Monthly Archives: July 2011

Second Nugget from Clockwork Muse- Priorities and Constraints

*Nugget 2*

In next chapter,  Eviatar (he could be a Tolkein Elf) discusses scheduling.  This is one of those topics that always seemed self-evident to me even as i struggle to do it. Kind of like pedagogy.  But with age comes humility and I have been more willing to work on the self-evident instead of assuming it is self-materializes due to its obviousness.

The schedule is a reflection of priorities overall, and Eviatar states that your writing priority has to “fit” with your other priorities.  He acknowledges there are external constraints.  But on p 17 he writes: “Nevertheless, we usually have much more control over our time than we are willing to admit to ourselves, and if you are seriously committed to giver your writing a high priority on your schedule you can normally manage to somehow find the time to write even under extremely difficult conditions…”

In general I agree with him.  However, more than creating a schedule, the challenge for me is managing the priorities.  This is a bit like the other topic on “how to say no.”  Is working with my daughter’s need for more exercise an external constraint or a priority?  Is choosing to have equitable gender roles with my working spouse a constraint or a priority?  Is feeling compelled to teach in a very labor intensive way a constraint or a priority?

Ultimately, those goals or aspirations which compete for high priority with writing are facets of my identity.  So, asking me to prioritize is also asking me to rearrange my internalized identity.

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Filed under Research, writing

The Clockwork Muse– Nuggets on Writing

So, I have several books on writing and academia I have been lugging around all week. Some I have scanned before, some not at all. Since I will never sit down and read a whole book on writing process- just seems too much like a luxury- but I also believe that they are likely to be helpful, I decided to just spend a few minutes each day scanning for nuggets. I would rather jot these down here since I like sharing and it feels less frivolous to read and write for an audience beyond just myself.

One of my best academic friends here, Roger, who is also my writing group partner, recommended The Clockwork Muse. It is by a sociologist, Eviatar Zerubavel. That name rocks.

The nugget today is the title which elegantly skewers the misguided notion that writing is a moment of feverish inspiration bestowed by a muse. Writing comes from self-discipline and habit, centered on the notion of time.

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Kill this Neologism Now- “Majority-Minority.”

Put this on FB this morning.

Heard news peeps, based on recent census, describing how the US will become a “majority-minority” nation by 2020 or so.  Can we kill that phrase now?  If no single group is more than 50%, it is called pluralism folks.  Or, multiculturalism.  Or anything but majority-minority.


Among various problems. it perpetuates some idea that white majority is the natural or desired state of the USA.  Look, when the “white” population falls below 50% it is just not the majority.  OK?  Deal with it.  The term sounds like whities get together at my house on Wednesday while the blacks, browns, yellows, reds, and all other hues get together at Denzel Washington’s.  It is just not that bipolar anymore.  I’m not saying some sort of utopia of “i’d like to sing the world a song” will happen, just that identity, justice, controversy, politics, love and marriage, and schooling will be full of problems and promises in new ways.

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Filed under Politics, Power, Activism, Research, sociology

Libertarian confusion about organizations and non-profits

A post at took me to this libertarian blog and site.

The author wondered why people would assume non-profits do more for a community than firms.

I forwarded this to some colleagues with similar interests and we may have run aground of some moderating policies as our comments do not seem to have been posted.  Hmmmmm.  I guess even free market of ideas people need some ground rules.

I’ll see if my comments go up later.

Basically, I pointed out that

1) The author seems to work for a non-profit.  So his stance of “who are those people” is ironic.

2) Non-profit versus profit is a meaningless distinction to make when discussin what they do or how they are perceived.

3) NPs that perform vital services are seen as more community-oriented because they ARE.  That does not mean that they are immune from critique.  Likewise, firms that push externalities onto communities or that use their political and economic power to suck up more value are seen as less community-minded because their actions ARE.

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Filed under blogging, economics, sociology, Uncategorized