Pursuing Interest: A Conversation with Dr. Solveig Robinson


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By Kristin Bertsch

I hoped that the large cup of coffee in front of me on the lounge table would be a casual excuse for my jitters. I waited for Dr. Robinson to come from her hotel to our little interview room, and every minute past 10:45 was a reassurance that maybe I wouldn’t embarrass myself in this interview. Maybe a department professor had detained her, or maybe she was caught up in preparing for one of her presentations on campus. After two minutes, Dr. Robinson came in, and after introductions shuffled her backpack onto the floor across from mine, and sat tall on the couch opposite me. She cupped her hands in her lap and leaned forward, and we both shifted a little in our seats. Then she gave me earnest eyes and said:

“I’m really glad there aren’t lights and cameras in here. I was so scared. This was the most intimidating thing on my schedule today.”

I was both relieved and amused to know that I was not alone in my anxious anticipation of our conversation. Dr. Robinson had come to Whitworth to give a lecture on her work in publishing and Victorian women’s literature, which culminated most recently in her project on “Victorian Women’s (Publishing) House work: Gender and Cultural Authority in Nineteenth Century Britain.” She had been visiting classes and giving presentation about her areas of expertise. She is an expert in her field, and a highlight of her department at PLU. But sitting across from me talking about the process of research and writing, she was speaking as a student immersed in the thrills and anxieties of a new intellectual pursuit.

“Research is always overwhelming, until something clicks. I try to show my students by example how to channel their own curiosity and interest into materials and topics. It may not be apparent that things connect or even really matter until you approach a topic as a matter of your own interest.”

And Dr. Robinson knows how to explore and make things connect. Her two areas of expertise, the history of the book and Victorian literature, seem to be placed along parallel but separate tracks of English. But during her 36 years in academia, she found a way to intertwine and give direction to both of her academic interests.

“I’m interested in the way books work as a way of giving voices, and how the publishing and print culture works as a way of mediating and curating those voices.”

That sort of intersectionality of interests in something Whitworth English majors recognize and aspire to. Choosing a track and curating a class schedule inevitably means that certain classes are left out, certain projects left undone, certain interests negotiated out of the plan to make room for others. Saying yes to one direction often means saying no to valuable others. And this is something Dr. Robinson sees as a problem for young scholars.

“Among my students, I see this paralyzing fear of specialization. They worry that by choosing to pursue one interest or project, they are forced to give up their curiosity and interest in other things. And that is really counterintuitive to what a liberal arts education is meant to be.”

I asked Dr. Robinson what she saw as being the most valuable asset of a liberal arts education from a university like Whitworth or PLU.

“I knew I wanted to work at a small liberal arts institution because that would be a place where I could explore. The faculty and the students embrace intersecting interests and interaction among projects, and I knew I wanted that freedom.”

Dr. Robinson’s advice for students is to feed as many interests as they can, and to let their interests feed each other.


Kristin Bertsch (’17) is a Senior English major at Whitworth. Kristin has studied English abroad in Britain and Ireland, most recently for a semester at Oxford University in spring of 2016. In addition to her studies and contributions to the English Department blog, Kristin works as research assistant to English faculty, as a conference assistant to Communications faculty, and as archiving assistant to Library Director and Art Professor Dr. Amanda Clark. Kristin is an active supporter of local art and theater and a frequenter of Spokane Poetry Slam.

How to Survive Being an English Major: Some Unsolicited Advice


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By: Jordin Connall

Step 1: Accept that tears are part of the gig for any college student and buy stock in Kleenex while you can. Similarly, accept that at some point(s) in your English career you will need to sit by and pretend to study while your table-mate quietly sobs, it is imperative that you stay cool and for the love of all that is holy never mention this occurrence upon seeing them again.

Step 2: Switch arms please, the Norton is heavy. No one wants to see a hundred pound waif-like sophomore with one arm like a toothpick and the other the width of a goal post. I also suggest something more suitable than a book-bag for day-to-day readings, perhaps a children’s wagon, or maybe even a miniature plow horse? Think about it.

Step 3: Realize that the Norton can be used for a number of different things, some of which include: a step stool, a paper weight, backpack theft-deterrent [see suggestion 2], a pillow if you don’t mind being uncomfortable, substitute for a Kevlar vest, and if you’re absolutely desperate. . .reading material.


 Step 4: Go to the book sales, BBQs, and whiffle ball games, to name a few. I know it’s a lot to ask when season five of Sherlock has just aired (Speaking to you Class of 2020), and the most sentient beings you intended to speak to were your laptop and that latte you’ve been stroking lovingly like a newborn baby, but trust me the outside can be fun sometimes. I personally didn’t go to any of these events until my Junior year, and I missed out on meeting an entirely new group of nerd friends (Nriends? Ferds? I’m working on it). Professors will be at these gatherings too, giving you a chance to meet them outside of class and see them change from scary scholarly folks into people that will help you grow and transform in your academic career. Plus you can find out if it’s true that Doug drains the blood of a randomly selected freshman in a Viking ritual sacrifice (don’t worry I won’t ruin the surprise, you’ll have to go to find out for yourself).

Step 5: Never stop reading, even in the summer. Despite how appealing sleep may sound, and trust me it’s not all that your non-collegiate housemates try and claim it is, read all the time. Read, read, read, read. “It will make you a better writer and a better person,” (A Really Credible Source, Wikipedia) reading has the sole ability to transform your grammar and communication skills all without seeming heavy-handed. Read for the rest of your life, and then after that read to other ghosts (pro tip: ghosts seem to really love Poe).

Step 6: This is going to be a doozie, but bare with me. Relax. I know it sounds irritatingly simple and prosaic, but really, take a chill pill. Every time you are about to panic about that really long paper that is due in exactly seven hours, take a deep breath and relax. You will not remember this paper in five years, five hours, minutes, whatever. Don’t slack off and forget your responsibilities in some made-for-TV-movie depiction of college, but realize that your life is defined by so many other things than that one paper or that one class.


Step 6: Look over everything before you turn it in. It’s astounding the dumb mistakes people make and don’t correct before turning them in, even for really important papers that everyone will get to see. Some people, I tell ya.

Step 7: Come up with snappy responses as to your chosen career for well-intentioned family members ahead of time. These will come in handy around any major holiday. Examples include: homelessness, a professional clown, beat boxing, correcting grammatical errors in the YouTube comments section, or becoming a teacher.

Step 8: But most of all, give yourself a pat on the back for choosing the area of study superior to all others (like anyone uses math anymore right?). English is the area of study that connects us to one another and the world. We are the group of people that can read something and glean meaning from it. This power is fundamental to what makes us human, our ability to communicate with one another in complex and constantly evolving ways. John 1:1 tells us that in the beginning there was the word. Take your words and change the world.

Jordin Connall is a Senior English Major. Her hobbies include: long walks on the beach, making baked goods, taking long walks on the beach with baked goods, and interpretive macaroni art.

A Reflection on the Faculty Research Presentations of Fall 2016


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By: Emily Church

To start off the academic year, Professor Casey Andrews and Thom Caraway invited faculty, students, and community members to share in their excitement over the current research projects.

Professor Andrews presentation, “Writing Against War: Literature as Peace Activism,” gave us a sneak-peak into his upcoming book (the cover of which his wife painted) about the ways in which British novelists like Virginia Woolf and Aldous Huxley wrote peace activist fiction in the 1930s.”His research dives into the question of “How can art be clearly political and also “artful”?” Virginia Woolf, who is the center piece of the book, criticized all writers who wrote books that were composed of endings that made the reader feel like they had to act by doing a certain service or by writing a check. She instead vouched for the type of writing that had politics in it, since you can’t avoid politics or social issues, but not a clear message. This is what, in Woolf’s opinion allowed it to still function as art. Another one of the points in the presentation looked at literature as “peace witness.” British author Vera Brittan, and her novel Testament of Youth, thought of war literature as a way of preserving the memory of our suffering so that successors may understand it. Andrews expressed a clear excitement over his topic, which was expected as this is within his area of expertise and Virginia Woolf is among his favorite writers.    (Andrew’s book cover can be view here)

Professor Thom Caraway’s presentation and research, titled “Poesis: The Language of Creation” did not emerge from a past interest in the subject. Instead, his path towards the topic began with a simple text message from a college and friend that said, “Theopoetics?” to which Caraway eventually replied back “Yes.” He began his talk with the disclaimer of “I am not a theologian,” in order to make it clear that he is still in the learning process. While most approach the topic of theopoetics with a theological background, Caraway comes from the expertise of poetry, which allowed him to focus on the use of the word “poetics.” The goal of theopoetics is to see both scripture and God with fresh eyes, recontextualize our understanding of faith, and demytholize scripture; all through the use of poetry, which for Caraway is perfect because according to him, “poetry is the purest kind of literary writing.” He connected Theopoetics to specifically poetry of witness, defined as poetry speaking to the truth of experience and the realization of God’s revelation. In both contexts, Caraway made clear, it is the responsibility of the reader to witness to the text and they therefore cannot remain passive. It is only in this way that theopoetics and poetry of witness can be successful.

If you wish to learn more about either of the topics presented during the Faculty Research Presentations, I’m sure they would be happy to share more.

Emily Church (’17) is an English Writing and Sociology major at Whitworth University from western Washington and dreams of one day traveling the world. She enjoys writing, reading, painting, collecting journals (not writing in them), fall leaves, summer warmth., and adventure.

2016 Summer Reading Recommendations

Alright. Now that we’ve had some time to relax and decompose after finals, it’s time to start reading! Lucky for you, your favorite professors have offered up some good recommendations to keep you busy this summer. Happy reading!

First, suggestions from the wonderful Casey Andrews:

My list includes things I am actually working on this summer rather than books I’ve read fully and wish to recommend. Most of these I’ve started and am eager to get to in their entireties.

1)      Richard Jenkyns, Classical Literature: An Epic Journey from Homer to Virgil and Beyond.

Jenkyns is a renowned classics scholar who has written essential studies of Jane Austen and the use of classical writings by Victorian authors. Since 2004, Jenkyns has held a position at Oxford as “public orator,” and the role suits him well, speaking with depth and insight to popular audiences. This latest book is a chronological survey stuffed with sharp readings and occasional jabs, guiding us toward the best works by great classical authors. If you have been unable to take Leonard’s class on The Epic (or simply need a refresher), this is a fantastic book for you. http://smile.amazon.com/Classical-Literature-Journey-Virgil-Beyond/dp/0465097979/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1461799878&sr=1-1&keywords=jenkyns+classical+literature

2)      P. N. Furbank, E. M. Forster: A Life.

This biography is typically considered the definitive life of Forster and, like Richard Ellmann’s Joyce  and Carlos Baker’s Hemmingway,  one of the great examples of the genre. I’ve read Forster in scattered ways—a couple of the early books, a few late essays, A Passage to India numerous times—but with Furbank as my guide, I’m looking forward to following Forster’s work in total.  http://smile.amazon.com/E-M-Forster-Life-Harvest/dp/0156286513/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1461799467&sr=1-1&keywords=furbank+forster

3)      Vera Brittain, Testament of a Peace Lover.

I’ve dipped into this selection of Brittain’s letters written for a pacifist audience during the Second World War, but this summer I will finally get to read cover to cover. (Alas, I don’t foresee time to go to McMaster University and read the complete collection. Some day…) http://smile.amazon.com/Testament-Peace-Lover-Letters-Brittain/dp/0860688437/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1461799733&sr=1-1&keywords=vera+brittain+testament+peace+lover

Now from the fantastic Laura Bloxham:

I have three categories of recommendations for summer reading. First, I’ve been rereading classics this year: late Austen, Mansfield Park, Emma, Persuasion; Wilkie Collins, Woman in White; Thomas Hardy, Far From the Madding Crowd. Nineteenth century novels are deep luscious places to spend time. If you’ve read Jane Eyre, read Villette; if you’ve read David Copperfield, read Little Dorrit. Spread out the reading over lunch hours.

Second, read beach trash. I read mysteries. Try Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling), The Cuckoo’s Calling. And then the next two in the series. Intriguing play on the American mean streets tradition: man wounded in battle comes home, is lonely, opens a detective business, hires a secretary who is not the ditz Sam Spade would have hired. Or pick your own books that do not require you to mark them and do analysis.

Third, read a good piece of non-fiction, a provocative piece of history or biography of something that takes you out of your own preoccupations. Consider Bryan Stephenson, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. This book is a largely narrative-based account of individuals unjustly imprisoned and the fight to restore their freedom. Stephenson spoke on campus last year.


And now…

Vic Bobb’s response to the call for a recommendation for a book worth reading this summer:

So. It’s summer. Time to travel the world…except that you’ve got a job at a fruit stand that’s going to give you a half-day off every Wednesday (until the cherries come in over the Fourth, when all leaves are cancelled)…or at Powell’s (so you don’t want a day off)…or running a grain elevator (which leaves you wishing you could get as much time off as your cousin at that fruit stand)…or selling hot dogs from a pushcart at a beach on Lake Chelan (so you’re too broke to travel even if you did have more than two days off in a row)…

So. You can’t go there? Read your way there. Fly, on the wings of Fiction. Here’s a book suggestion from every continent (with a little cheating on Antarctica). I’m suggesting novels that I don’t think anyone else is going to recommend.

Africa. JM Coetzee, Life and Times of Michael K. (South Africa, 1983) Saying cheerfully that this novel is not as bleak, hopeless, and depressing as Coetzee’s Disgrace is approximately like insisting that it is good news that you have arterial bleeding rather than final-stage bubonic plague. But Michael K is a fine work of art, Coetzee can write, and the book’s final image is actually hopeful and positive. Sort of.

Asia. Yasunari Kawabata, Snow Country. (Japan, 1948) You’ll still be noticing fresh delicacies and details in this narrative the sixth time you read it. Shimamura loves and is committed to the purity and beauty of art as intensely as is Bohumil Hrabal’s Hanta in Too Loud a Solitude…but Shimamura could never be mistaken for the little man in a Prague cellar compacting wastepaper bales….

Australia. Nevil Shute: choose one from among In the Wet; On the Beach; Beyond the Black Stump; The Far Country; or No Highway, and you’ll probably want to read the rest (and more). Shute is Australian by adoption; among the books I’ve suggested only No Highway dates from before his 1950 emigration from Blighty to Oz. Not a deep artist, but a wonderful storyteller—with a full two dozen worthy books to choose from.

Europe. Michel Quint, In Our Strange Gardens (France, 2000) A very fine novella based on the experiences of Quint’s father in occupied France, and afterward. You will be horrified to discover that you have burst into spontaneous cheers for…an act of utilitarian ethical decisionmaking in a book about Duty and Doing the Right Thing Because It Is Right.

North America. Douglas Coupland, Microserfs (Canada, 1995) Once you’ve been delighted by this romp among Silicon Valley / Redmond types, you’ll want to back up to Generation X (1992) and Shampoo Planet (1993 and set in the Tri Cities, though not officially), and then to leap ahead to jPod (2006). Other Coupland novels tend to step on their own shoelaces late in each book. That’s a shame, because at his best, he’s good. (If you like these Coupland novels, give Englishman Nick Hornby a try. And if you like Hornby’s High Fidelity, About a Boy, How to Be Good, or A Long Way Down, take a look at Coupland.)

South America. Humberto Costantini, The Long Night of Francisco Sanctis (Argentina, 1984) An insidiously draw-you-in novel so interior as to make Proust & Woolf look like action-thrillers. It gets better and better and suddenly it is best. A very [very] fine—and disturbing—novel, indeed. [Those unfamiliar with the Dirty War need to learn a little bit about Argentina in the late 1970s before reading this book.] Do not glance at the last pages of this novel before you arrive there legitimately. This is a gut-punch-ending story, and even a hint of what’s coming would do incalculable damage to your experience of the book.

Antarctica. Cheating. Read Edgar Allan Poe’s only novel, the 1838 The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym

Bonus Continents. If you’re not already familiar with the novels of Penelope Lively and Pat Barker (England) and Anne Tyler (USA), make http://www.betterworldbooks.com your next stop. For Lively, start with City of the Mind, The Photograph, and Moon Tiger; then read everything except Heat Wave. In Barker’s case, read Union Street, The Ghost Road, and Double Vision; then go to town on her remaining novels. For Tyler, start anywhere and keep going.

Happy Summer, regardless of where you are.

A Message from Whitworth Alum Rachel Means (2014)

While the phrase “an education of mind and heart” is sometimes a little overused at Whitworth, I love the mission behind it. Whitworth’s interest in touching both the mind and heart of the students made a huge difference to me when I was a student here. The teachers care about the students and helped me grow both as a student and as a person. Now I want to take what I learned at Whitworth and pass it on. I will be serving as a missionary for the next two years, teaching music at a Christian international boarding school in Germany: Black Forest Academy (BFA). BFA has a similar style and many of the same goals as Whitworth, but it is a middle school and high school rather than a university and it is intended for missionary children. Missionaries often have to send their children to boarding schools because it isn’t safe in the mission field or there aren’t adequate education opportunities, but this leads to the children often feeling neglected or abandoned, and they turn away from God. BFA strives to help these students build relationships with God and gain a solid education. I will be teaching violin, orchestra, and general music, so I will have the opportunity to work with the students one on one as well as in larger groups.

Because the teachers at BFA are acting as missionaries to these students, and because BFA wants to serve the missionary parents of the students by keeping tuition low, the teachers are required to raise their own support. I am hoping to leave for Germany in August, but I need to raise my entire monthly support first.

Please consider supporting me, and if you would like to know more, you can contact me at rmeans14@my.whitworth.edu, or at (360) 672-4033.

Five Reasons Why I Hate List Blogs (Presented In A Non-List Format)



By: Jacob Millay

For those of you who use the internet often, which I think is most of the population of the world, you may have noticed some interesting trends that pop-up briefly and then disappear like a supernova burning out.

Some of these trends include incredibly foolish challenges offered by online strangers who enjoy witnessing pain or discomfort. This would include your cinnamon challenge, milk gallon challenge, eating very spicy food challenge, or other similar actions that people take to inflect pain upon themselves for apparent reason.

Other trends include charities where you either dump ice water on your head or donate money to cure ALS, stream videogames where people donate to get games into hospitals, or even attempts to capture a foreign militia leader and war criminal who was apparently rampaging across Uganda in 2012.

These various trends may be good or bad. However, there is one trend that has gotten far more traction than any of these. Each and every one of you is familiar with this trend if you have spent any time on social media in the past five years And that trend is the list blog.

A “list blog,” which is my name for this rage-inducing trend on the internet, is a way to easily collect and spread information in the form of a list. They generally have a click-bait title to draw in potential readers who most likely only see the headline of the article. They could range from “Ten Reasons Why Trump Would Be A Good President” (which, terrifyingly, is a real article) to “16 Unbelievably Rude Texts From Canadian Winter.”

Many of these blogs are shared over social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Tumblr, Reddit, Let, Instagram, Snapchat, Google +, Pinterest, Vine, or maybe even good old electronic mail. Someone finds them interesting or funny, and the next thing you know the article is plastered over everyone’s accounts. And perhaps the biggest purveyor of these lists is the media giant Buzzfeed. If you go on their website at any given time, a list will be there to assault your eye sockets.

Now, you might be thinking: “Hey, I like Buzzfeed! What does this guy have against Buzzfeed? Is he jealous that they get way more views than his blogs could ever get because they use funny relatable gifs and pictures instead of all these dumb words?”

Well, yes, I am a little jealous of how popular these lists have gotten. I don’t, however, think that these lists are making people stupider. The people who read Buzzfeed were not going to go out and pick up a copy of Chaucer if that website didn’t exist. They would just find some other similar, vapid way of spending their time.

However, I do think that Buzzfeed and the hundreds of similar copycat websites are harmful. They have taken one of the most creative spaces in the universe, the internet, and turned it into the same blog over and over. Why would someone work hard to create an original website, blog, or video when creating trivial trash nets them many more views which in turn create cash for their website? It is so incredibly easy to stagnate when this business model of creating click-bait titles with lists is the only thing that gets views.

Another potential problem with many of these lists blogs is that they take things that are definitely rooted in opinion and present them as facts. Some of these are trivial such as “10 Must See Movies from the 80’s.” Well, I think that Predator should be number one, but I understand why they put Indiana Jones at the top of the list. However, some of these lists are presenting some heavy issues by using this guise of a list to protect the author.

Some lists deal with depression, relationships, religion, anxiety, alcoholism, and other similar important issues that plague people’s lives. But instead of actually dealing with any of these issues, the article simply skims the surface by presenting “5 Broad Things Anxious People Experience On A Bi-Weekly Basis.” For some people, they take the statement of this article taken as fact and then turn around and self-diagnose themselves with a disorder that they simply do not have.

At least that is one positive spin to my hatred of these list blogs. If I use that argument, it makes it look like I am humanitarian. It looks like I am standing up for the little man in this situation. I could also complain that these lists make the readers generalize everything into these tiny, easy to understand boxes when in reality, nothing is that simple. And those things are true… Partially.

At the end of the day, I hate lists blogs not for these logical, well-thought out reasons. I hate them for the same reason that I hate Justin Bieber. They are popular and I want them to go away.

Will this blog change anything about those blogs? No, probably not. Oh well. It was worth a shot.

Jacob Millay (’16)  is an English Education major at Whitworth University. He is a master of consuming, whether that is the newest David Fincher film, the newest Death Cab for Cutie album, or his mother’s spaghetti. He wishes he had any plans for after graduation or for next weekend, but, alas, he has none.

Congratulations Poetry Contest Winners!


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Congratulations to to the winners of this year’s poetry contest, ‘Elegy for Trees’! Meet our winners, read their poems, and get a look into what our guest judge Dr. Megan Hershey had to say about each of the poems.

1st Place: Anneliese Immel


Bio: Anneliese Immel is a senior at Whitworth University. She will be graduating this year with a double major in Biology and Chemistry. She has also enjoyed taking as many creative writing classes as her schedule would allow!

 Wild words fall from your mouth into the wind,
incoherent moaning as this forest, this fortress is made
new in the dark of the day, transfigured for
descent into the dust.
Sap seethes across each murder hole. Enemies storm
the barky moat and knotted bole,
overcome those organic keepers and press on,
rout and raze the roots
mulching without mercy the monarchies.
Pinioned to the earth, the figures pine
in their failed strength and lofty loss.
Not able to withstand an earthbound fate
exudation is their final exaltation,

sealing their sepulcher.

Here’s what our judge, Dr. Megan Hershey had to say:

“Fell” returns the reader to Windstorm 2015 with its first line, observing “wild words fall from your mouth into the wind” and proceeds to quickly draw us into a dark and deadly tale.  The poet thrills and rattles us, juxtaposing the mundane (“sap,” “roots,” and “barky”) with the sinister (“seethes,” “moat,” “raze”), all while pressing us to conside the fallen pines as a metaphor for that which is lofty and strong in our own lives (“Pinioned to the earth, the figures pine – in their failed strength and lofty loss”).  I was left wondering what this poem is really about, which is precisely the point. 


Second Place: Nina Westcott


Bio: Nina is a freshman Biology Major who enjoys embracing the written language. She also loves long walks around the Loop and every form of dance. Loosing the trees felt like loosing a piece of her heart.

An Elegy for Trees



Nothing but






Mark the ground where the

Pines fell.

In their death, came life for fires.

Nature warring against itself.

Earth conquered by air. Even the crows


Here’s what our judge, Dr. Megan Hershey had to say:

This sparse poem managed to capture my own feelings about the loss of our Loop canopy in only 39 words.  The poet reminds us what it felt like to walk across campus in late November, calling to mind the “Dull Sunlight” and “Offensive Rays.”  The poem alludes to larger forces and the painful, yet healing process of communal mourning.  Even the formatting recalls the loss – or the recovery?

Writing Tips from Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


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kurt vonnegut jr. photoBy: DevonClements


Due to his inclusion in the canon of modern literature present in academia, author and satirist Kurt Vonnegut Jr. is thankfully not an uncommon name among today’s students. However, there is much more to this inspiring mind then his most popular text, the forebodingly satirical Slautherhouse-Five. Vonnegut was born in Indianapolis in 1922 and spent his childhood excelling academically until his enrollment in the Reserve Officer’s Training Corp. He served in World War two, fighting at the infamous Battle of the Bulge Germany’s final offensive wave of the war, as well as surviving the bombing of Dresden. After returning from the War, his writing career began, eventually ending with the publication of 14 novels, 3 short stories, five plays, and five works of non-fiction over his 50 year writing career. Vonnegut’s work began in the world of Science Fiction and though he did not remain completely in that genre his work is filled with the fantastical, absurd, irrational and the beautiful. Reading any of Vonnegut’s work leads one to perceive the singular chaotic, and awe inspiring way in which he viewed and categorized reality and existence. More so than many other writers, Kurt Vonnegut Jr. illustrates the incessant and at times mad was in which those who write are driven to make sense of their own mind as well as the world around them through language. Listed below are eight tips Vonnegut left for the aspiring writer in hopes they ease your struggle and speed your progress. So it goes.

  1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
  2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
  3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
  4. Every sentence must do one of two things – reveal character or advance the action.
  5. Start as close to the end as possible.
  6. Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them – in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
  7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
  8.  Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages

Devon Clements. Class of 2018. English Philosophy major. Missouri. Soccer. Coffee. Historical Fiction. Edward Sharpe. Of Human Bondage. Travel. Moleskine. Pens. Vans. United Kingdom. Trees. Gym. Literature. Sour. Northwest. Theatre. Explore. Skateboard. Run. Cats. Blue. Finished.