Libby Gruner

Libby Gruner is an English professor at mid-career who started her family in graduate school. She lives in Richmond with her husband and two children, whose 7-year age gap means that she will be the parent of a teenager for quite a while yet.

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July 23, 2012
When I think of summer, I think of reading. Not of assigned "summer reading," though I'm sure I did my share of that, but of long, lazy days spent moving from one spot to another, nose in book, immersed.
July 16, 2012
Midsummer may have been last month by the calendar, but it’s July that feels like the middle of the summer. If I’m truly honest with myself, the middle of my summer passed a few weeks ago, but with six weeks (yikes! Only six?) until the start of classes, mid-July seems close enough. For six more weeks, my time is unscheduled, my routines refigured by heat, an office renovation, and—most importantly—a respite from classes and committee meetings. I’m gloriously unscheduled, free of routine … mostly.
July 9, 2012
I think I had an idea for a  blog post in mind this morning — I was going to write about my daughter’s upcoming travels, the semester-plus that she’s spent with us, and the bittersweet sense I have of sending her off (yet again!) into the world not fully prepared, but nonetheless ready.  But right around noon I learned of a sudden death — the mother of someone Nick has been in school with since kindergarten — and whatever idea I might have had was immediately gone. While this mother and I didn’t know each other well, we’d been in each other’s houses, years ago, when the kids were small and still had play dates and birthday parties. We’d seen each other at PTA events over the years. It was that kind of relationship.
July 2, 2012
Sometimes the best way to tell what’s occupying me is to see the open tabs in my browser. I just closed eight that had to do with the recent Atlantic piece by Anne-Marie Slaughter, “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All.” The responses I’ve been interested in focus mostly on what it might mean to “have it all” rather than taking up the well-trodden “mommy wars” positions that have become so predictable as to be boring. Perhaps the furthest from Slaughter’s original piece is Tim Kreider’s “The Busy Trap,” a lovely paean to what he calls laziness, but may simply be sustainable living.
June 18, 2012
Last week at this time I was about to leave for my annual conference, which is now over. As I mentioned, I brought my daughter with me, and I promised to report back on how attending a conference with her went. In a word: great.
June 11, 2012
It’s about to be conference time for me. Like Lee Bessette, who wrote last week about being among her people, I’m about to go join mine. The Children’s Literature Association, which meets annually in June, is my academic home, the group of colleagues that I don’t have here at my job. While folks at larger research universities may have colleagues in their field right on campus, those of us at smaller schools are often “the only one” in a field or subfield, so we are especially happy to gather with our peers at our once a year event.
June 4, 2012
When I saw Scott Jaschik’s piece today about unhappy associate professors, my first thought was, haven’t we already discussed this? Well, yes, we have! Apparently associate professors have been “standing still” for quite some time—at least since the MLA released its report on the rank in 2009, and probably longer.
May 21, 2012
As I suggested last week, the first couple of weeks of May were taken up with professional development of various sorts, necessitating large chunks of time out of the office and away from the computer. While that kind of change of pace is good, especially right at the end of the semester, it conflicts with the kind of change of pace I really want in May: the one where I get back to my research full time.
May 14, 2012
I took a few weeks off from blogging in order to participate in some end-of-semester faculty development, finish my grading, and otherwise wrap up the school year. So what did I miss? Naomi Schafer Riley blogged irresponsibly, sparked a call for a boycott, apologized weakly, and lost her blogging gig, all in the time I was away from the blogosphere.  (See the first paragraph of Liana Silva’s recent post for the details—and read the rest for her smart thoughts on why minority scholars’ voices need to be heard.) There was an election in France. Some more pseudo-mommy-wars seem to have flamed up. And Maurice Sendak died.
April 23, 2012
I know I’ve said in the past that I like April, despite all the things that go on during that month. And I still do. But what I like least about April is filling out the college financial aid forms that are always due some time this month. (Well, except for the first time, when they were due on the 1st of February, before I’d even finished doing the taxes.)

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