What is the title of your class?
What’s one thing you hope your students will take away from the class?
This class is about shaking up your ideas about how to conceive of a prose project with the natural world in it, so we’ll be playing with pitching new project ideas and pushing ourselves to be surprising, and the final product of the class will be a beginning—but hopefully a beginning that leads to some strange new territory.
What sorts of writers will you be reading/assigning in class? Why?
Writers like Drew Lanham, who challenges expectations about the identity of the writer observing and responding to nature, or Amy Leach, who thumbs her nose at the preachiness and serious tone expected of writing about nature.
Can your students connect with you on social media? If so, how?
I am passive-aggressively present on Facebook and LinkedIn. Students could also check out the UW Press blog.
Are any of your works online and available to the public?
I defy the nature-writing genre by writing about bowling: American Life in Poetry
What’s your teaching philosophy?
I value conversation and discussion, and I usually come prepared with good questions more than with didactic answers. I am happiest in a classroom environment where all of us come away with insight and energy fueled by each other’s ideas and responses, and I work to bring forward examples, questions, and juxtapositions that can get that exchange started and help it develop in interesting directions.
What advice do you have about getting into the habit of writing regularly?
Try to be underemployed. If that’s not feasible, try to get up early.
What are you working on right now? Where did the idea come from?
I am in an extremely uncomfortable period of not knowing what I am working on. Maybe the class will help! Most of my ideas come out of being irrationally preoccupied with something.
Let’s talk writing inspiration—what’s the No. 1 thing that drives you to write?
As dramatized in the great work Harriet the Spy, I start behaving horribly to people if you take away my notebook.