From the Desk of an Aspiring Essayist

Ryan Sheldon ’13: We’ve got another anonymous participant, this time from the ranks of the Creative Writing concentration!

Class year: 2014

Major: English (CW concentration)

Favorite book: The Brothers Karamazov

How do you identify as a writer? Do you think of yourself as particular kind of writer, and does that identification extend beyond your conception of yourself as a student

I usually call myself a writer in the context of being a student and working in class-settings. There’s so much work that it’s often all I have time for! I probably identify particularly with creative non-fiction.

How would you describe your writing style? What, if anything, has influenced the way you’ve learned to write? What if anything, has influenced the way you like to write?

I like short essays, such as one reads in the New Yorker: unwaveringly esoteric and useless in everyday life but still riveting for a reader. I aspire to write similarly.

What is your preferred medium of literary expression (analytical writing, fiction, verse, creative nonfiction, blogging, tweeting, some admixture thereof…)? Describe the kind of writing you find yourself doing most frequently.

Creative non-fiction. I enjoy the challenge (and luxuries) of setting a limit on what I can include.

What is your background in reading? What sort of books, if any, do you read on a regular basis? Can you identify one or two books that loom large in the history of your personal development as a reader and/or a writer?

I read essayists because I enjoy the style, but I also split my time between that and nineteenth-century Russian Literature. I am still trying to understand how the second plays itself out in my own writing.

What, if anything, do you hope to do with writing in the future?

Teach English at a college or high school level.

What’s on your pleasure reading list semester? Are you looking forward to any book releases? If you feel the inclination, recommend a title that you’ve found particularly enjoyable or meaningful—what do you think we should be reading today?

I look forward to taking time during break to read Agatha Christie and approximately nothing else. I often require pleasure reads just to decompress from school. Even on longer breaks I usually alternate light, heavy, light, heavy in difficulty of reading.


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