header photo

The Journal of Multimodal Rhetorics

ISSN: 2472-7318

Still Kicking

Kasen Christensen

Table of Contents

Keywords: writing, teaching, childcare

Categories: Parenting as (Im)possibility in Impossible Circumstances; Revisionings of Teaching, Facilitation, and Professional Leadership; Somewhere in Between: Grad Student Perspectives


I was sitting outside while the dog was running around the yard and my 18-month-old was rolling in the dirt thinking about how to answer this CFP. I caught the line from the ether so I decided maybe I should go in and get writing. Writing, in Covid times as in all times, is done in the margins. Between making dinner and going to classes or meetings. In the odd moments late at night when I finally have a minute of quite (if I can stay awake; it gets harder as I get older). But finishing a master’s degree, starting a PhD program, and moving across the country with two boys, a dog, and a new baby in the middle of a pandemic has added several new layers of difficulty to an already hit or miss enterprise. Last year (sometime, I think the fall?) I decided to create a podcast to answer a class assignment. It was also directed at my students, so double whammy! I sat at my computer late at night, playing around on garage band creating a theme song with prerecorded loops. My wife asked if I really needed to do that. No, obviously not! It wasn’t necessary or, really, particularly good or helpful. But I did it. And I added it to the podcast. And I can’t explain why. Composition through a Feminist Lens says “There is waste in what we say. We need that waste.”

Now I have to cut off writing. I have to go teach some freshman composition and my baby is pulling at the computer screen anyway. Maybe I’ll add some more 

later. There were an awful lot of things I wanted to include in this: the bad days that turned good when I skipped class to take my kids to the beach, the flashes of real productivity. Moving from the West to the South has been quite an adventure and we’re deeply homesick, but I genuinely like my program and the work I get to do here. I wanted to add all of this with specific examples, but I waited until summer to start writing, and then summer gave way to fall semester. And then they extended the submission deadline. And then I almost missed it. But I made it. Like Uncle Mike used to say: we might get there late and broke, but we’ll get there.

Speaking of sage wisdom, my dad always said the way he got through law school with two kids was to pick the grade he wanted and find out exactly how much work he needed to do to get that grade and that’s it. It’s the best advice on parenting in school I have ever or will ever get. Not that you can’t do your best. You can and should. But it’s a wise person who figures out what is their best and stops there. I’m still kicking. 



Kasen is a third year PhD student. His research interests include writing pedagogy, crafting rhetorics, and tabletop roleplaying games as technical communication.​ He is originally from Caldwell, Idaho, and misses the mountains terribly. He enjoys hiking, fishing, and crafting. He and his wife, Jenn, have three children: 2, 7, & 9.

Table of Contents