Today's graduating senior profile is with Chris "Chainsaw" Pliny, English Club regular and Literacy Day organizer extraordinaire.
What were the most valuable experiences of your English major (and of course, why)?
Perhaps my most valuable experience as a major was taking Dr. Wells' Shakespeare class. I had no confidence in reading the Bard beforehand, but upon finishing the course I was able to critically analyze his work. Later that year, something happened when I read As You Like It that really solidified for me what it meant to read a text. It was the first time I used critical articles to look at a text when I wasn't reading it for a class or paper. Very nerdy, but very enlightening as well. I sum up Shakespeare this way:
Reading him is like the weight that baseball players put on their bats during warm-up. Shakespeare makes reading other texts feel lighter than air.
What are your immediate post-graduation plans (including educational/professional ones)?
My immediate post graduate plans are to write for Dish Magazine, a small, online publication. I do their health section and will also be doing a sex and relationships column (hopefully). The battle of the sexes fascinates me. This job will only be part time so I will take other jobs to help make ends meet. Already have another lined up, so I should be set. I will also be working on my first book. And doing research for it.
Have your favorite writers changed since you’ve been here? Who are they now and why?
My favorite writers really haven't changed. During my junior year of high school, I was introduced to Mark Twain, Robert Frost, ee cummings and Edgar Lee Masters and I love all of them, still. Mark Twain, especially. But I have also added a considerable amount of favorites, particularly Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, William Carlos Williams, Shakespeare, Tim O'Brien, Cormac McCarthy, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, David Sedaris, and Michael Crichton (though, he has been a favorite since I was a child). I would say that college really solidified my love of American literature. I thank Dr. Trout for that--and her American Lit II class.
True or False: "April is the cruellest month."
April has always been my favorite time of the year in Nashville. Call me sentimental.
Any shout outs on your way out?
I would love to give shout outs to Dr. Trout first and foremost. Thanks for everything. It was one of the greatest blessings to have you as my advisor. Thanks for harassing me, too. But I still disapprove of your reading US Weekly.
Dr. Wells: Thanks for all of your encouragement last Spring. And for your wit. Some of my favorite characters in all of literature came from your classes (Feste, Volpone).
Dr. John: What can I say? Your poetry class changed my life's course. I may be broke for the rest of it, now, but as Fiddler Jones says:
And I never started to plow in my life 20
That some one did not stop in the road
And take me away to a dance or picnic.
I ended up with forty acres;
I ended up with a broken fiddle—
And a broken laugh, and a thousand memories, 25
And not a single regret.
Bon Bons: We will always have Africa. Thanks for just being cool. And always supportive. I don't think I'll ever know you as anything else but Bon Bons.
The English Club: Thanks for thinking "Let's Get Textual" was cool. I'm the innuendo king. Call me next year for ideas.
What would it have been valuable for you to know as you were starting your English major? Would you have done anything differently, knowing what you know now?
What would have been valuable to know? That it would have turned EVERYTHING into a text. Even people. Oh, and that authors don't count. Only narrators. That has been great in dating. "Honey, that wasn't me telling her she was sexy. That was just the narrator. BIG difference."