When I teach the hermit crab essay class, we begin by brainstorming the many different forms that exist for us to plunder for our own purposes.Once we have such a list scribbled on the board, I ask the students to choose one form at random and see what kind of content that form suggests.
But of course you couldn’t say that to the Dean, as he swiveled in his chair, so official in his gray suit.
He clasped his hands on the oak desk and waited for you to explain yourself.
Freelance writing, editing, proofreading, for various print and on-line publications, including Persea, New Directions press, and editing pharmaceutical copy mostly through the agency Lyons, Lavey, Nichol, Swift in NYC.
2001-present Research assistance and website maintenance using Dreamweaver software, design and content management for new site using Word Press for writer Ved Mehta Hall Farm Center for Arts and Education: non-profit development and grant writing, planning, organizing and hosting the annual Brattleboro Literary Festival, Member of Hall Farm’s Board of Directors and programming committee, which oversaw the artists’ residency program, a cultural exchange and photography program for high school students, and arts integration programs in New York City’s School of the Future.
We regret to inform you that it will take quite a while before you grow up, and it will take some cataclysmic events of your own before you really begin to find the role that suits you.
In any case, we wish you the best in all your future educational endeavors.After all, who knew that the semester you decided to come to UC Berkeley would be so tumultuous: that unsavory business with Jim Jones and his bay area followers, the mass suicide, an event that left us all reeling. It truly did feel like the world was falling apart, we know that.After all, who among us has not mistakenly followed the wrong person, come close to swallowing poison? We understand how you took refuge in the music of the Grateful Dead, dancing until you felt yourself leave your body behind, caught up in their brand of enlightenment. And given that you were a drama major, struggling on a campus well known for histrionics and unrest: well, it’s only understandable that you’d need some time to “find yourself.” You’re really too young to be in such a city on your own.Hermit crab essays adopt already existing forms as the container for the writing at hand, such as the essay in the form of a “to-do” list, or a field guide, or a recipe.Hermit crabs are creatures born without their own shells to protect them; they need to find empty shells to inhabit (or sometimes not so empty; in the years since I’ve begun using the hermit crab as my metaphor, I’ve learned that they can be quite vicious, evicting the shell’s rightful inhabitant by force).We regret to inform you that you have not been chosen for one of the coveted positions, but we do invite you to continue hanging around the lockers, acting as if you belong there.This selfless act serves the team members as they practice the art of ignoring lovesick girls. S: Though your brother is one of the star players, we could not take this familial relationship into account. Please do try out for one of the rebound girlfriend positions in the future.His office looked out on the quad where you’d heard the Talking Heads playing just a week earlier.And just beyond that, the dorm where the gentleman you know as “pink cloud” provided you with LSD in order to experience more fully the secrets the Dead whispered in your ear.And my eye landed on “rejection notes.” So that is where I began: April 12, 1970 Dear Young Artist: Thank you for your attempt to draw a tree.We appreciate your efforts, especially the way you sat patiently on the sidewalk, gazing at that tree for an hour before setting pen to paper, the many quick strokes of charcoal executed with enthusiasm. In fact, the smudges look like nothing at all, and your own pleasure and pride in said drawing are not enough to redeem it.