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“Does poetry need paper?”: Writing Advice from Don DeLillo October 19, 2012

This week, the Chicago Public Library Foundation awarded novelist Don DeLillo the Carl Sandburg Literary Award, and to mark the occasion, DeLillo appeared at the downtown Harold Washington Library last night to read and discuss his latest work, The Angel Esmeralda, a collection of short stories.  It was an illuminating discussion.  Donna Seaman, the moderator, asked DeLillo about his influences and themes, but there were also many insights into DeLillo’s process as a writer. (more…)


Fear of Papers: A Tutor Coming Out September 25, 2012

Working at the writing center, it is usually assumed that you love to write papers. I am testifying today, however, that this is not always the case. (more…)


Finals Inspiration from Jack Kerouac November 7, 2011

Beyond the typographical errors (or stylistic choices? Hey, he’s following his own tip number 13.) of Jack Kerouac’s “Belief and Technique for Modern Prose” lie gems of wisdom, and some of the same advice peer writing tutors often dispense. Here are a few to guide you as you work on your final papers: (more…)


Why Do We Laugh at Gaffes? October 26, 2011

On Thursday night I attended a lecture series at Saint Xavier University. The guest lecturer was Robert Gibbs, the former press secretary for President Obama.

The talk was pretty good (probably not worth the $20 bucks I spent, but whadderyagonnado?). He shared some anecdotes about working with our President, and gave some interesting insight into the Republican primaries. He also gave a surprisingly effective answer to a question on how young people can avoid apathy. He noted that lobbyists in $2000 suits really like our apathy. They capitalize on it.



Expressing Yourself in Political Writing October 18, 2011

To some extent, getting people riled up is the goal of political writing.  Opinions and discussions should be exciting, forceful, and most of all, persuasive.  You want to motivate like-minded individuals to support whatever cause you’re writing about and draw readers into the drama of the struggle.  Additionally, you want to make your opponents reconsider their own viewpoints or, at the very least, start a discussion with you.  But how do you write politically without coming off as, for lack of a better word, a jerk? (more…)


Scrawl Episode 5 October 11, 2011

Cadets and…Cadet-etts?

Check out the latest episode of Scrawl, where we talked with Elliot from the CMWR about the Friday Writer’s Forum and engage in a vigorous debate about preferences between Electronic readers and traditional books. Also, see if you can guess the Word of the Day more accurately than your hosts do. It’s a tough one today: pleximeter.

Tune in for Scrawl this Friday for Episode six of season two and thanks for supporting the UCWBL and college radio!


Creative Prompts for Writing July 13, 2011

When you’re running short of ideas for your writing, there are a few methods via which you can try to get over the proverbial block that sits between you and your goal of writing. You can ask your friends, you can draw from something you’re already reading, you can sit outside and wait until you eavesdrop on an interesting conversation, so on and so forth. But one of the time-tested and age-old methods is, of course, to seek inspiration from a writing prompt.

I had every intention of writing a blogpost with a list of good resources for writing prompts online. I wanted to say “if you’re running dry of ideas, go here or here or here and here, and they should give you ample fuel for your writing drive.”

And this search was spurned by need. As some of you may know, I intend to participate in Camp NanoWriMo this summer, but I have not yet been able to start. Why? Lack of inspiration. So what better a topic for a blogpost than offering sources that I myself am in desperate need of. Right? Right? Ehhh.



Workshopping Outside of School June 29, 2011

Can you count on one hand the number of people outside of school who have read your work? This is a shame.  You may be thinking, “talk about a blessing, not a curse,” but allow me for a moment to express just a few of the reasons why workshopping is so invaluable to writers of all levels, and can be done even outside of a workshopping class at school.



The Presidency Is Being Campaigned For! Politics and the Power of the Passive Voice June 27, 2011

Americans will choose their next president on November 6, 2012.  Although this is many months away, the campaign for the presidency is already in full swing.  Each candidate seems to be promising that he or she will stand out among the competitors, but I guarantee you that one thing will be uniform across the political spectrum: the popularity of the passive voice. (more…)


Quick Questions — On Journaling for a Class June 22, 2011

Question: I am writing a journal for one of my classes.  Normally when I write a journal I write as if I am speaking out loud or tell a story.  My instructor reviewed my journal and stated there was a problem with my diction becasue I an using descriptions of myself.  She suggested I check with the writing center on problems when using casual diction.  She noted that was the major problem with journal.  I have written journals before and never had this problem.  Can you clarify for me the problems she is refering to in regards to casual diction?

Response: Casual language is fine for many things, and I can see why you would approach a journal with that tone. Of course, if the professor says you’re writing too casually, then you must be writing too casually, so let’s look at ways to change that.




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