The Gordian Review, an adjunct of the Texas Review Press, is now accepting poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction works by graduate students. This is another great opportunity to get your stuff out there. Deadline is November 30, 2015.
The late Francis F. Burch, S.J. was my friend, mentor, and invigorated in me a sense that even if everything has been done already, written already, it is my job to get out there and do it better—write it better. This was all during my undergrad at SJU. He wrote one of my letters of recommendation to the writing program after I met with him at end of 2011 or early 2012 for our last dinner together at the Jesuit Residence. He would tell me stories, and who knows if they were true, but we deal in fiction, and I feel I inherited from the man a tradition of storytelling.
My ever-patient thesis advisor Tom Coyne for not holding any punches in his insistence on rewriting and rewriting again, and his respect of writing as a craft—showing me how to couple impulse and craftsmanship.
Dr. Jo Alyson Parker for putting together probably the most interesting reading lists I’ve encountered. If you want to explore the dynamic forces behind narrative and the fictive dream, then she should be your go-to. Our exploration of temporal elements in her course inspired the structure of my thesis.
Dr. Jason Mezey and Joe Samuel Starnes for their kindness to me over the years.
Martin Amis’ Time’s Arrow and David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. I read both in Dr. Parker’s class: “Experiments in Narrative: Narrative and Time.” Amis’ novel turns chronology on its head, but at the same time, a simple narrative twist in temporality can turn good and evil on their heads as well. The book gave me chills. Mitchell’s novel stuck with me because—aside from being a pleasure to read—it created a world so vast in space and time, the likes of which I don’t think have been seen since Tolkien. It was inspiring.
I’d like to throw my hat in the adjunct professor ring. Once I complete my course work, I’m going to pursue freelance gigs in my free time.
Cancel your cable. Delete your Facebook account. Do the work. Do all of it. Then do it over. There is time enough, and if you want to write, you will make the time. Read as if your life depended on it—your life might not depend on it, but the quality of your writing does. Steal style, follow the steps of the greats, and then, when your legs are strong enough, take off on your own path. Listen to the men and women teaching the classes, because if you (or I) truly knew what we were doing, then we would do it at home and save a buck. It’s a favor to yourself to leave your ego at the door.
Thanks for contributing, Ryan!
What is your current writing project? (Or do you have a link to a recent publication you’d like to share with our grad students?)
I’m finishing two essay anthologies for Norton; they should be out in January: http://books.wwnorton.com/books/webad.aspx?id=4294990902 and http://books.wwnorton.com/books/webad.aspx?id=4294990755
I’m also editing a collection on Food, Feminism, and Rhetoric.
What are you reading, for work or pleasure?
I’ve been reading (or rereading) several food memoirs: Linda Furiya’s Bento Box in the Heartland, Diana Abu-Jaber’s The Language of Baklava, Kim Sunée’s Trail of Crumbs, Shoba Narayan’s Monsoon Diary, and others.
What are you listening to (music/podcast/radio program)?
Today, I’m listening to James Taylor’s latest release, Before This World. Although it’s new, it reminds me of his music from the 70s. Part of me will always be stuck in the 70s.
When you’re not on campus, where’s your happy place?
My happy place is wherever my dog is–usually at home in a room painted bright blue and decorated with children’s toys (many, yes, from the 70s).
Every year, we follow up with our Writing Studies graduates to find out how they are using their skills from our M.A. program to further their careers. Below you can read about some career options that our students have pursued, from editing to writing for businesses to teaching classes and writing grants. If you’re a current student, consider exploring a position in one of these areas.
Mondays 6:30-9:15 p.m.
ENG 679 Special Topics: Writers at Work (Area III: Professional Writing) Professor Tenaya Darlington
This course is designed to set your professional life as a writer in motion. Over the course of 15 weeks, you’ll meet a series of working writers from around Philadelphia who will visit our class. During these visits, you’ll have the opportunity to network with professional writers and learn about possible career paths, from public relations to publishing. Each writer’s visit will tie into a different writing assignment so that you can begin building a portfolio of professional work (likely assignments will include: a press release, a review, a book proposal, an edited manuscript, plus a professional resume and bio.) At the end, you’ll develop an online portfolio that you can use as a calling card.