Saturday, May 8, 2010

Five Questions with Logan Allen

Today's graduating senior interview is with Logan Allen, who set up the Anne Rice skype interview this past January...

What were the most valuable experiences of your English major (and of course, why)?

Many people complain about the way Belmont’s general education is set up. We do have a lot of extra classes and requirements that most universities don’t have: Third Year Writing, Theories of Writing, Junior and Senior Seminar, and Senior Capstone. But looking back, those classes were a joy and got me thinking about what I want to accomplish during by time at Belmont and what I want to do after I graduate. Of course in my writing classes I’ve learned to hone my writing skills, but I feel like my experience at Belmont would be incomplete without those general education courses listed above, because they reminded me of the big picture. At Belmont I’ve had a near perfect blend of learning to better myself intellectually and professionally, and I think that’s unique in an English program.

What are your immediate post-graduation plans (including educational/professional ones)?

I want to write novels, travel memoirs, and articles for food and travel magazines. I also want to continue my education. So I’ve decided to take a year off from school, complete the novel I’m working on, and try to get my foot in the door in the magazine industry. I plan on starting small, writing for local and trade magazines to work my way up to bigger publications—this is a long-term goal. I want to be published in any way, shape, or form. The industry is changing dramatically, and that’s scary, but it’s also exciting, because it’s a revolution of sorts. My generation is the generation that will shape the industry for the future.

Have your favorite writers changed since you’ve been here? Who are they now and why?

African American writing has become one of my favorite genres. The authors James Baldwin, W.E.B Du Bois, Booker T. Washington, and Fredrick Douglas have been some of my favorites. I was reluctant to read them at first because I thought that I wouldn’t be able to relate to them. And, I admit, I thought they would make me feel guilty about being a white man. The opposite was true. I marveled at the eloquence of the literature and deeply connected with their struggles. And they reminded me of injustices that still happen today: racism, sexism, and discrimination based on sexual orientation. Their stories are the stories of outsiders, and everybody feels like an outsider at some point in their lives.

True or False: "April is the cruellest month."

April is the cruelest. But I try to remind myself that at least I’m doing something that I love. I if I was spending my time cramming for finance exams and staying up till dawn working on accounting projects, I would not be nearly as happy as I am researching and writing papers.

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?

I really didn’t know what I was getting into when I changed my major to English. Just this week, in my senior seminar and capstone classes, I’ve been thinking about how working to improve my writing has affected so many other areas of my life. If someone had told me that writing is so much more than just a skill when I changed my major to English, I wouldn’t have believed it. Writing has made me a better thinker, a better listener, and a better observer, and my life is so much richer as a result. So I don’t feel like there is something that I would have liked to know when I started my major. I have no regrets. There were plenty of extracurricular ways to be involved on campus, and I was as involved as I wanted to be.