O Academe!

Working in academia has its pluses and minuses. All summer long I enjoyed what amounted to a private city, with restaurants empty at lunch time, wide sidewalks and quads free of pushing and shoving and skateboarders, and on-campus services like the gym and library that seemed to be waiting for me to command them into activity. It’s a stark contrast from the other nine months of the year. Throughout the academic year, students swarm the campus like picnic ants. Waiting for Starbucks was more excruciating than waiting for Godot. And food in the union, when it was even available, was like revenge—always cold and never what you were expecting.

The rest of my “mini-moir” is up at the Americans for the Arts blog as part of their Emerging Leaders Forum.

Who Are the People in Your Office Suite?

Yesterday we had a wonderful reading by the staff who work with me at The Writer’s Center. Although we see each other on a virtually daily basis and though many of us talk freely about writing and art (including, sometimes our own), for many of us, it was our first opportunity to encounter each other as writers. It did not disappoint.

The event renewed my sense of luck at having the kind of job I do, where I’m surrounded by people who love and care for the art I do as much as I do.

There was great variation among our readers, from a genderless short story narrator to a Kafka-Vonnegut blend of paranoia and humorous insanty to a Danish story in translation. It’s encouraging for me to know that among their many workday talents are mad writing skills too.

I read three new pieces, two of them for the first time, and I felt they worked well. I’ve had a terrible insecurity about a lot of my new poems, but I did some revising over the holidays and feel slightly better about them. My poems in the voices of Dorothy Gale, Omm Sety, and Joseph Smith all felt like they’d come together when I read them.

And I suspect, deep down, the three of them are culminating in a book that examines the nature of faith. In ourselves, in our memory, and in a higher power.

A Five Hour Tour

I gave a brief presentation on The Writer’s Center in Arlington today, for a group of federal employees.

I left my house (in Maryland) at 7 am to give myself a large cushion for arrival before the 9 am start time.

I arrived at the place at 8:45 am. It was “10 miles,” according to my GPS. I didn’t even hit that much traffic, really, until I got near the VA border (typical) and to the gate of the organization itself. And then waiting in line to get security clearance to enter…

I got home again at 12:30 pm. All in all, it was a five-hour ordeal.

In my experience, typical of going to Virginia! This is why the states don’t mix much. It’s a tremendous headache/heartache to go back and forth.

Me? I’ll be back in VA on Sept 5 for The Writer’s Center’s event with Kate Blackwell for Leesburg’s First Friday.

It’s All Official Now.

The papers are signed….

The powers that be have been notified….

So now I can tell you…

I’m leaving ASU effective June 20! I’ve accepted the Director position at The Writer’s Center, a literary nonprofit community center, in Bethesda, MD!

For those of you keeping score, this is my 18th move in 13 years. At roughly 2300 miles, it tops my previous record of carting sticks of furniture 1750 miles from MN to AZ. This time I’m pretty much taking books and clothes, and that’s about it.

Never a dull moment here at kinemapoetics.

My Pet Issue #5: Equal Pay for Equal Work in the Nonprofit Sector

I feel like if organizations won’t pay their employees a competitive salary, then they are obligated to recognize the deficit between the for-profit and non-profit industry salaries as actual in-kind financial donations that employees can then write off their taxes.

Click for full article.

As nonprofit groups increasingly compete with business and government employers to attract young workers, many people in their 20s and 30s are pressing charities to improve salaries, offer greater opportunities for career development, and do more to promote the diversity of their work forces.

In follow-up conversation to a survey of 1,650 released by the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network last year, which found burnout and low salaries threatening to drive young charity workers away, members of the group held a conference here to discuss how they can bring about changes that will reshape nonprofit organizations in ways that make them more inclusive and give greater opportunities to emerging leaders.