In 2021, I graduated from Cornell University with a PhD. in English literature. My dissertation, Caught Up in the Arrangement: Forms of Literary Life in the Eighteenth Century, argued that literary characters constitute a form of life. Ever notice how fiction authors always seem to say that their characters “come to life” on the page, making their own choices? That’s what my PhD. is about. Makes sense for a screenwriter, don’t it?
While at Cornell, I was the instructor of record for three different freshmen writing seminars, which I designed, across seven semesters (as well as several teaching assistantships).
- Aliens and Others: Science Fiction at the Border. My science fiction course focused on speculative tales told by authors from marginalized backgrounds, asking students to rethink (or think against) the colonial mindset of “classic” science fiction.
- Reading Roleplaying Games. This popular class investigated where roleplaying games fall between “literature” and event, and how the ephemeral narratives they produce are structured by their presentation as books and as capitalist (or anticapitalist) products.
- Word and Image. A so-called “single description” course, my take asked students to consider the differences between the written word and visual narrative, from graphic novels to drama to video.
In these classes, I focused on helping students discover their own best practices in the craft of writing, from research and argument design to first drafting to revision. Teaching has taught me much about my own process, and balancing that workload alongside my own writing goals gave me new insights into how to write quickly and edit effectively.