The decision to stop publishing six Dr. Seuss titles was purely business.

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Image: Thing 1 and Thing 2, characters from Dr. Seuss’s “The Cat in the Hat,” portrayed in a mural. Credit: Scott Webb, Unsplash

On March 2, Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced that it intended to cease publication of six Seuss titles, ranging from the career-launching And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street to titles that I, despite being a member of the Dr. Seuss book club as a toddler, had never heard of, like McElligot’s Pool.

“These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” the organization said in its statement. That one sentence started a revolution.

By the time I wandered in, one position had clearly been staked out: Dr. …


“Workaholic” was once a source of pride for me. Then it nearly killed me.

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Image: To the left, a laptop computer with the words “Work hard anywhere” on the screen. To the right, a computer mouse, smartphone, book, and houseplant. Credit: Kevin Bhagat, Unsplash

My name is Dani Alexis, and I’m a workaholic.

Were I confessing to a drug or alcohol addiction, this admission would elicit concern. It might even be mildly shocking. Certainly it would be seen as a problem to be corrected, and I would be praised for my efforts to break free of my unhealthy relationship with my drug of choice.

Because my drug of choice is work, however, I usually get the opposite reaction. I’ve been praised for my “work ethic.” I’ve heard people express envy: “I wish I was as committed to my work as you are!” I’ve been…


Here are the ten steps I follow for creative work, from idea generation to final product.

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Image: A pair of hands covered in paint. Amauri Mejía at Unsplash.

My entire career is creative. I write marketing copy for a living. I write novels for amusement and the occasional spare dollar. I write colorguard and winterguard choreography and consult on marching band show design.

Consequently, I’m often asked: What is your creative process?

And How do you generate ideas?

And How do you discipline yourself to write?

And How do you turn an idea into an entire article/novel/show?

For many years, I struggled to answer this question. A process? Process is for plebians! …


Workers automate their jobs, then agonize over whether to tell their employers. And for good reason.

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A man wearing headphones sits in front of a laptop computer. Image Credit: Austin Distel, Unsplash

I haven’t always made my money via freelance writing. I’ve also been conventionally employed in various jobs: medical records clerk, camp counselor, editor, lawyer, adjunct.

Despite its challenges, I find I prefer freelancing to conventional employment. The headaches of filing my own business taxes or worrying about cash flow bother me less than the fact that conventional employment gives me no control over where I spend my time.

In fact, presence — not performance — seems to be the thing most employers are paying for.

40 Hours of What?

At least, this is the impression I get from the job suggestions that land in…


Students can’t learn, online or in person, if they’re hungry or homeless. Too many of our students are both.

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Image: Two students work on a writing assignment. Santi Vedri, Unsplash

I coach at a Title I high school. According to the most recent statistics I can find on our district (not linked here to preserve some anonymity for my students), 72.2 percent of our students qualify for free or reduced lunch. Close to one-third are technically homeless, having no fixed address. Many of our kids don’t know where they’re going to sleep tonight, nor where they’ll get their next meal.

Unsurprisingly, COVID-19 has hit our district hard. It’s hit poor families and districts across the nation the hardest.

When our school board voted to conduct the school year virtual-only, the…


As my family knows, I love Turkish Delight.

I’m the only person in the family who does like Turkish Deligh, however. This Christmas, I ordered myself a box of Turkish Delight, figuring that since no one else likes it, no one else would order it. But, like every other decision I’ve tried to make in 2020 based on past information, “buying my own Turkish Delight” ended up being the wrong choice.

I woke up on Christmas morning to catch my husband putting the finishing touches on a batch of homemade Turkish Delight. …


Can I rant about the thesaurus? I’m ranting about the thesaurus.

I was taught, way back in elementary school, the same thing millions of other kids were taught: The thesaurus is a big book of synonyms and antonyms. If you want a word that’s like (or opposite) a word you know, you go look up the word you know and use one of the big, fancy words in the thesaurus instead.

Everyone who ever told you this probably had your best interests as a young writer at heart. …


I enjoy audition season. The season is full of promise, the weather is (usually) beautiful, and I get to introduce people to one of my abiding passions: Throwing things in the air and catching them while also dancing.

I believe everyone should try color guard at least once. I also understand that color guard is not everyone’s cup of tea. That’s what auditions are for.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking about trying out for color guard or winterguard. Maybe you already signed up for auditions and are wondering what you’ve gotten yourself into.

First, breathe. Auditions can be…


The CDC guidelines for reopening schools are, as the kids say, Problematic.

The guidelines themselves are pretty reasonable. They’re about what you would expect from epidemiologists who spend their lives in offices or labs. They read like the work of people whose life pursuit is understanding how diseases spread in the population and providing guidance to the average citizen as to how to reduce their personal risk.

They are also obviously written by people with no grounding in the realities of running a US public school.

The recommendations themselves are not terrible. Trying to implement them within the context of…

Dani Alexis Ryskamp

As seen in The Atlantic that one time. Freelance writer, sci-fi author, pageantry arts nerd. Tweets @danialexis. See also http://danialexis.net

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