Four Questions for Dr. Aisha D. Lockridge

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Dr. Aisha D. Lockridge

We have absolutely the best professors in the Writing Studies program!  Read on for Dr. Lockridge’s take on our four questions:

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?)

Much of what I write springs from common practices: teaching, participating in Black popular culture, and reading widely. Currently I am working on a manuscript chapter which examines the limits of racial passing set against the potential relief available in the vexed relationship between strategic essentialism and Afro-Pessimism in Matt Johnson’s Loving Day and will debut part of it at the 2016 College Language Association (CLA) Annual Conference. Initially inspired by Love and Hip Hop Atlanta, I am also completing a Revise and Resubmit article for Palimpsest on the performative possibilities of ignorance and ratchetedness as strategic tools for survival.  And finally, I am providing a link to an article, “Practice and Performance: Teaching Urban Literature at the Less than Liberal Arts,” published in Hybrid Pedagogy on my experience discovering the real value of, and methods for, teaching difficult texts in inhospitable environments for the good of students, teachers and institutions of higher learning: http://www.hybridpedagogy.com/journal/practice-performance-teaching-urban-literature-less-liberal-arts/

What are you reading, for work or pleasure?

I just finished Lev Grossman’s The Magicians and am making my way through Margo Jefferson’s Negroland, Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric, and a stack of undergraduate essays examining the gendered and technological connections between Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein and Alex Garland’s film, Ex-Machina.

What are you listening to (music/podcast/radio program)?

Last download: Erykah Badu’s But You Caint Use My Phone. In current heavy rotation: Adele’s 25, Sza’s Z, Alice Smith’s She, B.O.B’s Strange Clouds, Bryson Tiller’s Trapsoul. I regularly listen to, and liberally quote from, the weekly podcast “The Read”.

When you’re not on campus, where’s your happy place?

Today, it’s reading a good book, completely undisturbed, in bright, natural light.

Website: aishalockridge.com     Twitter: @AishaDamali_PhD

Thanks for participating, Dr. Lockridge! Think I’ll check out those books you mentioned.

 

Ryan Halligan’s Parting Words for Writing Studies

Ryan Halligan is our next volunteer for the Parting Words questionnaire.

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Ryan Halligan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have any parting words or shout-outs to share with current students and faculty?

Thanks to the director, faculty, and administrative staff of the Writing Studies program—all of them top notch. Thank you as well to my classmates who dedicated thoughtful responses during workshops and raised the bar by sharing their fantastic writing.

A special thank you to Father Brennan for his guidance and valuable input as my thesis advisor.

Which Writing Studies course or course reading was most interesting or useful to you? Why?

Creative Nonfiction with Dr. Spinner and Poetry with Professor Stanford. Both were workshops, and both invaluable. The genres share a real kinship: writing as a journey to discovery.

How do you plan to use your Master’s Degree in your career?  

I plan to teach as an adjunct for a part-time second job. Coursework like The Writing Teacher Writing with Dr. Green has motivated me to consider teaching again. Also, I’m going to keep up my practice of writing and submit, submit, submit.

Do you have any tips for future students about choosing classes, juggling the workload, or writing a thesis?

If you work full time, go easy on yourself and maybe take one or two classes at a time. Working inside of your available time and space allows for getting the most out of the course. The program’s catalogue offers a good range, so choose the classes that suit your needs/tastes/career goals. Don’t forget to try something                   new, as well.

Thanks for your input, Ryan, and congratulations!

Four Questions for Dr. Jo Alyson Parker

Dr. Parker was good enough to answer our four questions.  Check out her musical interests!

Dr. Parker in Cape Breton

Dr. Parker in
Cape Breton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 currently working on a paper for the International Society for the Study of Time conference at the University of Edinburgh. It’s tentatively titled “Eternal Recursion, the Emergence/y of Metaconsciousness,and the Imperative for Closure,”and it deals with a genre of modern fiction and film that my co-author and I are calling time-loop narratives (such as Kate Atkinson’s novel Life after Life or the film Edge of Tomorrow). My most recent publication is “From Time’s Boomerang to Pointillist Mosaic: Translating Cloud Atlas into Film.” A brief excerpt from it can be accessed at the following link:

https://muse.jhu.edu/login?auth=0&type=summary&url=/journals/substance/v044/44.1.parker.pdf

I’m also the Managing Editor for KronoScope: Journal for the Study of Time. We have an online subscription in our library, so you can check it out there.

What are you reading, for work or pleasure?

I just finished Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend, the first of her deservedly acclaimed Neapolitan novels, and Laura Lippman’s mystery Hush. I’ve begun reading Elvis Costello’s Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink.

What are you listening to (music/podcast/radio program)?

My Pandora stations are probably a good indicator of my, well, eclectic musical interests: Elvis Costello Radio, Bobby Short Radio, Stephen Sondheim Radio, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong Radio, Talking Heads Radio. And the Beatles, of course.

When you’re not on campus, where’s your happy place?

My happy place is the covered swing in my backyard on a not-too-hot day in summer. Sometimes I’m out there by myself with a book. Sometimes I’m with friends and family, ideally sipping Campari spritzes and nibbling on cherry peppers stuffed with prosciutto and cheese.

 

Thanks, Dr. Parker.  I plan to investigate those Pandora stations!

Parting Words by SJU Writer Don Philbrick

Don Philbrick (Nice beard)

Don Philbrick
(Nice beard)

Uglyville Cover

Don published Uglyville under the name Sawney Hatton.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have any parting words or shout-outs to share with current students and faculty?

I didn’t know what to expect from a graduate writing program—besides the degree—but I can honestly say all my classes were engaging, enlightening, and enjoyable. This can be attributed to the outstanding professors in the program. Every one of them deserves commendation of the highest order.

I would like to spotlight a couple of folks: Tenaya Darlington, Graduate Director of Writing Studies and a damn fine professor, for all her guidance throughout my time in the program; and Dr. Paul Patterson, my thesis advisor, who helped me polish my novella UGLYVILLE into the shiny opus it is today. Both deserve extra credit for putting up with my nonsense. (As do all of my professors, come to think of it.)

Which Writing Studies course or course reading was most interesting or useful to you? Why?

The most invaluable part of my classes was the feedback from my instructors and peers, a talented bunch who really contributed to improving and encouraging my work. I hope I was able to return the favor in equal measure.

How do you plan to use your Master’s Degree in your career?

In addition to earning a living wage writing and editing, I would also love to teach. Pursuing my Master’s Degree has already opened more doors for me in all these arenas.

Do you have any tips for future students about choosing classes, juggling the workload, or writing a thesis?

Choose the classes that interest you. Don’t procrastinate about getting assignments done. Write the best thesis you can. Eliminate anybody who gets in your way.

Any advice about writing in general?

Pay attention. Pay attention to everything you read, everything you watch on TV and at the movies. Pay attention when you are strolling down the street, driving in traffic, or eating at a restaurant. The world—all the people, places, and things you encounter—is your source of information and inspiration. Greedily accept everything it has to offer.

Write. Write fearlessly. Write powerfully. Write diligently. Write.

Be your own cheerleader and champion. Successful writers put themselves out there. After you have your work thoroughly critiqued and edited, submit it to literary magazines, query agents and producers, self publish (gasp!) it. Whatever you have to do to get people to read your writing, do it. Do not be afraid to promote yourself. Do not be afraid of rejection. There are many great writers out there who are floundering in obscurity, and many not-so-great writers who have become popular and prosperous. The difference between a successful writer and an unsuccessful one often lies in how they sell themselves. Shine your light as far as you can cast it.

Thanks, Don.  Congrats on getting Uglyville published!

 

Director Tenaya Darlington & the Four Questions

An Interview with Writing Studies Director Tenaya Darlington

Photo by: Jason Varney

Photo by: Jason Varney

 

The Aviation Cocktail Photo by: Jason Varney

The Aviation Cocktail
Photo by: Jason Varney

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 spend a lot of my time off campus writing about food – especially for Edible Philly, a magazine devoted to the local restaurant scene and to the area’s food culture. My focus until recently has been cheese — my last book was The Di Bruno Bros. House of Cheese, an artisan cheese guide with recipes. It came out in 2013, and I hosted more than 60 tastings and book signings to promote it. After that, I was approached by my publisher, Running Press, to write a guide to cocktails. Luckily, I have a deep affinity for mixed drinks!

I’ve spent the last year and a half writing The New Cocktail Hour: The Essential Guide to Hand-Crafted Drinks, which will be released in April, 2016. My brother, Andre, and I co-authored it; he lives near Chicago and writes a cocktail column. Since we live 900 miles apart, we spent a lot of time on Skype with our cocktail shakers, testing recipes. We trained with a Chicago bartender and tested more than 250 cocktails to create an ultimate guide that’s organized by eras – so you can try pre-Prohibition cocktails or explore WW II cocktails. Cocktails are an American invention, so we wanted to put their incredible history into context.

My favorite cocktail of the moment is an Aviation, invented in honor of Emilia Earhart. It contains Plymouth gin (1 ¾ ounce), Luxardo (1/4 ounce), lemon juice (3/4 ounce), crème de violette (1 or 2 teaspoons), and simple syrup (1/4 ounce), plus a lemon twist.

What are you reading, for work or pleasure?

Susan Orlean, who writes for The New Yorker, is one of my favorite journalists – I love her curiosity and her painterly line-by-line writing. This semester, I’m teaching her book Saturday Night in my Practice of Writing class. In it, she investigates Saturday night rituals, and she travels around the country to profile people doing their Saturday night thing, from polka dancers to small-town cruisers to suburban babysitters. I love writers who can capture everyday stories and make them feel extraordinary.

What are you listening to (music/podcast/radio program)?

On my way to work, I listened to Kishi Bashi on Spotify. I’ve become obsessed with podcasts and usually listen to a couple a day, too – most recently, I’ve become infatuated with Home of The Brave and Local Mouthful. The latter is a new podcast by one of our Writing Studies graduates, Marisa McClellan.

When you’re not on campus, where’s your happy place?

At a cheese counter, sampling a salty blue.

 

Cheers, Tenaya!