Liquid Ink

The official website of Gint Aras


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College graduate who drives a taxi

This week, I got driven to work by a taxi driver who actually graduated from the college where I teach. He earned his liberal arts associates degree in 2003 and has been toiling through the remainder of a math and teaching degree ever since. I was so moved by his story that I profiled him in this week’s True Community, which I hope you’ll read and share.

taxi

 

Photo by Antony Mayfield.


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Teen pregnancy epidemic

Today’s True Community article deals with teen pregnancy, an issue that’s very important to me, and not merely as an educator. I’m using an extreme word, epidemic, in the title of this blog post perhaps unfairly; efforts to bring down the teen pregnancy rate have been working, and currently we’re at historic lows for all US ethnic and racial groups.

Still, in my environment I see it all the time, and it causes problems we’re all familiar with. I really think we need a shift in the consciousness surrounding our concept of sex education. We have to get over our puritanical point of view and give people information that can keep them from making poor decisions.

This week I profile a pair of students that I had some time ago. Their stories are sad but important. I hope you’ll check it out.

young-couple

 

Photo by Mike Baird


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Reading at Tuesday Funk (Chicago)

I’m very happy to announce that I’ll be reading at Tuesday Funk, one of the best reading series in Chicago.

Chicago-area fans should save the date. This May 6th, 7:30 PM, I’ll be reading a section of “A Safe Place,” the chapter from Finding the Moon in Sugar. I don’t know who’s joining me in the lineup, but the night is usually about a two-hour event and features 5-7 readers, each reading for about 10-15 minutes.

The May reading has yet to be announced officially on the Tuesday Funk blog, but you can check here for updates.

Hope to see you.

Self Portrait

Self Portrait


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On snot, a parenting episode

My children have recently figured out that snot makes for a funny topic and a fascinating substance. I’m surprised by how often they eat their own snot. I was not this kind of child—I’ll admit I have tasted snot in my adulthood out of something like childhood curiosity, but I have never actually swallowed it. In this way, my kids are completely different from me. They get in there and yum.

The other week, my son—he is two—started picking his nose on our public transit train. When he scored a winner, he tried to give the snot to a fellow passenger. The woman smiled at me, giggling a bit, but she told my son, “No, thank you.” My boy then wiped the snot on his jacket and smirked as if to say, “Your loss.”

My daughter—she’s five—thinks snot is really delicious. She refuses to share it. When I sit with her watching a film or listening to music, she’ll freely and openly dig in for some slime and eat it. When I tell her that snot plants trees in people’s stomachs, and that these trees grow out of the throat and ears, extending branches through the eyeballs, she’ll say, “I asked mom and she said this is just fantasy.”

 


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Independence is a myth (part 2, the expanded version)

I’ve written about this topic before, as long-time readers of my blog will know. This week’s True Community article deals with the myth of independence. Any basic look at human interaction makes it clear that we are interdependent, and that our fate and lot is determined not just by the actions of neighbors but by people who’ve long since died. Why does that offend us? Why are we so reluctant to think of ourselves as members of systems instead of islands.

I hope you enjoy tonight’s article.

Here’s another bit on the same topic from 2012, titled The Pre-Birth Menu.

Three Lamps

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Male teachers

This week’s True Community, my weekly column about men and education, deals with the kind of commentary male teachers might encounter regarding their profession. It’s titled 5 Annoying Things Male Teachers Hear.

If you’re wondering, two of them have to do with sex. Hope you’ll check it out.

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Living an examined life

This week’s installment of True Community tells the story of the moment when I faced my mortality. I was sixteen, and it happened while watching Dead Poets Society. The event inspired me to become a teacher (I already knew I wanted to be a writer).

I used to directly teach the concept of the examined life. But various pressures conspired to see me give up the topic. It also got too exhausting because students didn’t respond well to questions like “Who are you?”  and “Where does the world come from?”

These days, I try to teach the lesson through the back door.

Hope you’ll check it out.

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