Major/Minor(s): English, Creative Writing
Estimated graduation date: April 2019
English+ experience: English 394R with Jamin Rowan
Hometown: Yerington, Nevada
Favorite book: The Temple, by George Herbert
Favorite classes: Engl 366 Studies in Poetry, 319R Writing Poetry
Tell us more about your experience using your creative writing minor in conjunction with your English major? What did you like, dislike, etc?
Learning more about the process of writing makes reading different. When I read poetry I think of writing poetry. So much of modern theory is fixated on the “death of the author” that we sometimes don’t bother to think about what the author was thinking or intending when they made the thing we’re reading. But when I’m able to understand better the creative process, much can be gained in understanding. If I was never challenged to do, then some part of the creative work would be forever closed off to me.
What are your future plans/professional aspirations?
I’m planning on applying to the creative writing master’s program for poetry next year. I’ve found that more and more it’s the only thing I really want to do, so finding some way to make a career out of that (or some other kind of creative writing; I enjoy fiction as well) would be great.
My real future aspiration, though, is to attach myself like a remora to a career-focused woman and become a stay-at-home dad, raising children and writing poetry on the side. Nothing sounds more fulfilling to me than that.
How was your English+ experience in Dr. Rowan’s class? What kind of program was it? What did you do, etc?
We were tasked with helping the Timpanogos neighborhood council formulate and write a plan for the future development of their neighborhood. I was the lead of our small group of students and had to direct research, drafting, editing, and our collaboration with the neighborhood. It was a challenge because I didn’t know a whit about city planning. My group and I first had to research and learn about the field before we even thought about writing a document that would be passed as official city policy. We split up the different responsibilities, such as historic preservation and background, urban design, or zoning policies, so that we could each specialize in one or two areas.
My group was amazing and worked hard to become (relative) experts in their different sections and collaborate closely with their neighborhood contacts. Together, we were able to make a draft of the entire plan that we then handed off to the neighborhood council to polish off. I am really grateful for what I learned about leadership, trusting others, and what it takes to work together in making a large project. I also learned that city planning is probably not what I want to go into, haha, but I still gained a lot of valuable skills and experience that will help me in whatever I end up doing.
What have you learned from your major?
What I take in as entertainment should be something that challenges the way I think and live. Reading and discussing literature has helped me to form this desire to not consume mindlessly, but to seriously consider what I watch, play, listen to, and read, and then contribute through creation. These are skills that help me to live a good life, not just find a job (which is what I’ll be telling myself when I’m looking for a job.)
What advice would you offer to a newly declared English major?
Take a poetry class. So much of what you’re going to be reading in your survey courses is poetry and having a solid understanding of the history of English poetry is going to go a long way in helping you appreciate and enjoy what you’re going to have to read anyway. My first poetry course with John Talbot is what convinced me to change my major to English and I am incredibly grateful for that. Plus, poetry is the best.
Anything else about your writing aspirations (and inspirations):
I believe that any sort of writing skill, talent, or inclination is a gift from God; the urge to create is something that stems from heaven and should be respected as such. Every time someone designs or organizes something–using any medium–they are mirroring the creative aspect of God. Tap into that, and give back what you have been gifted. For some people, that means devoting their craft entirely to heavenly subjects; for others, it means splitting their focus and energy between strictly religious subjects and more earthly ones. Whatever the balance, God wants everyone to succeed. Believe that and use the power that comes from that faith; your writing will be better and more fulfilling.
Finally, have you ever been anywhere interesting?
Yes, Antarctica; the photo above was actually taken against a wall in one of the research stations there. If I didn’t have to crop the photo you could see that I was standing next to a group of penguins.