not the one I would have written with this title. (Sorry.)

My shadow CV would certainly include a long section on hitchhiking, an obsession of mine for several years during which I learned how to talk with many different kinds of people. (When I graduated from SUNY/Buffalo no one – friend, family, or foe – believed me when I told them, with the exception of my then-future, now-former wife, because I seemed to have spent more time on the road than on campus – or in New York state, for that matter.)Steinway Upright

Also on my shadow CV would be my study of the piano (thank you, Mom and Dad, for the lessons and for the summer music camps). I feel my devotion to that instrument pouring into my palms as I type this. After I broke the pinky of my right hand in a stupid fight when I was in eleventh grade – it was poorly reset – my repertoire and record collection for several years thereafter focused almost exclusively on jazz. (I named my son after Miles Davis.) Now I play all kinds of things – this week it’s Arvo Pärt, some old hymns, always some Bach, and some easy & winsome pieces by a fellow named Charles Koechlin.

A third section would have to describe my study of radical politics and conspiracy theories, to which I was introduced, as most of us are, I would guess, in our young university years. It became an interest, and then a hobby, while I was on the road riding shotgun and listening to drivers talk about UFOs, the Illuminati, the CIA, JFK, Jonestown, and lizard people, and those secret and super-powerful, super-rich cabals controlled by Mormon or Catholic or Jewish magnates (or by the British Royal family!). When the drivers got tired of talking, we’d listen to the radio and learn even more. I went from hobbyist to serious amateur while putting together my book on the New Age movement. My correspondence with people in far out religious movements tended to be very vivid, to say the least, and I treasure it to this day. I never became a believer in the conspiracies, or in the religions, alas – not that I ever wanted to – though I do prefer the grand verbal edifices they produce to fictions like novels, and by a wide margin. (My favourite “researcher” is Dave Emory.)

reposted from basil.CA

Apr 282013
 

“Of the three goals to which all aspire – success in love, in society, and in profession – only two are plausible simultaneously: you can’t have a smooth love life, a rich social life, and still get your work done. …

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“Among the rare positive attributes of aging is the involuntary urge to find patterns: if I had not exactly forgotten that I too was reared a Quaker, I had suppressed it; suddenly this Quaker island [Nantucket] spoke – as we Quakers say – to my condition, and this condition was not godly but juvenile, free of lust and longing, like a child alone in the giant potential of his nursery. Anyone can waste himself but only I can pen my tunes, and the time had come.” – Ned Rorem, from “Out of Nantucket,” in Other Entertainment (1984)

Jan 302013
 

During a classroom discussion about program evaluation and research last night,  I recommended to my entrepreneurial leadership students that they bookmark The Free Management Library. It’s a wonderful community-composed resource. “The Library provides free, easy-to-access, online articles to develop yourself, other individuals, groups and organizations (whether the organization is for-profit or nonprofit)…. The Library focuses especially on free, online and practical information that visitors can quickly apply. Articles are about personal, professional and organizational development.” The Library’s “collection” ranges from “Action Learning” to “Organizational Performance” to “Work-Life Balance.” The Library also hosts a very active and intelligent group of bloggers.


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