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In high school, the only “most likely” I received was “The most likely to become the next Francis Bacon”—due to my winning an impromptu essay-writing competition.
Essay writing was what I loved most to do—writing about politics, religion, or history. But, while attending WKU (earning a Master of Arts in English (1996), my teacher asked me to write about myself. It was so scary! I almost dropped out of school in the final semester of my master’s program. But I faced the fears and began to write—and then went on to write an autobiographical master’s thesis. I wouldn’t describe it as great writing, but it changed my life.
I’m convinced we’re asked to focus far too much on what other people (experts, literati, heads of state, and such) have done or said or written. When I ask students to write a research paper on some passionate interest of their own, many tell me, “I don’t have any.” (They do—but they are not aware what it might be.) So I teach writing with an emphasis on celebrating our own lives—discovering, as we do, those passions we’re hardly aware of, after years of schooling that focuses on what other people think, and say, and do.
I love teaching—love reading what my wonderful students write—and love it that we can meet together online and celebrate our lives. Why not make each day a celebration—even if it is a little scary?
Master of Arts in English, a concentration in writing, December of 1996, Western Kentucky University
Bachelor of Arts, Double Major: History, Philosophy, December of 1994, Western Kentucky University