Research Writer Interview With Mary
Writing Clean, Direct, And Focused Essays
What is your favorite thing to write about?
As a Graduate student studying English Literature, my favorite topics usually include fiction and poetry. More specifically, I am interested in the Modernist period and the end of the nineteenth century. I am most attracted to female writers, Virginia Woolf being one of my favorites. Additionally, I am interested in the historical context of Literature and author biographies. For example, Woolf's memoir "Moment's of Being" is one of my favorite texts as it touches biography as well as philosophical musings. Related, I am very interested in Philosophy and Critical Theory. I enjoy Cultural Materialist Theory, as well as general Aesthetic Theory. My favorite theorists are the Frankfurt School bunch: Adorno, Benjamin and a few others.
Do you do other types of writing and research?
Absolutely. My undergraduate degree is in the social sciences, and during college I took several courses in natural sciences such as Biology and Chemistry. I love psychoanalytic theory and one of my favorite texts is Freud's book on jokes. Sociological theory, additionally, interests me a great deal. On the natural science side of things, I am an avid reader of Science and Scientific American magazines. One of my favorite past-times is listening to Science pod-casts. Generally, I like reading and writing critically, and I am open to applying those skills to a myriad of topics.
What is your essay writing style?
I prefer to write clean, direct, and focused essays. I am concise and pointed in my academic writing. One of my most honed skills is my ability to thoroughly analyze and explain a topic. I like going over my work to make sure all of the little issues have been addressed and worked through. I guess you could say my attention to detail is my greatest skill as a writer. Having tutored writing for over 6 years, I understand how important it is to condense and streamline academic essays.
What are your eventual career goals?
I would eventually like to teach English at the college level. I love to teach, but I also love to do research and my current graduate program is preparing and training me to do both. I have a sustained interest in teaching composition and would be pleased with a job that allows me to workshop essays with students. However, I would likewise enjoy teaching Literature: I love hearing people's reactions to books and the interesting connections that they come up with when engaged in close reading.
What do you read in your spare time?
On a recreational level, I am interested in Shakespeare and am an avid theatre patron. My favorite Shakespeare plays are the history plays: specifically, Richard II and Richard III. I also read several news publications: The Economist, The Wall-street journal, and The New York Times. Very recently, I have started to read graphic novels. I'm interested in the complex interaction between the written word and visuals that either reinforce or create dissonance with the text. My favorite graphic novel to date is Alison Bechdel's "Fun Home," which interweaves the coming-out story of a girl with some of my favorite Modernist texts. Over-all, the novel is a beautiful fusion of humor and intricate weighty themes.
What are your interests outside of your graduate program and your writing?
I am learning how to bake and I currently volunteer at a Patisserie. I also do contract work for a few writing companies so I'm quite busy :). I like the precision and attention to details that baking requires. Also, I like the very tangible and yummy product of my labor. Also, I love watching old movies. Some of my favorite directors are Billy Wilder and Hitchcock. Not surprisingly, I value good scripts and artfully designed plots.
Random writer: /writer-ruth