Majoring in English has been a labor of love and obsession that has greatly impacted my own creative writing. Having been exposed to a vast array of literature that I never would’ve contemplated reading on my own, I’ve discovered greater potential within myself than my ego had previously envisioned. I wrote the first draft of Tin Foil Hat during my first year at Ohio State. It developed over the course of a semester while I studied Fitzgerald, and more specifically The Great Gatsby under the guidance of a terminally ill professor. He lived with a greater zest for life than the vast majority of the people I’ve encountered by bringing passion to the classroom in spite of his illness, and he helped to remind me of my own confidence concerning the craft of writing. In returning the first assignment of the semester, he opened the notes with, “You may have the best prose style of an undergraduate I’ve ever read,” and then proceeded to tear it all down as any great educator should. On more than one occasion he would answer his cell phone in class, remind the person on the other end that he was in class, and promptly hang up without giving the other party a chance to respond. He engaged and even entertained in such a way as to create an atmosphere that I haven’t since encountered. When he suggested I might’ve been a better writer than him (in front of the class) I couldn’t differentiate between sincerity and sarcasm, but the ambiguity was part of his charm, and his continued words of appreciative encouragement would clarify his intension. The semester ended, and I’ve driven my writing forward with a confidence that I must credit to the push and expectations of David Myers.
I finished the draft, and Doctor Myers passed away last September. The academic year returned me to the full time school/work routine, and my manuscript would wait, backed up on a multitude of scattered flash drives. I would edit during free time, and in between semesters. I would read Woolf, Morrison, Nabokov, Faulkner, Shakespeare, and the vast majority of Renaissance English playwrights, in addition to countless others. My blog suffered due to scheduling conflicts and excuses, as my academic writing would come replace my creative endeavors.
While working on a production of Shakespeare’s Richard II last spring, my manuscript was being picked apart by my editor, Daniel Killinger. The semester wrapped up, and final arrangements were made for publication. In comparing Tin Foil Hat to my first piece of fiction The Blue Moon Catastrophe, I’ve come to find a style that has developed thanks to the time and effort applied to my studies of English literature. The Fitzgerald influence is something I see in a great many scenes, coupled with the scathing satirical style that I still credit to my obsession with the novels of John Niven (in fact, I wrote a paper on what Fitzgerald called ‘The Price of Admission’ which I had first discovered while reading Niven’s Straight White Male).
I’m almost done with my undergraduate studies at Ohio State, and due to my half-time schedule this fall, I will write with confidence that I’ll be blogging with a bit more regularity.