By Audrey Steen, English/Sec. Education Major / McAnulty Academic Internship
As I keep producing author spotlights on the Facebook page for the English Dept., I find myself continuing to see commonalities between these prolific academics and producers of literature. With every writer I research, there is always some form of obstacle causing their life to be profoundly more difficult, on top of already having the difficult life of an artist/academic. Whether this is for a race, gender, sexuality, economic status, etc., the life in which they live always presents obstacles that would make any ‘normal’ person quit in this profession. As a dual-degree in English and Education, I have interacted with many pieces of literature on a wide variety of topics, but we often do not learn or focus much on the author. The valuable discourse they produce overshadows how strong they are in creating the art in light of all they have had to overcome and struggle with.
With writers, such as Audre Lorde, a recent post I have made in light of Breast Cancer Awareness month, she had dealt with vast amounts of intersectionality; being a black, queer woman in the 20th century and battling breast cancer. However, she harnessed this ‘power’ over her to create something so profound through language that the world around her was able to benefit from her articulation of the difficult world around her. This is just one example of the many authors experiencing such prejudice, but I think this is what makes them all the more special.
When I think about these things concerning the work we are doing in the internship and how we can apply these skills for the future, I become more hopeful for the future of my vocational practice. Oftentimes, people in this discipline, such as some of my peers in other academic fields, disregard the work of writers, even though they can provide something much stronger: influence. It can be discouraging to see a lack of faith, but these writers are showing me that the work done in the dark always presents itself in some way. We forget that these authors were also our age at one point, not thinking what they were saying would impact the way they have, but in the end, their story says otherwise.