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Mother. New Yorker. Reluctant academic. Lover of words, flowers, buildings, art. Teacher. Writer. Intersectional Feminist. Lesbian.

What Do Grades Mean (at two different universities)?

Teaching at two very different universities, (one private, one public) for the past twenty years, has been one of the biggest joys and greatest challenges of my life. It’s also almost impossible to not compare the two places. Though there are many similarities among the students I teach, the disparities are stark. There is so much I could write about that, and one day I will. But right now I want to talk specifically about students’ concepts of grades.

Exceptions to every rule and all that, yes, but generally my students at…


My three sons and partner at one of the many marches we’ve attended.

Stories and Power

One night last fall my partner and I packed up our three young sons, ages 12, 10, and 8 and drove from Brooklyn, NY to Washington D.C. in the middle of the night.

Like many people in the U.S. last October, we had decided that it was crucial to go to the capitol to show our support for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford who would be testifying before congress the next day — to show our support for all survivors of sexual assault. We had decided that it was necessary to get our bodies there, to protest, and…


My three sons and partner at one of the many marches we’ve attended with them.

Stories and Power

One night last fall my partner and I packed up our three young sons, ages 12, 10, and 8 and drove from Brooklyn, NY to Washington D.C. in the middle of the night.

Like many people in the U.S. last October, we had decided that it was crucial to go to the capitol to show our support for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford who would be testifying before congress the next day — to show our support for all survivors of sexual assault. We had decided that it was necessary to get our bodies there, to protest, and…


Top Photo: Me, my siblings, our Dad, and our minivan — taken right before one of the few family vacations we went on. Bottom photo: my siblings and our very tired mother, in the background, the pool my parents had put in the backyard, a symbol of their very middle class aspirations.

Late at night as I sweep the kitchen floor, long after the children have gone to bed, I hear my mother’s voice echoing from a place some thirty years ago:

“You guys are a lot of work. You know that?”

I didn’t know that. I had no understanding of what she meant until I suddenly had three kids of my own.

“Suddenly” is not an exaggeration. I went from having one to three over night when I became a step parent. Having one child was hard — is hard. And I’m not interested in playing the game of who has…


To all my compassionate friends and family, I am here to tell you that it does not matter how many pics you post about children being ripped from their families at the border or how many articles you link to from legitimate news sources. The people on the right — many of whom call themselves (conservative) Christians — will never believe the truth. They will not be moved to action. They will cling stubbornly to their deeply ingrained belief in the U.S. government as the good guys of the world — as the military and law enforcement as “protecting Americans,”…


As a chubby, middle-aged, feminist lesbian who has had a mad crush (OK, fine obsession) with Julianna Margulies for many years, I watched the new AMC show Dietland with excitement and cautious optimism. Margulies has, over the years, chosen great projects with strong female leads and feminist perspectives. And when I learned that Marti Noxon, one of my favorite writer/producers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, one of my favorite TV shows of all time, was the creator and producer of Dietland, I figured it stood a good chance of being something I would like.

But this is Hollywood after all…


Our Lesbian Selves

So yesterday was Lesbian Visibility Day and I was too much in a state of euphoria over Janelle Monáe’s coming out as a pansexual, “free-ass mother fucker” in Rolling Stone to post something of my own. But besides reading about Monáe yesterday, I also read this piece that afterellen.com picked up from the wordpress site Lesbians Over Everything. This essay, “Why I’m a Lesbian (and not Queer),” by Bit Blair and Ashley Obinwanne, has given me much to think about. It resonated. …


The sign in the front yard of my friend’s house where we stayed in New Hampshire

Last weekend I left New York City with my blended family of five, consisting of my partner, my son and my two stepsons. Our family: we are two cis-gendered women, lesbians raising three boys, two of whom are Afro-Latino-American, one of whom is transgendered. My biological son and I are white, Americans by birth. My partner is Latina, an immigrant and a newly minted U.S. citizen. We celebrate our differences and our identities. We recognize our privileges and our vulnerabilities. We see the ways that what oppresses us also makes us stronger, smarter, more compassionate; every day we walk through…


January 6, 2018

Dear Academic Hiring Committee,

I cannot believe I am still spending time applying for full-time positions. How many has it been now? I’ve lost track. I recall that a few years ago I was overjoyed when I did manage to snag a full time teaching job. Unfortunately, I was let go when that university nearly went bankrupt a year later and did not renew contracts for any of the new full time hires. Beyond disappointing! The year after that, I had two interviews for full time teaching positions, but nothing materialized. Since then, I’ve been lucky if…


Sisters

For her 40th birthday this month, my sister asked her friends and family to tell her what brings them joy. She’s had a hard couple of years and was thinking about how joy can be present even in the midst of suffering and pain, even in the midst of what’s hard. She asked for everyone to record a short, 30 second video and send it to her, explaining what gives them joy. She’s posting these to her FB page with the hashtag #joyanyway. THIRTY SECONDS? Ugh! Unfortunately, brevity is not my gift. And writing my thoughts down is much easier…

Erin Heiser

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