• Creative Works

    Into Dungeons Deep and Caverns Old

    Once in a while, I hear from somebody who has never read The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings. Maybe they saw the films and that was enough for them, or they couldn’t stomach the prose. This is indeed a sad thing. Looking back, I was at the time just a hobbit myself. My mother persuaded me to read The Hobbit when I was in the 6th or 7th grade (c. 1988). Having moved frequently, school to school, state to state, all I wanted to do was just hibernate in my bedroom. Every day of school was a day in Goblin Town. See David Foster Wallace’s “The Soul is…

  • Teaching

    Back to School: Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, Boom!

    They were a tough crowd. I introduced my first two literature classes to my concept of learning as a journey. At first their faces were impenetrable masks. Then I told them, “Even in America we know about Chair Mao’s famous Long March, and the founding of the People’s Republic of China.” Their faces lit up with pride. That’s when I knew my students understood me. “So this is an honor for me to be here on the China’s 60th anniversary, and be your guide on another journey. And it is an honor to be part of your education in the beginning of the Chinese Century. Of course, this journey will…