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Call Her Dr. Jill Biden

“For American educators, this is a great day for you all,” Joe Biden said during his victory speech on November 7th. “You’re going to have one of your own in the White House.”

Dr. Jill Biden is thought to be the first second lady to hold a paying job while her husband served as Vice President. Now Dr. Biden makes history by being the first to hold a day job while serving as first lady. Dr. B, as her students call her, will continue teaching English and writing at Northern Virginia Community College.

“If we get to the White House, I’m going to continue to teach. It’s important, and I want people to value teachers and know their contributions and lift up their profession,” Dr. Biden said on CBS Sunday Morning.

Ohio University professor and expert on first ladies Katherine Jellison said, “It would be a real modernizing of the first ladyship … to have the president’s spouse live the kind of life that the majority of women live, which is working outside the home professionally.”

Having her own life and work outside of her husband’s shadow makes a marked difference in Dr. Biden’s well-being and holds firm to the stance that her career does not negatively impact her ability to be a great political collaborator. As she told People in 2009, “I knew if I let any time-lapse, I would be sucked into Joe’s life. I can have my own job, my own life, but also work on issues. I can have it all, really.”

Dr. Biden graduated from the University of Delaware in 1975. After her graduation, she began work as an English teacher in local public schools and at a psychiatric hospital for adolescents. Dr. Biden went on to earn one master degree in reading from West Chester University in 1981, then a second master’s in English from Villanova University in 1987. Dr. Biden taught English and worked as a reading specialist in Delaware public schools, and later taught English Composition at Delaware Technical and Community College, a position she held for 15 years. She officially became Dr. Biden in 2007, when she earned a doctorate in education from the University of Delaware.

During 2011, Dr. Biden and first lady Michelle Obama launched Joining Forces, a national campaign to assist military spouses and veterans returning from service find career opportunities. Dr. Biden also wrote a children’s book for military families inspired by Dr. Biden’s granddaughter Natalie’s experience with her father, Beau, serving in Iraq titled Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops.

Beau, who passed away from brain cancer in 2015, is also honored through Joe Biden and Dr. Biden’s continued involvement in cancer research and care initiatives. Even before Beau’s diagnosis, Dr. Biden founded the Biden Breast Health Initiative in Delaware in 1993 to educate young women on the importance of early breast cancer detection. The Biden Cancer Initiative will continue its work during Biden’s presidency.

As a member of the National Education Association, Dr. Biden will act as an advocate for teacher unions. Additionally, Dr. Biden plans to continue to push for two years of tuition-free community college, tackle unequal access to resources among students, address food insecurity issues, support military families, and stand with those fighting cancer in the coming years.

You can follow Dr. Jill Biden on Twitter and Instagram @DrBiden and read Dr. Biden’s recent blog posts here. You can also check out Dr. Biden’s memoir Where the Light Enters: Building a Family, Discovering Myself in hardcover and paperback.

-Cassidy

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Remembering Alex Trebek

George Alexander Trebek
July 22, 1940–November 8, 2020

Legendary Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek passed away at the age of 80 on November 8th, 2020 after a long-fought battle with pancreatic cancer. Executive producer Mike Richards shared a warming tribute on the television show’s following episode, which you can view here.

“This is an enormous loss, for our staff, crew for his family, for his millions of fans,” said Richards. “[Trebek] taped his final episodes less than two weeks ago. He will forever be an inspiration for his constant desire to learn, his kindness and for his love of his family.”

Richards announced that the final 35 episodes of Jeopardy! will be aired as scheduled, as Trebek would have intended.

In the wake of Trebek’s passing, The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network has reported a 450% rise in the cancer nonprofit organization’s web traffic. Additionally, over $55,000 in donations have been contributed after November 8. You can contribute here and find other ways to give here.

Outpourings of support and comforting words followed the announcement of Trebek’s passing, and lighthearted moments were quick to be shared on social media platforms like Twitter.

Once such instance of this is a contestant speaking of her love of “nerdcore hip-hop,” to which Trebek replied, “Doesn’t sound like fun.” Susan defended the genre of music: “It’s people who identify as nerdy rapping about the things they love: video games, science fiction, having a hard time meeting romantic partners.” Immediately, Trebek jokingly replied, “Losers, in other words.”

One of the winningest contestants, James Holzhauer, shared he saw Trebek as “an impartial arbiter of truth and facts in a world that needed exactly that,” and called Trebek “an underrated rapper” with this video of Trebek reciting rhymes as proof.

Saturday Night Live also had a sketch, “Celebrity Jeopardy!” that starred Will Ferrell as Trebek, which can be watched here. Trebek himself made an appearance at the end of the skit, which also starred Sean Connery, who passed on October 31st, 2020.

Another Jeopardy! moment that went viral was champion Burt Thakur sharing with Trebek, “You know, here’s a true story, man. I grew up, I learned English because of you.” Follow this link to see the full interaction.

Shortly after the host announced Trebek would be resuming chemotherapy, a contestant wrote “We ❤ you, Alex!” as his final Jeopardy! answer. An emotional Trebek replied, “That’s very kind, thank you.”

Trebek himself wrote, “One thing they’re not going to say at my funeral as part of the eulogy is, ‘He was taken from us too soon… I’ve lived a good, full life, and I’m nearing the end of it. I know that.”

On the topic of his legacy, Trebek shared, “I’d like to be remembered first of all as a good and loving husband and father, and also as a decent man who did his best to help perform at their best. If that’s the way I’m remembered, I’m perfectly happy with that.”

-Cassidy

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In Remembrance of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
March 15, 1933–September 18, 2020

The late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an advocate for equality and a force to be reckoned with. It’s our time to take up the mantle and continue the fight.

Here are 10 iconic quotes to remember RBG by:

  1. “My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent.”
  2. “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”
  3. “Women will only have true equality when men share with them the responsibility of bringing up the next generation.”
  4. “Don’t be distracted by emotions like anger, envy, resentment. These just zap energy and waste time.”
  5. “I don’t say women’s rights—I say the constitutional principle of the equal citizenship stature of men and women.”
  6. “Feminism [is the] notion that we should each be free to develop our own talents and not be held back by man made barriers.”
  7. “If you have a caring life partner, you help the other person when that person needs it. I had a life partner who thought my work was as important as his, and I think that made all the difference for me.”
  8. “Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.”
  9. “People ask me sometimes… ‘When will there be enough women on the court?’ And my answer is: ‘When there are nine.’”

Lastly, RBG had this to say about her legacy:

  1. “To make life a little better for people less fortunate than you, that’s what I think a meaningful life is. One lives not just for oneself but for one’s community.”

We commemorate the late Supreme Court Justice and her 27-year tenure with words. However, we have a duty to go further. Now, it’s time to turn words into action.

Here are 5 unbiased and dependable resources to use and support:

-Cassidy

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The Women That Got Me Here: Why I Will Remember My Time at CambridgeEditors Forever

As my internship with CambridgeEditors comes to an end, I wanted to reflect on the women who inspired me to get here. In high school English classes, I was primarily introduced to white, male authors, who I enjoyed but had no connection to. As my career and passion for the literary world progresses, I feel it is only appropriate to discuss the female authors that made me want to keep going. 

It all started with Joyce Carol Oates and her hauntingly beautiful writing, particularly in her short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” and her novel We Were the Mulvaneys. With her portrayal of teenage culture in a young woman’s life and discussions of sexual harassment and assault, Oates helped me understand that my feelings are not only valid but important. An incredibly prolific author, Oates has written plays, poetry, short fiction, and fifty eight novels. She is in her early eighties, and as she continues to write, she continues to amaze me. 

Next came Zadie Smith. Her first novel, White Teeth, portrayed a Bangladeshi family and a biracial family living in London in the 70s. She discussed the Bangladeshi family’s strong ties to Islam, and by doing so she made me realize that my Palestinian heritage was something to be written about. After the booming success of White Teeth, Smith went on to write topical essays for the New Yorker, short fiction, and multiple novels. 

My love for Oates’s depiction of womanhood and Smith’s emphasis on the importance of heritage led me to perhaps my most favorite author of all time, Louise Erdrich. A Native American author, Erdrich’s novels typically take place on reservations; my favorite book by her, The Round House, is set on the Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota. The novel explores rape against Native women, coming of age stories, and the desire for justice in the Native American community. Erdrich has continued to write multiple novels and currently owns Birchbark Books, an independent bookstore in Minneapolis focusing on Native American Literature. 

I am deeply grateful for the women who inspired me to study literature, and I am equally grateful for the women I was privileged enough to work with this summer: my fellow intern, Amala, Founder of CambridgeEditors, Dr. Weiner, and CambridgeEditors’ Administrative and Editor Manager, Lexie. My summer of collaborating with three of the most intelligent and determined women I know will forever hold a place in my heart, and I will always look back on it fondly. As Joyce Carol Oates said in After the Wreck, I Picked Myself Up, Spread My Wings, and Flew Away, “See, people come into your life for a reason. They might not know it themselves, why. You might not know it. But there’s a reason. There has to be.” 

Kelsey Allen

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CambridgeEditors: A Home Unlike Any Other

When I first began at CambridgeEditors, otherwise known as CE, I was especially excited by the prospect of working with Lexie Axon and Dr. Harte Weiner. I was certain it would be an extraordinary experience; however, I was wrong — it surpassed all my expectations. 

My first day on the job had my stomach full of butterflies creating a storm. The very first assignment I had was to write a blog post which had me stumped for a while. I remember cross-checking with Lexie about the topic, and in a span of two hours, I had written two paragraphs. Each sentence underwent my backspace bar as I agonized over every single word. When I finally submitted it, I was happy with it but not completely satisfied, something all writers feel about their work.

However, as the frequency of the blog posts increased, I found myself eager to express myself, and soon, the keyboard couldn’t keep up with my thoughts. The feedback given by Lexie and Dr. Weiner was invaluable and they showed me how just one word can enhance an entire paragraph! Not only did my writing style improve considerably, but my experiences as a reader too, evolved. 

Each day was unique and challenging. I worked on social media posts and even tried my hand at marketing. As I could work at my own pace, I was able to explore my creativity and take the projects in the direction that felt best for the company. The Zoom meetings were tremendously fun, and we were always in danger of going overtime! We would go off-topic several times and end up talking about how the WiFi sucks or if we could tackle another project on our already overflowing plate.

For me, the only disappointment was that I never got a chance to visit the actual office space with that customary cup of coffee and being surrounded by the wonderful dogs. Nevertheless, Lexie and Dr. Weiner always made me feel like a part of CE even if we were miles apart! I still cannot fathom how three months just flew by. But I do know that I will carry with me every single moment spent here, albeit virtually!

At the end of each day, we would submit a running list of our tasks; and to conclude this, here’s my running list: 

Completed

  • 10 blog posts, around a dozen FB posts, and clean-up of the WordPress site
  • A lifelong connection with Dr. Weiner, Lexie, and Kelsey, my fellow intern!
  • An unforgettable experience at CE

To Do

  • Thank CE for making me feel at home, especially in these tough times
  • Say goodbye to the wonderful team (for now)!

Amala Reddie

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Hollihock Writers Conference 2016

This past weekend, CambridgeEditors had the pleasure of attending the second annual Hollihock Literary Conference  from August 26th-28th  in New Bedford, MA. This year’s theme was “What Scares You?” encouraging the artist in all of us to get out of our comfort zone and #WriteOn.

Our own Dr. Harte Weiner lead a poetry class on Friday night in which she read pieces from some of her favorite voices in poetry, including Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath, Sharon Olds and Henri Cole. Focusing on the school of Confessional Poetry using both free verse and formal poetic structures; themes hovered over mother and child relationships and other personal conversations from the heart. She was pleased to receive positive feedback from many of those in attendance.

On day two, interns Emily and Margeaux joined Dr. Weiner and fellow intern Silas to lead a discussion about editing strategies. The audience was given a chance to edit a sample short story taken anonymously from our archive. The interns then shared the edits they had made and discussed the key elements of professional editing. Dr. Weiner read a few pieces of her poetry, including a lovely piece dedicated to the interns!

 

Hollihock was a wonderful opportunity for us at CambridgeEditors to network with other members of the Massachusetts literary community. We were able to sit in on other events, including a class on journaling and strategies for daily writing, a conversation and Q+A with the Poet Laureate of Boston, and a lecture about authenticity in YA fiction. A great time was had by all.

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(See more photos on Hollihock’s Facebook and Instagram)

-Margeaux, Intern

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“Counterparts” — James Joyce

James Joyce, possibly the greatest writer who will ever live. Great choice biblioklept!!

Biblioklept

“Counterparts” by James Joyce

THE bell rang furiously and, when Miss Parker went to the tube, a furious voice called out in a piercing North of Ireland accent:

“Send Farrington here!”

Miss Parker returned to her machine, saying to a man who was writing at a desk:

“Mr. Alleyne wants you upstairs.”

The man muttered “Blast him!” under his breath and pushed back his chair to stand up. When he stood up he was tall and of great bulk. He had a hanging face, dark wine-coloured, with fair eyebrows and moustache: his eyes bulged forward slightly and the whites of them were dirty. He lifted up the counter and, passing by the clients, went out of the office with a heavy step.

He went heavily upstairs until he came to the second landing, where a door bore a brass plate with the inscription Mr. Alleyne. Here he halted, puffing with…

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Daniel, Silas and Laura at our booth at the MLA Convention!

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January 4, 2013 · 7:28 pm