Author: Ian

Four Major Plays, Volume II, by Henrik Ibsen (1881-1896)

Prior to this I’d only read Ibsen’s A Doll’s House and Hedda Gabler, and while these four plays are less significant, they built off of the other Ibsen I’d read while covering more thematic ground.  Ibsen was a progressive decades ahead of his time, and today these plays seem more relevant than ever, covering environmental protection, the place of women in society, the dangers of … Continue reading Four Major Plays, Volume II, by Henrik Ibsen (1881-1896) »

Guest Post – The Bullet Journal Saved My Lifestyle

Jack Hill is hands-down one of the most productive people I’ve ever met and a Day Job veteran who’s worked a bigger variety of jobs than even I have. The two of us spent a lot of time in grad school trying to make sense of how the writing life worked in the 21st century.  Check out his website or follow him on Twitter @xjackhill. … Continue reading Guest Post – The Bullet Journal Saved My Lifestyle »

Fight Scenes, by Greg Bottoms (2008)

Fight Scenes is about growing up in the 1980s with your friend whose dad keeps naked pictures of women he’s slept with under his bed; it’s about dealing with bullies and looking at porn with girls you like and sitting in front of the 7-Eleven and smoking pot in the woods and fending off crazy racists at the local Popeye’s.  Bottoms shows us these moments … Continue reading Fight Scenes, by Greg Bottoms (2008) »

Is Your Workplace Socially Toxic?

I’m an introvert, which means I gain energy from being alone and I exert energy whenever I’m around people, especially large groups.  This doesn’t mean that I hate being around people—in fact, a lot of people who know me will tell you that I’m at my most boisterous when I’m at parties or giving speeches. This relates to work (specifically Day Job work) in that … Continue reading Is Your Workplace Socially Toxic? »

Atonement, by Ian McEwan (2001)

In 1935 Britain, a thirteen-year-old girl’s overactive imagination and accidental brush with the c-word lead her to send an innocent man to prison for a sex crime.  While the first half covers the misunderstanding, the second deals with the grim early days of World War II, both on the French front and in the hospitals.  Everything about this book feels like it shouldn’t work (historical … Continue reading Atonement, by Ian McEwan (2001) »

Guest Post – Josh Bresslin: Corrections Officer/Writer

Josh and I met through a local reading series, and I was struck by how completely he was able to change his entire life to better focus on his creative work.  He’s written one novel already and working on a second, and you can find him on Twitter @Josh_Bresslin or at his website, joshbresslin.com.   Six months ago, I was working a county government job … Continue reading Guest Post – Josh Bresslin: Corrections Officer/Writer »

Lichtenstein, by Janis Hendrickson (1988, 2012)

This picture-filled guide to Roy Lichtenstein’s career covers both his paintings of starry-eyed comic-book heroines (an example of which graces the cover), his images of everyday objects like washing machines and golf balls, and his later, more abstract paintings.  There’s also a close technical and thematic look at the Benday dots used in so many of his works.  Though I was most interested in Lichtenstein’s … Continue reading Lichtenstein, by Janis Hendrickson (1988, 2012) »

Stop. Checking. Your. E-mail.

I used to check my e-mail once, sometimes twice a day, usually after work or at the very end of the night.  (I know this is starting out all lame and nostalgic, but bear with me….)  I’d respond to anything that was important, then wait a few days for things that weren’t.  My back and forth conversations were usually separated by a day or longer, … Continue reading Stop. Checking. Your. E-mail. »

Villa Incognito, by Tom Robbins (2003)

Like every Tom Robbins novel, this one starts out with a chaotic bang: a large-scrotumed talking tanuki parachutes into nineteenth century Japan to drink sake and sleep with girls; meanwhile a band of ex-GIs in southeast Asia panics when their drug-smuggling comrade gets caught in the act. Robbins takes a while to tie his scattered opening together, but when he does, the plot feels surprisingly … Continue reading Villa Incognito, by Tom Robbins (2003) »

Every Job I’ve Ever Had, Part III

So this is the end of my three-part series spelling out my entire work history.  In Part 1 I covered my early years learning about work, and in Part 2 I moved on to post-college struggles to both scrounge up some money and get out of New Hampshire.   Goat and Horse Farm Worker Pay: $20/feeding (about 1-1.5 hours) I got back from Japan with … Continue reading Every Job I’ve Ever Had, Part III »

The Secret Agent, by Joseph Conrad (1907)

A century before anyone would associate terrorism with Islam, Conrad both mocks and captures the gravity of the London anarchist movement and their fictitious plot to blow up Greenwich Observatory.  Mr. Verloc and his team of overweight, bumbling radicals spend a lot of time talking big about the evils of capitalism but prove disastrously incompetent when it comes time to plant the bomb.  Though the … Continue reading The Secret Agent, by Joseph Conrad (1907) »

Every Job I’ve Ever Had Part II

This week I’m continuing my list of every job I’ve ever worked with my first four years after college.  If you missed the high school and undergrad years, check out Part I here.   Lake Protection Internship Pay: $11/hour This was the first post-college job I applied for while still a senior, the first one I interviewed for, and the first one I got—fortunate for … Continue reading Every Job I’ve Ever Had Part II »