Elliot's Essays

Perish The Thought

I vividly remember when I was a lad of twenty-six (well, an old “lad”) and had just accepted an offer for my first academic tenure-track position as an Assistant Professor of English at North Carolina State University in 1975. I was told by the department chairman that my teaching and service to the department would be very important in my professional development.  But he also told me that I would soon need to have in place a contract signed by a publisher for an academic book which I would be required to write if I wanted to be assured of...

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E.E. Mail

There’s so much I like about email: first is the fact that its name derives from both my first and last initials. I’ve been sending E.E. mails since I licked my first stamp and envelope on a note that I arduously composed as a kid to my grandma and grandpa to thank them for my birthday gifts. And I can see that younger self right now using my tongue as much in the labored writing of the thank-you note as in the gluey fun of licking the stamp. Email is also, of course, the wondrous vehicle for Darian to deliver...

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My Biweekly Fix

I was starting this essay by writing about how much I have enjoyed sharing myself with you biweekly, and I suddenly realized that I wasn’t sure if “biweekly” meant twice a week or once every other week. I googled. Well, I’ll be darned — it actually means BOTH! Isn’t our mother tongue just incredible in her inconsistencies? And what I need to share of myself in this particular essay is my new role of Caregiver. As I typed “Caregiver,” I couldn’t help thinking that we are care-givers to people, but we are care-takers for animals and even for cottages. Isn’t our...

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Ya Tood

Spoiler Alert: this is another essay inspired by a childhood memory! I admit that I used that rare exclamation mark to whip up excitement, just in case you’re a reluctant memory-lane stroller. I have a friend who commented that, based on my writings, I must remember 100% of what happened to me during my early childhood. I didn’t have the heart to tell her: “That isn’t even the half of it, dear. I also vividly recall at least 50% of what never happened.” My current fond memory is one that most of you probably share: riding solo on a carousel....

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The April A-Listers

Birthdays are on my mind since April is my birth month: April 8,1948, to be exact. When asked my birthdate now for ID purposes, I have always enjoyed responding with the jauntily repetitive “4-8-48.” I do admit, however, now that I’m 74, however, I probably wish I could honestly respond with the less memorable “4-8-88.” Ah, to be 34 again.  I don’t know if you’re still subscribing to your local morning newspaper, but ours here in Raleigh, North Carolina, has a daily feature that lists, in addition to the important historical events which occurred on today’s date, a list of...

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