Alison Clement

observations from a novelist who sometimes wants to say something small and see it published immediately


this is not the year

This is not the year I get my garden in shape. I am not starting a new blog about the Weston Price diet. I am not joining the board of the group that works to help people in Gaza, even though it makes me feel terrible to say no. I cannot read the books chosen by my book group anymore. I can’t help with the Obama campaign. I can’t make […]

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not irreplaceable

12 June 2009 Yesterday was my last day of work at my school, after 13 years, which was more odd than sad. I will miss sitting in my rocking chair reading Bark, George; How Squirrel Got his Stripes; Pete, Smartypants at School; The Lorax; The Viper; The Greatest Power; Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears. My hardest moment came when Robbie came to say goodbye. See you next year! he […]

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the day I fell in love and lost all hope of earning a living wage

I hardly knew Chuck when he came to the bar where I worked years ago and gave me a copy of Ivan Illich’s book, Deschooling Society. I read it and dropped out of college. Illich, in case you don’t know, argues that education isn’t really about learning but about maintaining class structure. More broadly, he argues against experts mediating and defining our experience. Chuck says that if he had his […]

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true for me, too

>Yolanda forgot to return her library books, so she couldn’t check out the one on polar bears. “I’m sorry,” I called after her.  Her friend, turned to me. “Don’t worry. In a minute she’ll start thinking of something else and then she’ll be happy again.”

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Pabla and the agate

Someone objected to my statement that I have been fired, when really I’m only being moved out of my school and into a different one. Okay, fine. I am overly dramatic. I am sad about leaving the school where I’ve worked for 13 years. Today ten year old Pabla gave me an agate and a note that said, Happy St. Patrick’s Day, and then she skipped away with her long […]

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>bourgeois rule about money

You’re not supposed to say how much money you make, but why not? The bosses don’t want us to know. The people with the big paychecks don’t want us to know. It is some kind of bourgeois rule. My new insurance premiums kicked in and my last paycheck was $527. For one month, 30 hours a week. Less than $5 an hour. I work in a school library, as an […]

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>Bill gives a speech at our school

Clinton was late. We stood waiting for him in the school gym for over two hours, and then he showed up and decided to give his speech outside instead. We had been in the front, adults and kids, hot and crowded, waiting all that time. The custodian had spent the day scrubbing the gym. It was decorated with signs the kids made and, of course, set up with a podium […]

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>buried treasure part worked

One of my library volunteers told me today that she read my blog about the library walls. Did I really write about such a stupid thing? I thought. I do have a rule, which I follow carefully: never blog when drinking. Should I also have a rule about blogging when I’m mad at my boss? I do like the part about buried treasure though.

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