TOMORROW: Lucy Pick Comes to Wittenberg to Talk ‘Pilgrimage’

Tomorrow, English majors can receive colloquium credit for attending “Pilgrimage, Pilgrimage, and Writing Historical Fiction” at 4:00 p.m. in Bayley Auditorium. The event is featuring novelist Lucy Pick.

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Costume Highlight Reel from Literary Halloween Party

This past Tuesday, the English Department, along with members of SAGE, hosted the annual Literary Halloween Party. Students and faculty had the option to dress as a literary character or author for colloquium credit; or, they could simply dress up just to dress up.

Here are some of this year’s costume highlights:

 

Clockwise, from left to right: Town Mouse and Country Mouse from Aesop’s Fables (Emma Stogsdill and Sierra Sanchez), Frankenstein Creation (Ashlee Eckenroe), Literary Mash-Up (Dr. Lori Askeland), Woman in Black from Susan Hill’s Woman in Black (Stephanie McGregor), Jonny Cade from The Outsiders and Arthur Dent from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Katie Hodson), Giraffe from Giraffe (Nikki Howard), Alice from Alice in Wonderland (Emma Kilpatrick), Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games (Megan Winters), Inigo Montaya from The Princess Bride (Drew Pool), and Nancy Drew(s) from Nancy Drew (Kailey Mau and Samantha Reynolds).

Writing Center Advisors Travel to NYC to Present Research from 242 Email Exchange

Over Fall Break, three Wittenberg Writing Center advisors teamed up with two tutors from Elon University to present “It’s Up to You! Practicing the Art of Giving and Receiving Feedback.”

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Here are both Elon and Wittenberg students and their advisors following a successful presentation.

The National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing (NCPTW) took place from Thursday, October 12th through Saturday, October 14th. Elon and Wittenberg presented in a collaboration-style format early Friday morning to a crowd of about twenty at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.

Originally, the five advisors had a full block of 75 minutes to present, but due to the amount of proposals received, the presentation slot was dropped to 20 minutes to accommodate three separate presentations into one 75 minute slot.

Here is the proposal originally sent into Hofstra that the five advisors tailored both their overall and personal reactions to through their presentation:

Of the strategies writing center tutors use to engage students in their writing, providing direct feedback is one of the most useful and the most challenging. This presentation describes an exchange between two writing centers designed to prepare tutors to deliver written feedback. What were our experiences like as readers, responders, recipients, and writers? What did we learn about receiving feedback and responding to writing that we have incorporated into our work as tutors?

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Dr. Mattison was quick to snap a photo of the five presenting at Hofstra on Friday. From left to right: Ryan, Jenn, Sawyer (Elon), Jamie (Elon), and Shane.

 

Each advisor spoke for roughly 3-4 minutes, each choosing to focus on a different sub-topic about the email exchange as a whole. Sub-topics ranged from immediate personal reactions to the visual effect of comments on a page to translating the pros of a face-to-face session into an email session.

Here are two advisor’s reactions to both the presentation and the conference:

 

 

I spent my portion of the presentation discussing my personal reaction to the ‘experiment,’ as I had been rather disappointed in the disconnect between what I asked the Elon advisor to look at within my paper as to what I received back at the conclusion of the exchange. She had barely left 7-8 comments, and none of them focused on what I had asked her to focus on.

When I gave comments to my student for the exchange, I’ll be the first to admit, I left a lot of comments, but I focused on what she wanted me to, and I felt that each comment would be helpful as she looked to revise. I also made it very clear at the beginning of her paper that I feel multiple comments on a paper to be more useful than mentioning something once and never pointing it out again throughout the rest of the paper.

As I looked through some of my classmate’s reactions to the exchange, I noticed a lot of us were either intimidated by the amount of comments, or disappointed in a lack of comments that they received back from the exchange. When we thought about email exchanges in the context of our 242 class, we tried to balance praise, suggestion, and direct corrections while also attempting to give as many possible comments that would enable the writer to progress in revision without having that face-to-face dialect as a normal session. Because Elon does not have email sessions, they appeared to translate a face-to-face session directly into the email session, which didn’t translate as well as they had wanted it to.

In conclusion of our results, I suggested a new way of going about email sessions to make sure that students got the comments they desired from an email session. Now, when students go to make an appointment on wconline, there is a box where students can go into more depth about the comments they’d like to receive on their papers, without advisors just having one drop-down menu topic to go off of throughout the paper.

The presentation went swimmingly, I must say, and getting to present was a really unique opportunity, especially with this being my first semester in the Writing Center. I’m hoping to write an article regarding this experience, and I’m hoping to begin research on another project in the coming weeks.

I strongly encourage anyone, regardless of what they’re involved in, to present at some kind of conference. The feedback you get from the presentation and the feeling of actually presenting something you worked very hard on is unparalleled in terms of experiences. – Jenn Ryan, ’19

Throughout my experience at the NCPTW in New York, I was impressed with the number and diversity of ideas presented at the conference. As far as writing centers go, I realized how lucky we are to have the space that we have here at Witt, and how lucky we are to have the positive and relaxed environment that we have. Although Wittenberg is a relatively small university, our space is large compared even to other larger universities, and the amenities that we have are well above par.

What became clear to me as I looked at the spaces that other centers had, and aspects that we like to emphasize in our center, is the importance of the visual appearance of the space, and creating a welcoming yet still academic environment for all students here at Witt. Whether it’s the superhero posters on the wall, the ever-present gumball machine, or the friendly faces that greet you when you walk in, there is just something about our center that exudes our core beliefs about the most effective ways to advise writers.

Although I did get some new ideas for how to improve our center space even more, my time at the conference provided me with the ability to step back and observe where our center stands on the spectrum of several important factors that make a writing center successful in advising writers, and I believe that we have done and are continuing to provide a great space for writers to work. – Shane Harris, ’20

IMG_9523All three Wittenberg students received grants from NCPTW. Jenn received a Burkean Parlor Award while Ryan Probst, ’20, and Shane Harris received Registration & Grub Awards.

While at the conference, the three got to meet two of the coauthors of one of the textbooks they had encountered in their 242 class, Melissa Ianetta and Lauren Fitzgerald.

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Jenn, Ryan, and Shane enjoy at meal at a Brazilian restaurant in NYC.

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The trio met Oxford Guide coauthors Melissa Ianetta and Lauren Fitzgerald.

Ohio Magazine Custom Media Provide Valuable Internship Tips for Students

Yesterday, Ohio Magazine Custom Media presented to a group of English and communication majors in a lecture about publishing, and more importantly, how to be a successful intern.

The world of publishing, according to Claudia Plumley, is universal.

Both Managing Editor Plumley and Assistant Editor Kelsey Wagner have been working for Ohio Magazine Custom Media for the past couple of years. Wagner began her career with Ohio Magazine after first landing an internship. Plumley had a hole to fill in the year after Wagner’s internship ended, so she decided to bring her onto the job full time.

Wagner’s determination and dedication to her job as not only a writer but an editor helped her to successfully land the job at Ohio Magazine following the conclusion of her internship.

Because of Wagner’s recent background as a student, she was eager to answer questions from students and faculty regarding real-life situations, and good tips for working through an internship. One of the more important tips for an internship, Plumley stressed, was to be not only a good writer, but to be an even better editor.

While students are still in college, Plumley and Wagner suggest taking every class that involves different methods of writing. One of Wagner’s most helpful classes as a student at The Ohio State University was a business writing course, which helped her to be as concise as possible with her writing. The two also suggested being thoroughly involved with the school newspaper and taking a graphic design class, which will help students visualize their story on the page, even if the design doesn’t end up exactly as you pictured.

Plumley and Wagner also talked about what Ohio Magazine Custom Media produces throughout the year, including two of their more prominent publications, including Long Weekends, which features the Great Lakes region, and Ohio Magazine, which features some of Ohio’s hidden gems of food, travel, and much more.

Ohio Magazine also does custom productions, which are the numerous publications, upwards to a total of sixty-seventy publications, outside of their two more prominent publications.

The Ohio Magazine website states:

Ohio Magazine serves energetic and involved Ohioans by providing award-winning stories and photographs highlighting Ohio’s people, history, towns, food and travel destinations.

We’ve been around for nearly 40 years, capturing the beauty, the adventure and the fun of life in the Buckeye State, and we want to be your resource for experiencing all that Ohio has to offer.

Whether you’re looking for great recipes, insightful profiles or a guide to some of our state’s most popular attractions, we’ve got you covered. We also tap into the spirit of our state through history features, lifestyle stories and our annual Best Hometowns issue, which recognizes outstanding communities throughout the state.

To students who may begin looking for internships in the near future, Plumley suggested finding something where you not already have some skill-set for the position, but that you can consistently learn from. Receiving feedback at an internship is potentially the most important aspect of participating in an internship.

Students can visit Ohio Magazine Custom Media’s website here, and can look at their page about internships here. Wittenberg’s Career Services department is also available to help during an internship hunt, and students can view that page here.

Meet the Members of SAGE

The English Department’s most prestigious group, SAGE, has added a great number of new faces this semester.

SAGE, or Student Advisory Group for English, is a group of committed English majors that serve as the unified student voice of the English department at Wittenberg University. We mean to act as a liaison between the English department faculty and personnel and Wittenberg’s English students in advising on certain policy changes and other official matters. We also task ourselves with spreading awareness of the many things Wittenberg’s English department provides for its students and creating programming that both generates a presence for the English department on campus and brings the students and faculty closer together in our shared pursuit of knowledge of English literature and writing. Additionally, we assist with academic showcasing for prospective students in presenting what the Wittenberg English department has to offer.”

Here is a little introduction to the English Department’s 2017-2018 members of SAGE:

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Hi, my name is Alexis Gallion and I am a junior English and Theatre double major. I love reading (of course) and watching Lord of the Rings on repeat. I am also involved in Wittenberg’s wonderful theatre department, as well as our campus’s Shakespeare Society. I joined SAGE because I saw an opportunity to work with different members of the English department to create an even more wonderful program. Our English department does an incredible job with bringing literature and writing to life, and I wanted to help facilitate that. Choosing only one English class is incredibly difficult, as all professors are fantastic and being new concepts to each individual course. That stated, I loved my British Literary Genealogies course (which is required by the major) with Dr. Cynthia Richards. – Co-President Lexi Gallion, ’19

 

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Hi everyone! My name is Jenn and I am a junior English major with creative writing and journalism minors. In my free time, you’ll probably see me running up and down campus to tie up loose ends for The Torch, scribbling down notes for eventual poems and short stories, or actively cheering on my hometown hockey team, the Pittsburgh Penguins. To those looking for a good English class, Dr. Cynthia Richards’ “The Darkness Within” was by far the best English class I have ever taken here at Wittenberg. Although it was offered as an Honors class, it is something students can’t pass up if she decides to offer it again. The texts we read in class and the discussions we had about them were unbelievable: the conversation never lulled. Plus, Dr. Richards became a mom to all of us, so take a class from her before you graduate! I decided to join SAGE as a sophomore to get as involved in the English Department as I could, and now I am so intertwined with the English Department that it’s crazy (a crazy-good thing, I promise). SAGE helps me to give back to the students and faculty in the English Department, and to help provide opportunities for students to learn and grow even further than just taking English classes during their time at Wittenberg. I’m super excited to be co-presidents with Lexi this year. I don’t know where this journey is going to take us, but I can’t wait to find out! – Co-President Jenn Ryan, ’19

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hello! My name is Logan Bliss, a senior English major here at Witt. I love to slowly walk through the, what seems like, a forest of trees and color on campus. I love to watch the sun drop from the sky in the early evening as I read in the dusk of the Hollow. I also enjoy sitting and writing anywhere and everywhere. My friendships also enrich my life from day-to-day, and for that I am so grateful. I joined SAGE because I wanted to put my voice and face more across this campus—considering I’m like Spider-man with his mask on most of the time. The English major has transformed my life and made me who I am, I just want to give back to it somehow. I’d deeply recommend taking Dr. Bob Davis’ 300 level class about the Beat Generation—a generation of lost, romantic souls that still have yet to be found. Let Davis’ voice trail across the voices and words of the Beats and see what you learn. Life is too short to not try, right? That’s all I got. Until I see you reading in the library again,
– Logan Bliss, ’18

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Hello! My name is Anissa Dann and I am a senior English major with double minors in communication and journalism. When I am not reading and writing for school, I enjoy watching terribly made period age dramas, dabbling in graphic design, and working out. I joined SAGE because I have always loved the English Department community and I also enjoy being over-involved! I would definitely suggest that anyone interested in an English major should take Beat Literature with Dr. Davis before they graduate; it will change the way you think. – Anissa Dann, ’18

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Hello! My name is Kailey Mau. I’m an English major with minors in Education and German. I plan to graduate from Witt with a Bachelor’s Degree in the English-Language Arts AYA (Adolescent Young Adult) program so I can teach 7-12 English. I am a coffee and chocolate addicted senior who enjoys reading, creative writing, and watching Netflix in my spare time. I joined SAGE because I care about the English department and I hope to keep the English major one of the best programs on campus. I have been fortunate enough to take an amazing mixture of courses through the department; however, one class I highly recommend is Dr. Inboden’s “Women in Literature.” We read novels like Persuasion and Jane Eyre, in addition to a collection of poems by Eavan Boland. To finish off the year, we had a tea party at the Mast Mansion in Springfield, which was an exciting way to end the semester before winter break. Though all of the English classes I’ve taken during my four years have been meaningful, this is one I would take again in a heartbeat! – Kailey Mau, ’18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lexie is a junior English and communication double major. She is the Recruitment and Marking Vice President of Alpha Delta Pi and a Writing Center Advisor. – Lexus Cole, ’19

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My name is Kristen Feigel and I am a junior English/Theatre double major with a minor in secondary education. I love to read, write, act and direct plays, watch movies, and hang out with friends. I joined SAGE to get to know the people and to better know everything that happens within the department. I highly recommend taking a class with Dr. Mattison, if possible; the content is always relevant and I always leave his classes asking more questions than I had when class started. – Kristen Feigel, ’20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hi, my name is Emma Stogsdill and I am a junior majoring in English and environmental science. I am really passionate about marching band, drum corps, and especially color guard (if y’all know what that is), and I love cute animals. I joined SAGE to be a part of something on campus, to get closer with my classmates in the English Department, and to help out other English majors as well as potential incoming English majors. I am currently having a blast taking Advanced Poetry Writing with Dr. Polak and would recommend it to anyone that enjoys poetry in the slightest. – Emma Stogsdill, ’20

Erykah Andrews, '20

Hey everyone! My name is Erykah Andrews and I am a sophomore majoring in English and minoring in Education. I love music! I play the viola in the Wittenberg Orchestra. I also enjoy reading and writing in my free time and going on adventures with my friends! I decided to become an English major when I took English 101 my freshman year with Dr. Askeland. I would recommend that class to incoming students because it isn’t only a general education requirement, but you learn a lot about writing essays, which will prepare for the years to come, and you also learn a lot about your strengths and weaknesses in your writing skills. I joined SAGE because my professor and advisor, Dr. Askeland, recommended me. I love being a part of SAGE and the English Department and I hope to help incoming freshmen and upperclassmen who want to be English majors go in the right direction. SAGE is a way for me to give back to my school and dedicate myself to my major. GO TIGERS! – Erykah Andrews, ’20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I’m Reese Harper, and I’m a sophomore English and (hopefully, if I can get my life together) psychology double major with a creative writing minor. On campus I’m involved in many of Wittenberg’s writing outlets, APO service fraternity, and I’m a new member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority… so all that keeps me busy enough. I also play guitar in my free time and I like to read, of course. I joined SAGE because I’ve heard many good experiences about it from upperclassmen and wanted to become more involved in the English Department. As for one class I would recommend, I have to go with Beginning Creative Writing. Even if you aren’t into creative writing, I think creative writing classes strengthen your writing in general by focusing more on how to convey specific emotions or ideas–it blends into many areas beyond just poetry, short stories, etc., improving writing in more structured disciplines as well. – Reese Harper, ’20

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As an English major, I tend to do a lot of reading – more specifically poetry, as it is my favorite of the arts. Along with this, I write a tremendous amount in my free time. Writing is undoubtedly a past time I take great care in. However, there is only so much you can do behind the wondrous canvas of a notebook. Therefore, I joined SAGE as a way to become more involved within the English department. I highly encourage prospective English majors to indulge in the Literary Form and Interpretation course with Dr. Davis. The course has allowed my writing to breathe and flourish under his instruction. If one desires to find a new light in the work of others, as well as breathe life into their own writing, Literary Form and Interpretation would be an amiable first step. – Nikki Howard, ’20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My name is Carly Schneider and I am a sophomore. I’m majoring in English and Sociology (but don’t ask me to pick a favorite). I enjoy writing, reading a good story, and discovering new pieces of myself… like the part of me that likes to paint but isn’t too good at it. I joined SAGE to assist the English Department in whatever ways I can. Amazing things do not happen unless people work together to make them happen. I like to help out wherever I can with the things I love. For future English majors, I recommend taking Beginning Creative Writing. I am currently in the class and can already say that I am learning to appreciate writing in new ways. It forces you to step outside your comfort zone and I believe that pushing your boundaries is what college is all about. – Carly Schneider, ’20

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My name is Clay Waidelich and I am a sophomore English major as well as an Education minor. I enjoy keeping up on all Cleveland sports and reading in my free time. I joined SAGE because it is a great opportunity to help develop the department. My highest class recommendation would be English 280 with Dr. Invorvati. – Clay Waidelich, ’20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Senior Thesis Spotlight: Joey Sechrist, “Patriarchal Capitalism and the Marxist-Feminist Transnational Literary Response”

20170920_100514Throughout the course of the year, Wittenberg’s senior English majors will begin working on their theses. One of the many English Department’s seniors who have begun work on their senior thesis is Joey Sechrist.

Although he is far from finishing his thesis work during the fall semester, he shared the topic of his thesis and his advice for fellow seniors and underclassmen as they begin working on and thinking about their theses:

The working title for my honors thesis is “Patriarchal Capitalism and the Marxist-Feminist Transnational Literary Response.” I chose this topic because of my strong interest in studying the intersection of economic and social oppression. I believe that global systems of patriarchy and capitalism cannot be adequately addressed with an exclusively economic or social lens, so I found it necessary to merge these fields. Additionally, patriarchy and capitalism work together in very specific ways in order to uphold their mutually reinforcing ideological structures. I believe that literature provides a gateway to understanding these systems when addressed on a transnational scale; patriarchal capitalism is a global phenomenon, but it cannot be homogenized without respect to its unique local dimensions.

Therefore, I chose to examine three writers working in different forms and literary traditions in order to begin the formation of a global literary response to patriarchal capitalism. I chose to work with Dorothy Allison’s American novel Bastard Out of Carolina, Alan Moore’s British graphic novel V For Vendetta, and Junot Diaz’s Dominican American short stories in Drown and This is How You Lose Her. Each writer addresses uniquely perspectival aspects of patriarchal capitalism. For example, Allison unpacks the reinforcement of gendered working class identity, Moore illustrates the dynamics of individual relationships to critically humanize the mechanics of fascism, and Diaz attempts to reconcile a Dominican identity with a struggle for masculine fulfillment and success in the United States. I believe that each of these authors pose unique critiques of patriarchal capitalism, which may be fully understood through a Marxist-feminist lens posed within a transnational methodology.

I was fortunate enough to receive a grant in order to work on this thesis over the summer. So far, I have written approximately 60 pages and I have plenty of work remaining, which I hope to finish during the spring semester. My research is grounded heavily in Marxist and feminist political theory, economics, and sociology, although I have also found it necessary to ground my work in transnational literary theory. Ideally, I would like to continue working with Marxist and feminist theory in an English graduate program, as I believe literature provides a form through which resistance to oppression may be uniquely humanized.

My advice to prospective thesis writers is to start early and find a way to incorporate your interests into your work. While I do not have a strong interest in any particular field of literature, my passion for political theory led me towards a literary project in which I could feel wholly invested. Find the value that literature can hold for you, and start your work from there!

Prof. Fallon’s Sabbatical: Writing Her First Novel

After a professor has been granted tenure, they are able to take either a semester or year off from teaching, known as a sabbatical, to further their research on a current project, or to spend time writing on prior research they have gathered.

Two Wittenberg professors are on sabbatical during the fall semester, Professor D’Arcy Fallon and Dr. Cynthia Richards. Here is a preview of what D’Arcy has been working on during the summer months and these first five weeks away from Wittenberg:

“I’ve been in Nova Scotia ten days. I’ve mastered how to lock the front door, learned where to take a free shower, and learned the finer points of separating the trash into garbage, compost, and recyclables. As for the toilet, well, I’m still learning.” – July 16, 2017

As that journal entry from the summer of 2017 attests, I spent nearly two months in a little cabin built on stilts above the Atlantic Ocean without plumbing or running water. I was in Nova Scotia with my two dogs, China and Sebastian, trying to get a running start on my fall sabbatical. I believed that some intensive alone time in a primitive cabin without modern-day distractions would help me get cranking on The Yum Yum Bus, a novel about a creative writing teacher who must negotiate the tricky territory between praise and truth-telling. (It did!)

I had access to electricity, a tiny fridge, and an assortment of lackadaisical space heaters. But there was no TV, no internet, no bathtub, and very spotty phone service. It rained the first three weeks I was there. I wrote in my journal, “Forty-six degrees outside and this place feels like it’s constructed out of Popsicle sticks.”

“Cleaning” the cabin, I accidentally touched a few panes of ancient window glass too vigorously and broke them. At low tide, using a ten-foot ladder, I tried to putty in new panes, only to break those too. I was on a first-name basis with the people at the hardware store. Did I mention it was cold and rainy?

The cabin was located in Vogler’s Cove, on the Atlantic side. I loved living by the tidal clock. My bedroom was located directly above the ocean and I could feel the tide surging in the middle of the night. The sunsets were breathtaking, the morning fog a delight, and the birds and ocean critters afforded non-stop entertainment. It was like watching The Animal Planet nonstop, without commercials. There were lots of challenges, but overcoming them became part of the charm of life at The Black Duck. I mastered using the Incinolet Carefree toilet, which burns solid waste. As for the other kind of waste, a hole in the floor above the ocean sufficed. I thought about re-naming The Black Duck “Camp Commando.” There are many things to be embarrassed about in this world, but going to the bathroom should not be one of them.

Now it’s September in Springfield, Ohio. Did I mention it’s cold and rainy? My office wall at home is covered with three by five cards, taped notes and charts and little phrases are helping me concentrate on The Yum Yum Bus. I have never written a novel before. I am extremely grateful for this time to write and I vow I’ll have a draft of the book finished by the end of December. And if I can’t keep that promise, there’s always Nova Scotia.

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Included is an excerpt of some of the work Prof. Fallon has written thus far:

The Vapors: Crescent Beach, Nova Scotia

There were a few moments when the sun burned through the fog and it was actually hot and I thought I might go swimming, but then the fog swirled in. I would not have been surprised to see someone in a trench coat with the collar turned up scurry by. With fog, you never know what you’re getting. Love, romance, lost pets, confessions, old movie stars.

Who walks in the fog? Who are you? The tide is low and the ocean is sighing: fog, fog, fog. Waves roll up on the shore, sandpipers run, kids fly kites, people kiss on the sand dunes, dogs chase sticks. We’re all newborns in the fog: blind, intimate, random, strangers.

Walking in the fog is like opening a birthday present. Unwrap the moment. We’re in a cocoon of mist, swaddled in clouds, diapered in moisture. Maybe it’s the last day of life as we know it. We’re all here, with our dogs and tennis balls, sun screen and bottled water, folding chairs and metal detectors.

Look. Three adolescent girls in bikinis do cartwheels. A grandmother in a fuchsia windbreaker takes photographs. The sweet black lab looks like a sugar donut as he rolls in the sand.

I am a visitor from another country, a pilgrim trying to make a fresh start. Is it here, on the beach? Will you take me in? Fog forgives. It looks the other way. Make me yours.

The List: Can An English Major Complete It?

Since its inception in 2010, The List has been a challenge to Wittenberg’s English majors and students alike. Although it may seem impossible, alumnus Jordan Hildebrandt, a geology and computer science double major, became the first (and only) student to complete The List in 2012.

With sixty-four names inscribed in The List’s sign-up book, why has only one, and not even an English major, been able to complete The List in its seventy-five book entirety?

Sophomore Sophie Reutter was quick to add some input of her own after signing on to complete The List last year:

I chose to sign up for The List a little over halfway through my freshman year last year in hopes of being able to complete it by senior year. I mainly chose to do this since I adore literature and I really wanted to do something that would help to propel my English major forward in a way that I wasn’t expecting. I haven’t gotten very far into the long list of titles, but I do most of the reading over the summer. I don’t think it is terribly difficult, but I do see where the trepidation would come in with having to see the professors who have also read the stories. It isn’t surprising that some English majors may consider themselves introverts and may get a serious amount of anxiety when they have to think about going to talk with an absolute stranger. I don’t think English majors are able to finish the task because the minds of English majors work very differently. We’ll be thinking of one thing one second and another the next. Not to say that we are all scatter-brained, but we have a very strong sense that we should always be doing something, and perhaps The List isn’t something people deem “worthwhile” to complete. I think we might also never finish it because it isn’t a recommended or “required” reading list. We may be missing the incentive to get such a gigantic task out of the way.

In the past three years, the most a student has completed is a total of four discussions.

Professor Robin Inboden also shared her thoughts on the process and possible reemergence in popularity of The List:

I think The List is hard to complete in four years when you’re a full-time student because the things you read in your courses create a completely different “list.” Some of the works on The List are taught in classes, but students, of course, can’t choose their courses only to catch items on The List. I haven’t read all the items on the current list because a lot of them are contemporary or outside my specialties, or from genres that may not be as appealing to me. The magic of attempting The List when you’re young–in college–is that your tastes are still being formed, and the variety can be eye-opening and world-widening… Unfortunately, I haven’t had anyone request a List item discussion in years. It makes me a little sad, but I still get to discuss some of the works with students in my classes… My advice (to students) would be to start by discussing books you’ve already read and know well with the appropriate professor. Find out which books are likely to be taught in some class or other and see if any of them are ones you’re likely to take, then wait to read those then. Use your summers and breaks.

With only a handful of current students signed up to tackle The List, it seems unlikely that a student in the classes of 2018 or 2019 will complete The List. However, with a few dedicated students who love to read, The List can be a great incentive to try a little of various genres, and also to get acquainted with all of the English Department’s wonderful professors.

The List’s sign-up book is in the English Department for those who wish to challenge The List. Once a student completes 35 books, the department will buy the student a copy of their favorite book from the List. If a student completes 50 books, they have the option of adding a book of their choice to The List, like Jordan’s selection of Flatland. Students can stop in to see Christina Reynolds for more information.

A list of professors and their selections for The List books can be found here.