All posts by Becca Betty

ENWL in our Midnights Era

Taylor’s new album, The Tortured Poets Department, has officially dropped and we are in our Midnights era because we stayed up till midnight to get our first listen.

In Midnights (2022) Taylor returns to her pop roots featuring upbeat songs with sharp, honest lyrics. You and your friends can party all night long with the top songs from this album including “Bejeweled,” “Lavender Haze,” and “Karma.” This album captures sleepless nights and the wish to just have some fun.

You may be in your Midnights ENWL era to if you:

  • Are a bit of an insomniac
  • Are a dedicated journal-keeper who loves keeping track of the little things
  • Gets tested but always bounces back
  • Will “go to sleep” but posts on socials until 2 AM
  • Are a member of Her Campus
  • Are looking forward to taking ENGL 221 – Intro to Linguistics next semester

 

Faculty and staff in their Midnights era:

Graduate Assistant Becca Betty is in their Midnights era because they “laid the groundwork and then just like clockwork” all the amazing ENWL events came to be! Becca is a “mastermind” at organizing at creating events and content for all to enjoy, and we celebrate them for all of their hard work.

Dr. Kim McCollum-Clark is in her Midnights era because you best believe she is still “bejeweled!” Her knowledge in various fields and disciplines shines through all of her work, making the department “shimmer” with various potential pathways for ENWL majors.

ENWL Connections in Midnights

One of the biggest connections Taylor makes is to Jane Eyre in her song “Dear Reader.” Jane Eyre is a novel by English author and poet Charlotte Brontë. It is a work of fiction that follows the childhood and early adulthood of the namesake of the novel, Jane Eyre.

The full line in the novel that Taylor references is “Dear reader, I married him.” This sentence breaks the fourth wall and directly addresses the audience, drawing them into the protagonist’s decision to marry the man at the center of Jane’s whirlwind romance. Swift’s use of the phrase has a similar effect as she encourages her audience to be cautious in risk-taking but to take a chance anyways at one point saying, “Dear reader// When you aim at the devil make sure you don’t miss.”

Thank you for joining us on our Taylor Swift journey—we will have one more week of bonus content because we can’t resist talking about the new album:)

Research Corner: Time Invested vs Goal Payoff

One of the important aspects to consider when setting up a research project is finding the delicate balance of time invested versus goal payoff. Setting achievable goals for content creation that will have the best expected payoffs, whether it’s a certain level of interaction on a post or connecting students with valuable information, can be difficult. One way to mitigate these challenges is to have a discussion at the outset of the project to be reasonable about what your team can achieve and what will meet the needs of your intended audience to the best of your ability. It is also helpful to have a voice of reason who will help reign in wild ideas that may not have the payoff the project needs (Dr. Pfannenstiel is very good at this:) ). Finally, acknowledging that your project will need to be adaptable to meet the unexpected needs that come up in either the logistics of carrying out a project or the ever-shifting goals of your target audience is key to success.

ENWL RED and 1989 Era

The Department of ENWL is continuing our Taylor Swift era this week with Taylor’s fourth album RED and fifth album 1989.

RED (2012; Taylor’s Version 2021) leans into an aesthetic that has become known as “sad girl Autumn,” evoking tumultuous reckonings with breaking up, growing up, and moving on. Top tracks from RED include “I Knew You Were Trouble When You Walked In,” “22,” and “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” Some of these more vibrant tracks tend to outshine some of the gentler tracks that reveal the hidden artistry of Taylor’s lyricism, including the track “All Too Well,” that draws heavy influence from Chilean poet Pablo Neruda.

1989 (2014; Taylor’s Version 2021) on the other hand is a beachy album crafted for late summer listening featuring vibes that are equal part wistfully nostalgic and longingly dreamy. Top tracks from 1989 include “Blank Space,” “Bad Blood,” and “Wildest Dreams” from the Deluxe version which went viral on TikTok in 2021.

You may be in your RED era too if you:

  • Are always ready to analyze
  • Enjoy movies that re longer than 2 hours
  • Favorite movie is one most people have never heard of
  • Are a member of Film Club
  • Constantly change your Letterboxd top four favorites

You may be in your 1989 era too if you:

  • Are always on the go
  • Take crazy detailed notes
  • Stay out too late
  • Love to be transported by what you read
  • Are a member of Ville AAUW

Faculty In Their RED and 1989 Eras

Dr. Antolin is in his RED era because of his extensive work with the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, who Taylor draws great inspiration from for this album. Taylor’s songs “Red” and “All Too Well” reflect his influence particularly from the poem “Tonight I Can Write (The Saddest Lines).” You can read a translation of the poem here.

Fun fact: Dr. Antolin is also a musician! He plays the classical guitar.

Dr. Corkery is in his 1989 era because of the unexpected connection between hip-hop and Taylor Swift on 1989. Artist Kendrick Lamar is featured on the song “Bad Blood,” and in Dr. Corkery’s literature and hip-hop course, students are able to learn more about the history of rap music and why it is an important part of our culture.

Both RED and 1989 have some unexpected ENWL connections. Red features Taylor’s first mini-film for the song “All Too Well” following the tale of jilted lovers. The fall aesthetics and whirlwind affair has a similar vibe to the classic romcom When Harry Met Sally. At one point, Harry even wears a red scarf – maybe he also stole it from an ex;) On 1989, Taylor features references to Lewis Carroll’s 1865 novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland within her song “Wonderland.” Some lyrics that pay direct homage include “fell down a rabbit hole” and “with a Cheshire Cat smile.” She also references the classic 1850 novel The Scarlet Letter in her song “New Romantics” with the lyric “we show off, our different scarlet letters, trust me mine is better.”

You don’t have to wait to see us in your “Wildest Dreams,” follow us on Instagram and Facebook to stay up to date with all our Taylor Swift content:)

Research Corner (Taylor’s Version): Revisiting and Reflecting on Content

While Taylor’s reason for rerecording her albums is to reclaim ownership and divest from her previous record label, her actions speak to a powerful practice in ENWL research and content strategies. Revisiting and reflecting on content is a valuable skill that both reiterates and transforms knowledge. For Taylor, not only do her “Versions” allow her to rectify possession of her voice and content, but they allow her to build on her past creations and even add tracks from her vault. In our research, each week we have new data and content to generate, but taking a moment to revisit our existing content reminds us to share important updates and events to our story. Creating intentional spaces for reflection also gives us the chance to celebrate accomplishments and recognize our growing community. With this in mind, we can fashion achievable goals –including our goal of growing our follower account on Instagram to 200 by the end of the semester (we are currently at 179). While this metric is not a be all end all evaluation of engagement, in our ongoing efforts to understand how the current digital landscape can create opportunities for connection, follower counts represent an aggregate web of accounts we’ve reached  and curious individuals who want to interact with us. We hope that increasing our followers will help us share our information and ENWL values with a wider audience, allowing for the formation of meaningful connection.

ENWL Debut Era

We’re kicking off our Taylor Swift Era by highlighting ENWL connections to her first album! Taylor’s first album shares her name but has become known to Swifties as simply Debut. Released in 2006, this album is heavily connected to Taylor’s roots in the country music genre with her top hit from the album named after Country singer/songwriter Tim McGraw. The aesthetics from the album capture light-hearted simplicity featuring butterflies, flowers, and her acoustic guitar in shades of baby blue.

You may be in your Debut ENWL era too if you are:

  • In ENGL 110 – English Composition
  • Always over prepared
  • Just starting off in your writing journey
  • Will skip a class to go home early for break
  • Makes at least 3 drafts before submitting a paper
  • Will most likely visit the Writing Center
  • A member of the English Club

Dr. Rea is also in his Debut era because this is his first year as a professor at Millersville. “The Outside,” one of the tracks from this album, starts with the lyrics “I didn’t know what I would find” and we hope that Dr. Rea has found lots of great things in our department! This song also features a connection to Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken,” with the lyrics “I tried to take the road less traveled by” echoing Frost’s famous lines. Click on this link to read “The Road Not Taken” or check out another poem by Frost that shares Debut’s aesthetic: “Blue-Butterfly Day.”

Have you noticed any other unexpected connections to this album? Comment below to let us in on what you catch! Also, stay up to date with all our Taylor Swift content on Instagram and Facebook where we’ll see you next week with more “enchanting” fun;)

 

Research Corner – Data Logging

Week one logistics of our social media research project involved setting up data tracking log sheets and guidelines for collection. To set up our log sheet (see image below) we had to answer two primary questions a) what data is available and b) when should we collect data to make sure we are capturing meaningful information (without overloading our team with work). For our first week, we’ve settled into collecting information that is publicly available through each platform’s built in data analytic software. For data we expect to have slower growth (follower/subscriber/event attendance counts) we’ve decided to collect weekly numbers and for data we expect to change more rapidly (likes/shares/comments) we’ve decided to collect numbers at 24-hrs, 48-hrs, and at 1 week intervals until the conclusion of the study (with a total of 6-weeks for each data point). We hope that this range of data will be able to be used to determine if there is a significant impact (represented by an increase in these various metrics) from using Taylor Swift influenced content. We’ve separated our sheet into 6 sections (one for each week) with additional tabs for method notes and screenshots with sections on each tab for user added notes to document who is posting what when.

ENWL Enters Our Taylor Swift Era

With the announcement of Taylor Swift’s upcoming album titled The Tortured Poets Department, the English and World Languages Department is kicking off Taylor Swift themed events and fun leading up to a listening party on April 19th when the album drops. On this blog and social media, we will be moving through Taylor’s discography chronologically posting about unexpected connections Taylor Swift’s music has with English and World Languages (ENWL) by highlighting media, critical theories, research methods, and faculty interests tied into themes and literary connections in Taylor Swift’s lyrics and eras for each album.

This content strategy will also function as a 6-week study to measure student engagement metrics utilizing celebrity impact to generate interest in all things ENWL. Using Taylor Swift as inspiration will draw on an existing fandom to build a discourse community and provide a large base of material to fuel content. Not only will this allow us to potentially promote ENWL topics to a larger audience, but we will also be demonstrating our research techniques for this project by sharing our process on this blog including our world building strategies and research methods to show why and how ENWL research works.

The purpose of this study is two-fold: first it will establish a quantifiable content strategy to model systems of social media usage to determine the usefulness of social media to academic departments, and second it will provide additional means for students to connect with peers, professors, and ENWL media to establish community while also modeling ENWL research methods and methodologies for students to engage with. For this project, we will collect data that measures specific metrics of engagement on social media (likes, shares, comments, follower number) as well as in-person events (sign-in sheets). We will be sharing our process, documentation, and insights to show you in real time what ENWL research can do!

Join us for the next six weeks here, on Instagram (@ville.englishworldlanguage), and on Facebook (Millersville University, Department of English) as we present Swiftie connections to our discipline and envision new ways for our students to connect with each other and ENWL materials. The Department of ENWL is officially in our Taylor Swift era:)

Highlights from Reading and Conversation Event with Julia Fiedorczuk

This week, Millersville welcomed renowned Polish writer, poet, translator, and researcher Julia Fiedorczuk on the last stop of her North American tour. She read from her latest collection of poetry, Psalms, which was awarded the prestigious Wisława Szymborska Prize in Poland in 2018 as well as selections from her unreleased novel, The House of Orion, providing context and insight on her process and conceptual and physical groundings.

She sat facing us, a mixed crowd of approximately 40 community members, faculty, and students, in a red armchair in the Ford Atrium. Beside her, Dr. Katarzyna Jakubiak acted as moderator and co-presenter as each poem presented was read twice, first in Polish by Fiedorczuk and then in English by Dr. Jakubiak. Fiedorczuk remarked that she prefers to not read her poems aloud in English stating “I can’t read them not because I dislike them, they’re beautiful, but because Polish is so connected to me,” expressing a gratefulness to Bill Johnston, the translator for both Psalms and an earlier work Oxygen. The depth of her connection was evident, even to non-Polish listeners. She spoke in a soft breathy voice with conviction and pressing flow, transporting the audience in gentle percussive insistence into her work that interweaves narratives of human trauma and resilience with environmental beauty and catastrophe.

In simultaneously engaging two often juxtaposed topics, she masterfully shapes a dialogue that addresses both the ongoing climate crisis and human crises (most notably the great migration crisis in Europe that begin around 2013) challenging divisions of science and humanities, noting that these are the same struggle. The ongoing loss of biodiversity is inextricable from the loss of human life and language and vice versa. As such, Fiedorczuk powerfully argues for “science to be informed by poetry” stating that “literature needs to be precise and science needs to be imaginative.” Poetry specifically offers the ability to tap into human imagination that she describes saying, “imagination is a wonderful thing and imagination is a wild thing,” noting that human imagination is collective and often “more than” human. This ability to place ourselves in collective imaginings is key to understanding Psalms that explores the complicated interplay of two primary emotions: despair and joy.

Placing these two emotions in confluence creates a needed perspective that shares moments of the “absolute unconditional acceptance of life” and the “possibility of having real authentic joy” in the face of the complex fears of global climate and humanitarian issues. This is partly accomplished by centering the physical experience of language drawing from its oral beginnings and exploring how “little portions of sound” can create meaning. Describing this work as a “somatic translation,” that is partially a translation and interpretation of the Biblical poems of the same name, Fiedorczuk studied Hebrew and even memorized some of the verses so she could sing them and embody the experience of language. Despite the religious nature of the original material, she emphasized that her poems are not religious at all. They are “prayers” but only in the sense that they address someone who can potentially respond – like a crying child, who uses sound before they can construct meaning, is still calling someone, addressing someone. In this way, her Psalms are meant to invite or invoke another presence.

Humble and honest, Fiedorczuk also shared her struggle to find relevance as a writer in the face of such extreme human and natural suffering. After visiting the Białowieża Forest in 2021, a place for her that is rooted in mystical reverence as it is one of the oldest forests in Europe, she found herself questioning her value as a writer while witnessing the struggles of migrants who were displaced in the forest, sold on a false dream that it would offer an easy way to enter Europe. Her doubts about whether or not it was meaningful for her to write anymore had overtaken her until a friend reminded her “but that’s what you do, just do your job.” This experience is reflected in her poem “Cold” that states “Even when bombs are falling you ought to write” that also uses part of a phone call from someone who became trapped in the forest as part of Poland’s response to the migration crisis. She recognizes that her approach to these circumstances is not necessarily a solution, stating that while writing is “not going to solve problems, I’m a writer and that’s my contribution.” She also stated that even in the face of the global epidemic of hopelessness and numbness, “something can always be done” and that there is “always a way to help someone. Always a way to deeply care for someone or something.”

For many of us in the discipline of English and World Languages studies, that way is writing. Fiedorczuk suggests that when we feel hopelessness creep into our own lives to practice “place writing” that centers noticing and knowing what is immediately around you, leaving preconceived ideas behind; “start where you are, start with small things, start with noticing what’s around you.” In so doing, writing can allow us to build new ways of knowing and practice resiliency and recognize that “this life is extremely valuable, and we cannot wait for all these crises to be over because that may never happen. The art is to live in the present.”

 

We are very grateful to Julia Fiedorczuk for visiting and sharing her work (despite a twisted ankle!) and to Dr. Jakubiak and the Department of English and World Languages for hosting the event. Read selected poems from her latest book Psalms here: https://www.harvardreview.org/content/psalms/?fbclid=IwAR3mIzvhCxFtylEXd948anhK5FyyH-wpdsjrbKPsxyZBTaOHC8uwD_tz-rs

 

 

Valentine’s Book Recs 2024

It’s that time of year again when love is in the air and in the pages –check out our Faculty and Staff recommendations for romantic reads below!

Love in the time of Serial Killers   by Alicia Thompson

Recommended by Dr. Pfannenstiel

While writing her doctoral dissertation, the protagonist moves to Florida to sell her father’s house – and falls in love with her neighbor whom she suspects is a serial killer. This is such a lighthearted romance read. There are so many misunderstandings, mixed in with the real pressures of navigating imposter syndrome, higher education, and real life – all at the same time. That level of real-ness really resonated, making the romance tropes even more enjoyable.

Check out a free physical copy with your Lancaster Libraries card here.

Divine Rivals by Rebecca Ross

Recommended by Dr. Baldys

Two rival journalists fall in love while exchanging letters during a magical war. This book is an enjoyable blend of period piece (think British World War 2 vibes) plus an enemies-to-conspirators-to-lovers plotline, seasoned with magical realism and Ross’s lyrical prose. I’ve been on a YA kick recently and found Ross’s novel to be a standout: enchanting and satisfying without being sensationalist, and legitimately well written, too. Enjoy!

Check it out here!

Enchanted to Meet You by Meg Cabot

Recommended by Heather Verani

This paranormal romantic comedy novel is about a self-made witch who must team up with a handsome stranger to help protect her village from an otherworldly force. With the tag line of “It’s magic when you meet your match,” this book is an easy to read, slice of cheesy romance that we all need in our lives. I first picked up this book because the title is a line from the Taylor Swift song “Enchanted.” I love both witchy books and the romance genre, so I thought this would be a fun read!

Check out a physical copy for free with your Lancaster Libraries Card!

The Only Purple House in Town by Ann Aguirre

Recommended by Becca Betty

This book flirts with the supernatural and interweaves romance and found family as a group of strangers begin renting rooms together in The Only Purple House in Town. The main character, Iris Collins, has failed repeatedly to meet her family’s expectations and is struggling to find her place in the world. She inherits a house from a deceased relative and begins refurbishing and renting out the rooms to people that at first seem like unlikely misfits. The novel follows the repairing of the house and the hearts of its residents, embracing the human and the monstrous to overcome stereotypes about success, queer relationships, and what it means to be a family. Whimsy, sweet, and soulful, this book is an excellent read for anyone looking to be reassured that they can find love in themselves and others.

Access it for free online through Hoopla with a Lancaster Libraries Card!

The ENWL Student Lounge is now open!

The Department of English and World Languages is pleased to announce the opening of our student lounge! This new space transforms an old office into a place for English and World Languages students to work, study, or hang-out. Located on the first floor in McComsey 248, the student lounge will be open to all students on weekdays from 8AM to 9PM.  

Students and faculty gathered on Friday to celebrate at our ribbon cutting ceremony with cupcakes and coffee. Dr. Emily Baldys shared the poem “In the Library” by Charles Simic with those gathered to commemorate this event and envision a future for the space. You can read it here https://poets.org/poem/library  

The student lounge is curated by students, for students with members of the Student Leadership Council contributing ideas and design to create a functional area to gather with like-minded peers. At the opening celebration today, a few SLC members commented on what it was like to be involved in this process and what they hope this space will mean for the ENWL community. 

The student lounge features comfy chairs, a mini-fridge, microwave, coffee maker, and charging station as well as fun literature decor from the department’s archives and information about student organizations and upcoming department events.

Shout out to our Student Leadership Committee lead by Assistant Department Chair, Dr. Emily Baldys, for helping us coordinate this project and the Department of English and World Languages for funding. 

Check out the map below for more info on how to get there. Feel free to drop-by to eat or study. Clubs can reserve the room for meetings or events by contacting Dena McEwan: Dena.McEwan@millersville.edu

Faculty Feature: Dr. Pfannenstiel

Dr. Nicole Pfannenstiel (she/her/hers) is an Associate Professor of English and the Graduate Coordinator. Dr. Pfannenstiel received her MA in English and PhD in Rhetoric, Composition, and Linguistics both from Arizona State. Her research revolves around “Sense of belonging and Graduate Pedagogy” and she has been working in graduate education for over 20 years. As the Graduate Coordinator, she states that “I want to work with student-centered pedagogical theories from undergraduate education to improve the graduate student learning experience. I work to bring high structure to graduate education, to draw attention to the hidden curricular pieces. My aim is to break down silos and barriers so our program supports all students, including marginalized students even more underrepresented in graduate school, attending, completing and succeeding in our graduate program.”

Earlier this year Dr. Pfannenstiel was recognized for her outstanding commitment to students on this campus with the 2023 Sarah Lindsley Person of the Year Award, presented by Millersville’s Student Government Association. She remarked about this honor that “there is no greater honor at a teaching focused institution than to be honored by the students.” She was also recently nominated for the EVA awards for her EPPIIC Professionalism for her continued commitment to helping students understand and take-on professional roles.

She carries the remarkable ethos that brought her these awards and recognition into her scholarship. Dr. Pfannenstiel’s new book Web Writing, which is published as a peer-reviewed Open Educational Resource (OER) on paadopt.org, is part of an ongoing grant to remove financial barriers to studies by creating OER textbooks to alleviate one of the hidden costs of education. Web Writing itself explores a rhetorical approach to web writing, content management, and meaning making in contemporary social media. This book works alongside her WRIT 318 curriculum focused on building an understanding of the rhetoric and content strategy of writing online. You can access the entire book for free here: (https://paadopt.org/bookshelf/web-writing/ ).

 

Here are some of Dr. P’s favorite Media!

Favorite book: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and so much P&P fanfiction.

Favorite movie: Stranger Than Fiction (2006)

Favorite TV show: Bones (2005)

Favorite videogame: AFK Arena – I am obsessed with casual games – this is my favorite mobile casual game with RPG elements.

 

What does it mean to Dr. Pfannenstiel to be an English and World Languages Scholar?

“When I stepped in as Graduate Coordinator there were several external pressures on graduate programs and graduate education. In the last five years those external pressures remain, but have shifted. In collaborative work with Dr. Kaitlin Mondello, we’ve found a focused attention on PhD programs and preparing PhDs for the reality of the professorate profession AND alt-ac positions. However, there is very little attention on regional, public, master’s granting institutions. We know our graduate programs are an important public good, we also know that students need different supports to support their work through the skill development required at the graduate level. When I began graduate school, the mentality was sink or swim. This doesn’t have to be the pedagogical approach. I was required to complete assignments, that I now see align with skills I’m using on a daily basis as a professor – bringing transparency to these assignments and overall curricular design is one of the most important decisions I’ve made as an educator. My goal is to work with all faculty, especially graduate faculty in the English & World Languages department, to bring transparency into our curricular design in ways that support graduate-specific skill development and professional development. Then, to continue collaborating with Dr. Mondello on publications and presentations so we raise scholarly awareness about the need to rethink approaches to graduate pedagogy. Essentially, I identified a need in a student population. I’ve devoted countless hours to research, presentations, grant funded projects, and hopefully in the near future publications to research and enact new pedagogical approaches to benefit learners. I think this is a really important way English and World Languages scholars carry our focus on the human experience into the real world. All areas of the English & World Languages department center the human experience in their research – I am extending those in specific ways. I see my research questions centered in the human experience. I see my research, presentations and grants as reflecting the scholarship valued by peers in the professorate. I see being a scholar as connecting my research to benefitting a community – specifically graduate students!”

 

Thank you Dr. Pfannenstiel for sharing your knowledge and commitment to your students!

Seth Ring Interview: Moving Towards Hope

Full-time fantasy author Seth Ring was able to join us this past week for a Q&A session to meet with students and answer questions about being a writer, building community, and to share insider knowledge about traditional and indie publishing methods. Seth has been publishing since 2018 and in 2021, he became a full-time writer. Now, with 25 books published and more on the way, Seth reflects on what he has learned, the communities he’s helped to build, and the sense of hope that is central to his works.

Seth is a Lit-RPG (Literary role playing game) fantasy author, drawing his stylistic and thematic design from conventions of game theory to shape his world-building and plots. He was initially drawn to this genre because he read a bad Lit-RPG novel and realized – “I can do a better job than this.” Seth leverages his base in Lit-RPG fantasy to expand into various other genres including traditional fantasy, horror, and western (as well as upcoming forays into Regency romance and utopian thriller) drawing inspiration from stories he read as a child that helped him learn to both escape and navigate the world. Seth describes his writing and publishing journey as initially “so much harder than he thought it would be” stating that there was a huge learning curve but that having a firm understanding of what you want, determining “where am I actually trying to go?,” is critical to creating an writing identity that is fulfilling. Whether you are mainly focused on commercial sustainability or artistic expression, Seth reassuringly asserts that “there are a million different ways to become an author.” Seth balances his ideals of writing between practical considerations and artistic sincerity, describing the reality of writing as a career occurring along a “sliding scale of money to craft” because there comes a time when a writer realizes “I wish I could eat this manuscript but I can’t.”

There are pros and cons to publishing on either side of the industry, with traditional publishers being outsold by Indie publishers but Indie publishers won’t put you in a bookstore. Seth cites the internet as a cause for the shifting industry which has “radically changed distribution but introduces some risk.” The internet is rife with pirating and AI copy-cats, but Seth isn’t worried about it mostly because even if someone reads stolen or plagiarized content, if they like it, they will most likely find their way to the source (ie Seth). In fact, this is how Seth gained his top three Patrons on his Patreon, so for Seth “Pirating is not necessarily a net loss because I’m going to keep writing better books.” He also encouraged writers to not be discouraged by the difficulties of modern day publishing, only to keep pressing on and continue writing because the “worst thing you can do as a writer is to stop writing.”

Seth also emphasized that establishing a platform for engagement (like Patreon) is a key resource to building your reputation as an author and establishing a community. While Seth admits that there is an element of luck to growing an online community, he’s also found that consistency, time, and content strategy can make a big impact. For Seth, while the internet does pose some risk, the benefits are worth it because the internet offers a unique way for readers to “engage with the people who wrote the books we love.” This engagement is not only key to Seth’s strategy, but also influences to some extent the works he creates. On a practical level, Seth feels responsible for “carrying those stories forward,” creating a consistent experience for his fans by communicating with them about when to expect updates and new releases. However, on an artistic level, Seth says he has a “strong sense of ownership over all of his stories” and that a “story doesn’t have to go the way they want it to go.” In this way, Seth has built a fan-base of recurring readers, even though some may not always like his works—they keep coming back. Seth recognizes this pattern of readerly interest as something that ebbs and flows; “people enjoy something in a season of their life, not all are going to stay forever, but if they are engaging in a constructive way that’s great.” Ultimately, Seth says if something sticks with the reader after picking up one of his works, he considers it a success because “people need connection” and he feels “I can provide something at least” to help foster those connections.

It is the hope and courage drawn from connections—between characters, their worlds, or even the divine—that are at the core of Seth’s work. Some of Seth’s inspiration for writing is drawn from his own experiences with loneliness and isolation in which stories and the characters in them were his “first gateways to connection” and that “stories have tremendous power to reshape the narrative to what we tell ourselves.” For Seth, stories and later writing itelf were a way out of dark places, offering Seth a means to process the world and find hope and courage to continue moving into the future. His books now carry this purpose forward with the intention that “when we start allowing for connection in our perspective, hope naturally follows.”

Want to read Seth’s work? He recommends starting with Battle Mage Farmer: Book 1 Domestication that he describes as a really fun story and a good introduction to his style of storytelling.

You can read his books by purchasing them on his site (https://sethring.com/ ) or from alternate vendors like Amazon, or by borrowing them from the Lancaster Public Library System. You can even become a Patron (https://www.patreon.com/SethRing ) and get fast access to new chapters as they are released. You can interact with Seth and other fans on Discord (https://discord.com/invite/ygz8wfCECR ), Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/mrsethring/ ), YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/@SethRingWrites ), or even email him directly at seth@sethring.com

Events Next Week! Author Seth Ring and National Day of Writing

The ENWL Department has two events planned for next week. Come out and learn more about the publishing industry on Tuesday and celebrate Writing on Friday!

Author Seth Ring Visit

On Tuesday October 17th from 6:30-7:30 PM in the Reading Room in the McNairy Library, author Seth Ring will share his knowledge of the self-publishing industry. Seth is a successful science fiction author with a number of running series including the Titan Series and Battle Mage Farmer. You can check out his website at https://sethring.com/ and join us on Tuesday to learn more about the publishing industry.

National Day of Writing

Get ready to write! The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) has established October 20th as the National Day on Writing. We will be celebrating all things writing with an event on Friday October 20th from 12-2 in the Reading Room and Writing Center in the McNairy Library. From 12-1 we will have writing activities including word bracelet making, blackout poetry, creative writing games, and more. Then, from 1-2 we will have an open mic for everyone to share their work or the work of another author.

To sign up for the open mic, please scan the QR code on the flyer.

To learn more about the National Day on Writing click here.