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I am taking an extended break.
There are a number of reasons why I have made this decision. Perhaps most importantly, I have just had the most difficult six months I can remember, personally. During the semester, I rarely travel so I can stay focused on classes and not risk missing a class (it’s just too disruptive, at least for me). But last fall I had two Covid-delayed memorials I had to attend (one in Spokane the other in Santa Fe) and in between those two my step-mother died, and I traveled to Washington, D.C. for her memorial.
At the end of that, our daughter had a medical issue that - after many consultations with doctors - culminated in major surgery two days before Christmas. (She is going to be fine). While all of this is going on through the fall, my mother-in-law had been failing, was moved to a memory care facility, and then another one, and then Hospice, and then she died last Monday at the age of 90. The matriarch of a large family leaves an immense hole.
Further, as I have mentioned, over the last several years I have been working on a new book, which went to the publisher in mid-September, and throughout the fall - in between everything else - I was putting time into edits and galleys and cover design, etc. for the book. That book published this week, and is now available in print and ebook format. (See below).
It helped, immensely, for me to have this newsletter going while I was getting the book over the finish line, in two significant ways. First, I have developed a deep respect for the exercise of writing a column every week and for those who do it for years on end (including some newsletters I subscribe to - shoutout to Joel Neff here). For me, it helped to keep that channel open between the brain and the fingers, by forcing me to so on a regular schedule. Particularly while I most needed it: while finishing up the book project. Second, I did not really set out to do this, but this newsletter helped me work out and mature some of my thinking on technology in teaching, some of which ended up in the book. Examples of this are the following newsletters: Not all Content Fits in all Containers, The Future is Hybrid, and the impact of Social Media on our Students.
With the book finished, however - and no current plan to do that again any time soon - both of those reasons have been removed. Indeed, this book feels very much like my last word on the subject. I have put everything I know and believe into it. The well is empty right now, and while I know it will refill, it has not done so yet. You - my faithful and kind readers - have been generous with your time in reading my musings about teaching, but I am well aware that I have no monopoly on good ideas around the art we share. I openly invite the readership to send me columns you would like to see here. I will gladly publish them.
So I have decided to take a time out. I am not shutting down the newsletter, and the archive will remain right where it is. (I just renewed the domain name yesterday).
Thanks so much for being a faithful reader. One of the best things I discovered in starting this newsletter has been meeting and getting to know many of you, and having some of these musings start new and even more interesting conversations among us. I am deeply grateful.
Letters of Recommendation
I hope you will forgive me this, but my recommendation this week is my new book just out from Carolina Academic Press: The Way Forward for Legal Education. I have written about it so much here, it seems right to give you a link for more information and an excerpt should it interest. I have tried to make this newsletter more generally applicable than the area in which I teach, and this book focuses very much on that area, so it may be of limited interest to many of you. But - as noted above - it did in some ways come from here, so it seems right to end with it here.
Q of the Week
The Q of the Week this week is a Quote from the singer-songwriter Zac Brown:
I long for the time before I knew that the world was unkind.