SJU Writing Studies Blog

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!

 

 

 

 

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.