Name: Julie Cascino
Major(s), Minor(s): English and Economics
Astrological Sign: Sagittarius
1. Other than class assignments, what kinds of things do you write or have you written?
I have written a variety of different things, ranging from creative non-fiction to analytic essays to poetry. Poetry is my favorite genre to read and to write. I especially like learning about different poetry forms and connecting the form of the poem to the main themes within it.
2. What piece of writing are you most proud of?
This is a hard question for me to answer. I’d have to say that the piece I am most proud of would be the final research paper I wrote for my English 280 class. Although it’s not a piece of writing that is likely to change the world, it took a lot of time and effort to write, and the feeling of accomplishment that accompanied its final submission was indescribable.
I don’t technically have one specific place but I love to write while lounging on a couch, of any size, shape, color, or softness. It sounds cliché, but nothing is better than sitting on a sofa with a mug of hot chocolate, a blanket, and a blank page on Microsoft Word.
4. Do you have any interesting quirks and/or routines you follow when writing or when you are preparing to write? What are they?
Sometimes when I sit down to write, I don’t look at the prompt or the criteria. Instead, I start to make a list of the thoughts that pop into my head immediately when I think about the topic or the books that I have read recently. A lot of the time these ideas are useless or don’t even have anything to do with writing, but are rather shreds of memories I have from that day or issues that I’m worried about. Writing this list helps me get those ideas out of my head so I can either address them and move on, or incorporate them into my brainstorming for the piece. I’ve always heard that you should write what you know; this helps me do that.
Anne Lamott is the author that always comes to mind when someone asks me this question. Her creative non-fiction pieces lack pretension and really attempt to get at the core of what life is like for the “average” American, someone who struggles with not-so-glamorous problems, such as coping with depression, death, or alcoholism.
6. What was the best writing experience of your life?
It’s always difficult for me to decide upon a “best” moment or experience. One of the better experiences I’ve had with writing, though, occurred in my senior year of high school, when I decided at the last minute to write a short story for my school’s “Joyce Carol Oates Award” (she is an alumni). I wrote a piece the night before the entries were due and ended up coming in second place. It was such an amazing feeling to find out that a famous author would be reading my writing and one that really encouraged me to continue on with an English Major in college.
I tend to have trouble being succinct and will take pages to describe an idea that could have just as easily been treated in a few paragraphs. I’ve been working for a while to improve this and I’ve found that it has actually led me to more closely edit and revise my papers, which leads to better work overall. It’s feels great to know that something I have had trouble with has actually led me to improve in other aspects of my writing.
8. What advice do you have for other Wittenberg writers?
If you’re having trouble starting a piece of writing, whether it be for a class or just for fun, it helps to sit down and “free write” for a while. Sometimes it’s even useful to put away your computer or notebook for a while and just think about the topic you want to write about. You may be surprised by what pops into your head.
9. What should students know about you when they come in to visit you in the Writing Center?
I have a bubbly personality and I love puns. Most importantly, though, I love reading and writing and I love talking to other people about reading and writing. Don’t be afraid to ask me questions about your writing; often the best collaborations occur when two people sit down and discuss their ideas or concerns.
10. What’s the best part about working in the Writing Center?
Although I am just beginning my first year in the center, I am already confident of the fact that I will be working with an amazing group of kind and talented people. My experiences as a student in the writing center have all been wonderful and I cannot wait to interact with the same people I have admired for so long on a daily basis.