Reflections of a "Sweetie" (Dissertation Writing Institute Fellow)
By David B. Green Jr.
Ph.D. Candidate, Department of American Culture & James A. Winn Graduate Student Fellow, Institute for the Humanities, 2014-2015
I have always enjoyed writing, and particularly creative writing. As a creative writer, I get to say things, thangs, however I choose—and in the process, stay true to my voice as a sassy effeminate black gay man. Yes, as a creative writer I get to reflect my southern twang and my black sissy’tude with exciting, whimsical, and powerful words. No matter if I’m writing poetry or life-narratives, I get to SNAP! and otherwise create words that sashay, dip, and dash across the page. However...howzEVAH, academic writing can be a different beast to slay, chile! Having, though, voluntarily chosen an academic career path, academic writing requires careful mastery and command of the English language in ways that can stifle the creative process. Indeed, if you want to be taken seriously as an intellectual, let alone if you want your master’s thesis or dissertation committee members to provide their signatures attesting to your abilities as a researcher and writer deserving of an advanced degree—and in my case, the Ph.D.—then producing a polished manuscript is necessary. So! When Sweetland and Rackham Graduate School announced last Winter 2014 a call for participants for the Rackham/Sweetland Dissertation Writing Institute, I didn’t hesitate to submit a proposal. Although the competition “admissions” is fierce, and while I was a little nervous about my chances with being chosen, I was nominated by my Department—American Culture—selected, and have recently completed the seven-week writing institute…and I enjoyed each and every moment of this rewarding experience. Here are a few of my reflections. I hope that my words inspire you all to write, if not as a future “Sweetie,” then in a writing community of any kind.
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