Finishing up my Master's in English at University of North Carolina Wilmington, and just received my Tier II certification as a Writing Consultant. Two and a half years ago I was behind a cheese counter in Earthfare with sore feet and aching joints. Now, I'm living the dream. I have so many people to thank for making this possible--Dr. Michelle Manning, Dr. Katherine Montwieler, Dr. Katie Peel, Prof. Caroline Powers, and Dr. Nick Crawford--and so many people that said "yes" when they could have said "no"--Dr. Lee Schweninger, Dr. Keith Newlin, Mrs. Anita Schnog--and I will never stop being grateful for their contributions to my advancement in academia.
I will be teaching two classes and taking two classes at Florida State University (FSU) Fall of 2022. If someone had told me that in 2015, when my career as a writer cratered because I had to abandon it to pull a paycheck, I would have laughed in their face. Now, I'm dumbstruck and grateful, and also excited to be welcome into the FSU English program to study literature, culture and media. Again, I'm in heaven.
I've traveled more this last semester than I have in my lifetime, and the traveling isn't over. One more trip to NYC and a trip to Tallahassee to find a new home. The family, luckily, are on this ride with me and everyone's coming. Thank heaven. I don't know what I would do without the people I love and who love me. The joy I'd have doing what I love would be tempered by the missing pieces of my life, but I'm being spared that.
I've attached my CV to the menu above. That will give you a more thorough understanding of the transformation that has come over my life. It's amazing.
Mike and I went to Paris! April in Paris! (It was cold. brrrr) I was awarded a Alfred & Anita Schnog Travel Award for Holocaust Studies. We visited all the memorials and then some. Paris, to me, is the perfect city. My French stinks, but I'm getting better. ;)
Here's the poster I made:
I was also awarded Michael D. Wentworth Student Travel Fellowship to study Fran Lebowitz in NYC in Feb 2022! Talk about cold, ugh! Mike and I met up with my daughter in NYC (a place I've visited a million times) and saw my regular haunts, but also those Lebowitz put in her "Pretend It's a City" Netflix special. It was a mind blow.
Here is the proposal that won the award:
“New York City Gestalt: In Search of Fran Lebowitz: Feb 20 to Feb 26, 2022” Fran Lebowitz made her name by publishing New York City (NYC) centric articles in The Village Voice and Interview Magazine. She said, “You know if you asked me if I hadn't been involved with those people in that scene [1970s NYC] and New York wasn't like that at that second I would have been a different person” (“Long Story” 8-9), thus it seems impossible to understand Lebowitz without understanding what she values about NYC; how NYC added, or replaced, the identity she left behind in New Jersey. Born Jewish in 1950, three years after Second World War reprisal murders waned in Europe, and at the height of the McCarthy Era, Lebowitz’s childhood occurred in a US ripe with privileges and prejudices. Specifically, I am interested in writers that had to process the rise, the existence, and the aftermath of the Second World War. Lebowitz is one of those writers. To better understand her small canon, The Fran Lebowitz Reader, I need to better understand the author in context with the era her writings reflect. In “Breeding Will Tell: A Family Treatment” (27-29), Lebowitz reflects on an incident that occurred after a magazine published her high school picture. A few acquaintances commented: “I really loved your deb picture, Fran,” suggesting that Lebowitz had been a WASP debutante, when in fact she was a Jewish, lesbian high school dropout from New Jersey. Her scathing rebuke to this repeated reidentification from her acquaintances prompted her to write a response couched with humor. In this essay, Lebowitz addresses their assumptions, and reestablishes her identity as the granddaughter of Russian, Czech and Hungarian immigrants, by offering up a counter-memory via a satirical rendering of her Hungarian aunt’s experiences surviving pogroms (as if the aunt were a debutante). “Breeding…” is the essay that made me choose Lebowitz for my research project for this Wentworth travel grant because its theme and intent intersects with my research interests in two ways: Holocaust narratives and theory related to norms’ complicity with violence, identity, and agency. In this way, Lebowitz is the perfect vehicle for my research; her writings address these themes. Specifically, my project entails visiting Lebowitz’s haunts, as listed in her Netflix’s “Pretend It’s a City,” to better understand what the writer values in NYC, what she wants to share with the world about the city, and its culture, and in this way extrapolate how the city might have shaped her writing. Then I will visit the NYC Holocaust Museum because she was born into a Jewish family impacted by the Holocaust, and that must, one would presume, have a profound impact on one’s writing. In this interview, she mentions her father served in the Army during the Second World War, and that she lived with her German uncle prior to moving to NYC, thus this avenue of inquiry seems particularly pertinent to my research. After the visit, I will write a reflective essay on my visit and how it intersects with Lebowitz’s texts, and what I learned.
Here's the poster I made:
A friend of my DIS teacher, Dr. Katie Peel, was attending Lebowitz's 'shows' in Chicago, I believe. Another academic--Dr. Michelle Abate from Ohio State University--allow me to reiterate--A COMPLETE STRANGER TO ME--bought this book, had Lebowitz sign it and dedicate it to me simply because. BECAUSE. That is why--despite all the challenges of being an academic--people still do it. The people in academia are wonderful. Dr. Abate certainly is, and so is Dr. Peel for mentioning my travel grant etc. etc. So much wonderfulness.
You can imagine that I'm only telling a 10% of what I experienced. It would be a firehose of information if I didn't cut it short. Long story short--it's been an amazing Spring 2022 at UNCW.
Until next time...