:: This month’s roundup of writing I’ve published around the internet. 

This post introduces a new monthly series of posts on my blog: the roundup of writing I’ve published around the internet during the previous month. Not included here are posts published to my blog on this website. You can view all of my publications, including those listed here, on my Writing page.

Some months, the Writing Roundup will contain more pieces. Some, like this month, will contain fewer. The excuse for this month’s pitiful showing is #NCSnow—no school happened for two straight weeks. I couldn’t even locate my laptop, let alone use it.

Here we go.

On February 5, I published the second installment of my Freelance Academic series at the Chronicle of Higher Education Vitae, “The University is Just Another Client.” In it, I advocated for something both small and incredibly large at the same time: a change in mindset.

NTTs are the freelancers of academia, and we need to start acting like it. Look at it this way: Your university has basically already said that you are a freelancer. You are already working job to job. That’s what a year-to-year contract means. … But if that is the case, then your institution will just be one of your many clients. Freelancers don’t make a living hoping one client will keep hiring them over and over. They hustle and find other clients, too. We NTTs need to do the same.

The conversation, as usual, moved to Twitter, where lots of post-academic coaches and others had so much great advice to share. It’s worth finding that conversation and listening to what they have to say.

On February 22, I published another review for Underground Book Reviews, a great site that reviews books solely by independent (“indie”) authors and indie publishing collectives. I reviewed the Oracle of Philadelphia by Elizabeth Corrigan. I love love love urban fantasy novels, so if you are an indie author of urban fantasy, let me know, and I’ll add you to my review list.

On February 24, I published “Letter From the Weird Mom at Kindergarten Orientation” in the Huffington Post. This piece, addressed to an amalgamation of other moms, was about how being weird and awkward on the first day of school just doesn’t go away once you grow up, even when it is your kid starting school, not you.

But you still didn’t smile at me. I turned red and looked at my feet, feeling like I was in the sixth grade again. Not fitting in, in the worst way. I know that sometimes talking to me seems like being inside a Surrealist painting. I’m just so weird. You’d think I’d be used to people’s reactions by now.

But we don’t get used to these reactions, do we—they hurt forever, even if the hurt is only a little bit. On a Facebook discussion, some folks defended “me” by saying that the other moms in the tale just sounded “mean.” But I don’t think it’s that simple. I wrote:

I think people have certain expectations of how other people should act, and when you don’t act in those ways, you basically disrupt their whole reality. That might make you seem weird and them seem mean. But really it’s about loosening up our expectations. Being open to new things, people who act in unexpected ways.

What I was getting at is this: everyone (including weird me) has expectations of how others should act, and when others don’t meet those expectations, I/we might not treat those people how they deserve to be treated as fellow human beings. That is, indeed, we treat them meanly.

We are all bumping up against each other, disrupting each other. So to be more forgiving with our expectations seems to me, at this moment, the only way to see the weird as wonderful.