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!

 

 

 

 

Parting Words by Don Corcoran

Corcoran Head shot

Don Corcoran

Parting Words about Writing Studies from Don Corcoran

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

Embrace the practicality of the program and if you are getting a Master’s degree to further your career goals, constantly be working toward publishing. Use the expertise of your peers to broaden your writing horizons. There is a lot of talent and passion here. Don’t waste the opportunity.

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

I am a huge fan of the group workshops. When you have 10 other people reading your writing you get a great deal of valuable feedback. Whether it be poetry, fiction, or literature, revision is the life of writing. This is where we hone our craft. If there is a significant workshopping element, you can be certain you will walk away with something you are proud of.

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

This is the bridge to my doctorate degree. I wanted to take something that allowed me to write and develop my platform. I don’t think there is a single class that didn’t inform my thesis. Plus, I can supplement my income with part-time teaching.

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

The first draft is a small part of the final thesis. Don’t sweat the initial writing. Just write it. Sit down. Come to it with a plan. Bang it out. Revise. Use the information you’ve gathered from your classwork. Ask others to help read it. But get it done to leave time to have a polished product.

Great advice.  Thanks, Don!

 

 

SJU Writers – Check out this Post-Graduate Writing Fellowship Opportunity!

AMERICA LAUNCHES FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM

Fr. Joseph A. O’Hare, S.J., with Edward I. Koch, Mayor of the City of New York.

Fr. Joseph A. O’Hare, S.J., with Edward I. Koch, Mayor of the City of New York.

America Media announces the establishment of the Joseph A. O’Hare, S.J., Post Graduate Writing Fellowship

America Media is pleased to announce the creation of the Joseph A. O’Hare, S.J., Post Graduate Writing Fellowship. The newly created fellowship offers the opportunity for three recently graduated students from Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States and Canada to work at the offices of America Media in New York City for one year.

“Through the O’Hare Fellowship, we are looking to support a new era of young and gifted writers, providing them with challenges and opportunities to grow both personally and professionally,” said Father Matt Malone, S.J., Editor in Chief and President of America Media. “It’s a chance to live in New York City, the media center of the world, and to work at a dynamic and growing organization such as America Media.”

O’Hare fellows spend one full year working at the offices of America Media, where they will generate content for America’s multiple platforms: print, web, digital, social media and events. O’Hare fellows enjoy a rich personal and professional experience through ongoing mentoring and other opportunities. Fellows meet regularly with America’s editorial staff, including James Martin, S.J., editor at large of America and a New York Times best-selling author, in order to cultivate their skills and professional networks. At the conclusion of the program, O’Hare fellows are uniquely suited to pursue successful careers in the Catholic media or other forms of professional journalism.

O’Hare fellows receive housing at Fordham University’s Lincoln Center Campus, health care coverage and a monthly stipend for living expenses during the 12 months of the program. Applications open December 1, 2015 and close January 31, 2016.

The Joseph A. O’Hare, S.J., Post Graduate Writing Fellowship is made possible through the generosity of William J. Loschert, Fordham University College of Business Administration, Class of 1961, and a member of America Media’s board of directors.

For more information regarding the O’Hare fellowship and how to apply, please visit oharefellows.org

About America Media: America Mediapublisher of America magazine, is the leading producer of multimedia content for thinking Catholics and those who want to know what Catholics are thinking. It provides a smart Catholic take on religion, politics and culture. Founded in 1909 by the Jesuit order as America magazine, it now offers content on multiple print and digital platforms including –America Digital, America Radio, America Films and America P2P (events). http://www.americamedia.org.

Parting Words – SJU Writing Studies Student Ryan Latini

Latini Headshot

Ryan Latini

 

 

In our new “Parting Words” column, we ask recent and emerging graduates to share a few words about their experience in the Writing Studies program at Saint Joseph’s University.

 

 

 

 

 

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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!