Pandemic & Post-Pandemic Slow Travel.

Poppy. By Rose Ernst

When I first started housesitting in September 2019, I thought it would be a short-term way to travel, write, save money, and enjoy cats.

Little did I know it was going to become my way of life — at least for now!

After a few housesits and a trip to the Azores, followed by lockdown in Portugal, we realized we could continue traveling indefinitely. As a language professor, my partner’s classes had shifted online, and we did not want to fly back to the United States for a variety of reasons, including making the journey during the first Covid wave.

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“Every day, some act of kindness comes my way, even if it’s just someone opening the door. It happens every day if you keep an eye out for it. Keeping an eye out, that’s the key.”— Aaron Neville

No matter what your household situation is during COVID, you might struggle with creating a sense of transition between routine activities like your writing time, homeschooling activities, answering email, meetings, playing with your cat, or watching another screen for yet another digital activity!

Here’s a simple trick to create transitions, and one that you’ve already been using your entire life without knowing…

For my professor friends.

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Here’s the loving nudge you might need today.

Just send it.

Stop checking the references.

The journal proofreader will take care of that.

Stop reworking the first or last paragraph.

The reviewers may tell you to change it. Don’t edit the life out of it.

Stop wondering who is going to read it. Or if it’s the right journal.

As we can see from world events, a green-eyed monster or a sweet unicorn could read it tomorrow. You cannot control that outcome.

Stop thinking it’s your last chance to change your ideas.

It’s not. There are plenty of opportunities to…

3 steps toward a reality check.

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“Just because you’re better at doing something doesn’t mean you doing it is the most productive use of your time.”―Tiffany Dufu, Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less

The ongoing atrocities of the past week, this time in Kenosha, have had me thinking about faculty health, and mental health in particular. Yes, student health is a precious and urgent need, but who will care for the faculty?

All too often, this issue falls on the shoulders of professors themselves. …

Our research is relevant. Please share it with the world.

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I’ve been writing on Medium for over a year now, and I wish more academics would use it to:

(1) express themselves,

(2) to share their research and theorizing, and

(3) as a method to keep writing, even when it seems impossible during such stressful times.

Here are the benefits:

1. Rapid production and feedback (write it and hit publish!).

2. Reach an audience who will benefit from your analysis, experience, and research.

3. Easy sharing between multiple platforms, such as LinkedIn and FB.

4. You retain publishing rights (so it’s more like a blog) and can republish elsewhere.

5. It’s a great place…

White women’s violence is a time-honored American tradition. But it doesn’t have to be.

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“Mistress Epps was not naturally such an evil woman, after all. She was possessed of the devil, jealousy, it is true, but aside from that, there was much in her character to admire.”

“[I]f she was not watchful when about her cabin, or when walking in the yard, a billet of wood, or a broken bottle perhaps, hurled from her mistress [Epps]’ hand, would smite her unexpectedly in the face.” — Narrative of Solomon Northup, a Citizen of New-York, Kidnapped in Washington City in 1841, and Rescued in 1853

Amy Cooper. (2020)

Parking Lot Karen. (2020)

BBQ Becky. (2019)


We long for everyday magic. Stop pathologizing your creativity.

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Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose. It is a seeking that he who wishes may know the cosmic secrets of the world and they that dwell therein. — Zora Neal Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road

“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” — Albert Einstein

This story is for a good friend. A good friend whose superpower is her attraction to shiny objects — so-called “shiny object syndrome.”

I also succumb to shiny object syndrome. Especially when writing on Medium. Should I write about writing? COVID-19? Productivity? …

Cat diagrams to the rescue

Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

Have you ever been baffled by these levitating lines when writing?

Hyphen: -

En Dash:

Em Dash:

Sigh. Hyphens, en dashes, and em dashes are often most problematic when they’re missing.

American (U.S.) English differences with other forms of English make matters worse. We’ll focus on American English for this explanation.


Hyphens are probably the most commonly used of the three levitating lines:

Here’s what the Chicago Manual of Style Online has to say about hyphens: “The hyphen connects two things that are intimately related, usually words that function together as a single concept or work together as…

When you cannot focus because of the pandemic or life in general

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“We can’t control our circumstances. But we can control our thoughts. We
can control our feelings, our actions, and our results, and what we decide
to do with all of them.” — Brooke Castillo

Even in the best of times, writing can be a rollercoaster of joy, guilt, and anxiety.

When the world comes crashing down around you, it’s hard to focus.

So how do you keep writing?

Focus on what you can control.

Easier said than done, right? I agree. However, one key to writing momentum that applies regardless of a global pandemic is to move forward, even…

Diagrams to the rescue

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We’ve seen it in the grocery store: “10 items or less.”

Unfortunately, this infamous sign has led us all astray in confusing the meaning of “fewer” and “less.” Shall we rectify this situation?

According to Cambridge Dictionary, “the quantifiers less and fewer . . . talk about quantities, amounts and degree. Less and fewer are comparative words. Less is the comparative form of little. Fewer is the comparative form of few.” The basic rule is that few is used with countable items, while less is used with uncountable items.


Here are two examples of few:

Rose Ernst

Academic editor and writing consultant. Former tenured professor and chair of political science. Happy fiction author. Find her at

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