Beginning a Journal

I hate the genre of apologetic blog posts, but alas, one of my own is necessary, so…

As is evident from my list of recent posts, I have not been blogging much lately. It’s been a spotty summer of writing because of my preparation for, move to, and now performing of my new job at Utica College. My time at Utica has been quite enjoyable thus far, and I hope that as I continue to settle into the new semester I will feel a bit less exhausted and have more energy for writing.

There is also another potential impetus for my blogging. For the first time, I am having my writing students keep a journal. I’ve asked them to handwrite it rather than blogging or typing on a tablet because I think that it is much easier to simply jot notes informally when handwriting, whereas typing inevitably reminds one of typing a formal assignment. I have committed myself to keeping a journal along with my students, and am optimistic that some of what I write there will end up here in one form or another. I’ve attempted to keep paper journals a number of times before (the last was during my first year of graduate school) and failed rather quickly each time. This time I will be forced to keep it up for at least a semester, and maybe the habit will stick.

Published by danielshankcruz

I grew up in New York City and lived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Goshen, Indiana; DeKalb, Illinois; and Salt Lake City, Utah before coming to Utica, New York. My mother’s family is Swiss-German Mennonite (i.e., it’s an ethnicity, not necessarily a theological persuasion) and my father’s family is Puerto Rican. I have a Ph.D. in English and currently teach at Utica College. I have also taught at Northern Illinois University and Westminster College in Salt Lake City. My teaching and scholarship are motivated by a passion for social justice, which is why my research focuses on the literature of oppressed groups, especially LGBT persons and people of color. While I primarily read and write about fiction, I am also a devoted reader of poetry because, as William Carlos Williams writes, “It is difficult / to get the news from poems / yet [people] die miserably every day / for lack / of what is found there.” Thinkers who influence me include Marina Abramovic, Kathy Acker, Di Brandt, Ana Castillo, Samuel R. Delany, Percival Everett, Essex Hemphill, Jane Jacobs, Walt Whitman, and the New York School of poets. I am also fond of queer Mennonite writers such as Stephen Beachy, Jan Guenther Braun, Lynnette Dueck/D’anna, and Casey Plett. In my free time I’m either reading, writing the occasional poem, playing board games (especially Scrabble, backgammon, and chess), watching sports (Let’s Go, Mets!), or cooking (curries, stews, roasts…).

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