Spotlight: Ally

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Ally Talbot Pic

 

1) Tell me about yourself…. What are you studying? What year are you?

 

I’m a third-year in the MFA program in creative writing.

 

 

2) What do you like about working at the Writing Center?

 

I like discussing what’s assumed to be implicit knowledge. When I began college, I underestimated how much implicit knowledge there is in academia, and I’m happy to pass on what I’ve learned.

 

 

3) What is your favorite book?

 

There are so many I could name, but I’ll go with Whereas by Layli Long Soldier. It’s an incredible book that reclaims language used in treaties against Native Americans. Even if you think you don’t like poetry, this is a book to read.

 

 

4) When you are struggling with writing what you do you do?

 

Often, that means there’s an element of my writing that’s not working, and I’m trying to pretend it does. I generally take time away to refocus. For me, that means reading lots of the genre I’m trying to write, then doing an activity that allows my mind to wander (walking, baking, etc).

 

 

5) What advice do you have for students?

 

Whatever type of writing you’re trying to accomplish, read as much as you can of it.

 

 

6) What's your favorite part of speech/grammatical concept (either to talk about in sessions, or in general)?

 

Ever since Michael Shirzadian gave a talk about nominalization at a staff meeting, I’ve latched onto that grammatical concept. As I learned, nominalization is when an adjective or verb is made into a noun form (“decision” is the nominalization of “decide”; “happiness” is the nominalization of “happy”). Replacing nominals with the verb or adjective form is an easy way to make writing clearer.

 

 

7) What have you had the most fun writing?

 

My thesis, which is a collection of poetry. Creative work requires a lot of the same work as academic writing, but I love the chance to go against narrative logic and take sharp turns within a poem.

 

 

8) What's your favorite assignment to work on with clients?

 

Creative writing and ENG 1110 brainstorming sessions

 

 

9) What is one one motto that you incorporate into your life or your writing?

 

Let your drafts be messy. I’m a perfectionist, and there are plenty of things I don’t try because I can’t do them perfectly yet. Now, I try to give myself permission to try and mess up.

 

10) describe your perfect writing day

 

I like to write in short sessions, so even my perfect writing day would include a lot of other activities: reading outside and dictating lines on my phone as I walk.

 

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