Once upon a dream – Troy Daily News

MIAMI COUNTY — When most parents engage in fun activities with their kids, writing and publishing a children’s book usually isn’t what springs to mind, but that’s exactly what 7-year-old Troy resident Emma Rose Fisher-Rowe did with her mother.

Their new children’s book, “Oscar Goes to School,” was released on May 11 through Miami County’s own Gypsy Publications as a collaborative effort, which spawned from a vivid dream that Emma Rose had about her beloved feline.

“I had this dream about my cat, Oscar,” Emma Rose said. “I dreamed that my cat hopped into my bookbag, and then I picked it up and ran to the bus in a hurry. My teacher asked, ‘What’s in your bag?’ and I said, ‘Oh no!’ Then, Oscar followed me through school the rest of the day.”

Emma Rose’s mother, Meaghan Fisher, who has published 14 children’s books through Gypsy Publications, encouraged Emma Rose to see the project through.

“She kept telling me about the dream one day,” Fisher said. “I told her, ‘Emma Rose, why don’t you just write it down?’ I wanted to teach her how to write something from start to finish. We went through different books and I explained to her, ‘This is how the book begins. This is the middle. This is the end.’ I think teaching kids about the structure of writing is really important. Storytelling has a rhythm, and becoming familiar with those rhythms help them to learn.”

As Emma Rose wrote the story, Fisher illustrated each page before handing over them over to husband Tim Rowe, who works as an illustrator, for coloring.

Fisher and Emma Rose held their first book signing last month in Columbus, selling over 100 copies of “Oscar Goes to School.”

Of the event, Emma Rose exclaimed, “I wrote my name on each book, and my mom did, too!”

Fisher hopes that Emma Rose’s work on “Oscar Goes to School” can inspire other children to become engaged in their own creations.

“People should know that it’s never too early for kids to write their own book,” Fisher said. “It’s been fun teaching Emma Rose how to do it, just so she learns the structure and the value of writing. No matter what age, you can publish a book.”

Emma Rose is currently working on her second book, tentatively titled, “Oscar Goes to the Park.”

“Oscar Goes to School” is now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Books-A-Million. For more information on Meaghan Fisher, visit www.gypsypublications.com.

Cody Willoughby | Troy Daily News Emma Rose Fisher-Rowe reads an excerpt from “Oscar Goes to School,” a new book co-written with her mother, Meaghan Fisher, at Troy-Hayner Cultural Center.

Mother and daughter co-author children’s book

Review | HEART LAND: Wit, charm and heart fill new book

By Stacie Gorkow, correspondent

Returning home to Iowa is not exactly what Grace Kleran had in mind in Kimberly Stuart’s new novel, “Heart Land.” She never looked back after high school, only looking forward as she studied and realized her dream of living in New York City.

The fashion industry is all Grace has ever wanted to be a part of and after six years of sweat and hard work, she has finally gotten her opportunity to be the lead designer. Her presentation was perfectly executed and her designs were some of her best. But, instead of getting the top job, she is fired. With no money in her account and bills piling up fast, she is forced to return home to small-town Iowa.

Returning home forces Grace to confront her past, including the memories of her parents’ accident and her years growing up with her grandma. Then all kinds of emotions are stirred up when her high school sweetheart, Tucker, appears to still be available. She has some apologizing to do and some friendships to mend. But she also needs to find a way to make some money. She has no intention of staying in Iowa and is looking for the fastest way back to New York City. On a whim, she designs a dress to sell on Etsy. It sells so fast she may have found a way back to her dream sooner than she thought.

What I love about Stuart’s books is that you can see yourself in many of her characters. Stuart takes great care to show readers that real life can be messy and unpredictable, but with family, faith, friends, and determination, we can get past the struggles and hardships. Grace has a talent that may be too big for small-town Iowa, but taking the girl out of Iowa is easier than taking Iowa out of the girl. Grace grapples with being true to herself and her designs while taking risks to make it big. Sometimes the mistakes show us what is important.

The various characters, New Yorkers and Iowans, are easily imagined right down to their clothing choices, like the seersucker pants on Grace’s New York co-worker or Tucker’s jeans and work gloves. The fashion, including Grace’s designs and what specific characters are wearing, are part of the details of the story.

Stuart takes care in creating characters who are likable and easy to root for. The romance between Tucker and Grace is realistic and builds slowly in the background while Grace tries to fit her way back into the lifestyle of her small town. The hardworking values of Iowans helping neighbors and friends appear in the scenes.

The book is full of heart, whether it’s in the designs Grace creates, the relationship with her grandma, her love for Tucker, or the feelings of home.


Stuart’s wit and humor fill the pages along with her desire to share her love of family, faith and small-town values. The novel feels like a warm hug and while there is sadness and anger around us, escaping in a book can remind us there still is goodness in others.

A field guide for birding travel or armchair dreams

“Birds of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, a Photographic Guide,” Frederic Jiguet and Aurelien Audevard, Princeton University Press, soft cover, 442 pages, 2,200 photographs, translated from French by Tony Williams, $29.95, released 2017.


Paging through a North American field guide to the birds you get no idea of how many of those birds we share with the countries covered in this beautifully done guide. 


It would be fun to use this book to create your armchair list of European, North African, and the Middle Eastern birds seen in North America, then vicariously on its pages. Most active North American birders would have a long list. Even birds from those parts of the world that you have seen in Minnesota would make a longish list.


This would be the book to buy if you were traveling in the countries covered, or, if you were going to Attu, the island at the far end of Alaska’s Aleutian chain. Attu is where the endless wind blows stray Asian bird species into view. 


Attu, a storied birding location, remains available to birders, but at a higher cost than the two-week tour run years ago. Then, you flew to Anchorage, continuing to Attu on a chartered plane, all for a measly $5,000 (plus airfare to Anchorage).


Today, you fly to Adak, another Aleutian island, then board an Attu-bound chartered boat that anchors offshore, taking you to the island daily on inflatable skiffs. You spend two spring weeks in the single North American location where the European and Asian birds you might pray to see actually can be seen. Price: $9,300. (The book is a much better deal!)


Pricey trip, yes, but it offers luxury that Attu birders of yesteryear dared not dream of. I mean, this trip has real toilets and real beds.


To finish that story, I once spent 48 hours on Attu, paying for a week but thwarted by lousy Alaskan weather and a worn airplane. I saw two life birds on a $2,000 trip. (The next year I saw both species here, in the U.S., for a helluva lot less. So birding goes.)


This guide would have informed and entertained me during the days two friends and I spent in Anchorage, waiting for better weather and airplane repairs.


The book is well designed, typography clean and distinct, two or three birds pictured and described on each page,. If plumages vary by season or sex, they are here. I have my often-expressed problem with the maps (tiny!), but the large number of birds covered — 860 — demands compromise. 


All of the usual parts and explanations that come with well-done guides are here. The  photos are particularly fine, excellent, bright, sharp images.


If you have no travel plans, consider this a book to browse and fuel your birding dreams. For me it’s 400+ pages of adventures past and possible.


Just for the fun of it, here is the building in which Attu birders of the past lived during their visit. The U.S. Coast Guard once had an Attu station. It built new quarters, abandoning this one. The Attu tour got permission to use it. It was as bad inside as it appears outside. Bicycles were a travel option when birders went on the hunt. Boots were the other choice. The island is covered mostly with rocks, snow, and mud. Find Attu via Google. The island has a history well beyond birds. WWII battles were fought here.



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Wildlife of the Arctic — take the trip and this book

Rollinmud publishes My Life’s Work

BOW VALLEY – Dreams have shaped the man, and the artist, Roland Rollinmud.

It was in a dream that the renowned Indigenous artist and Elder saw his latest piece, which is now crafted into a newly published picture book titled My Life’s Work – 2018, showcasing some of his greatest artwork over an illustrious four-decade long career.

“The book just naturally happened,” Rollinmud said, as a smile sprouts across his face under a signature black brimmed hat. “Today with that book, I can’t believe I’m holding, is a part of what I was planning for my future and is now a reality – it’s amazing.”

Dreams, and dreaming, have always been integral to sparking Rollinmud’s creativity.

It was 50 years ago when Rollinmud first dreamt about becoming an artist.

From the Stoney Nakoda reserve, where he attended residential school in Morley, Rollinmud used art and doodling as an outlet.

“We could only go home two days a month (from residential school) and in that time I didn’t have nothing else to occupy myself,” Rollinmud said. “That’s why I discovered art. Art was a part of the school.”

He would bring home doodles and scribbles, but left the art alone once with family. His brother and sister – artistic in their own right – encouraged Rollinmud to continue with his art at home, as well.

“I was inspired by that,” he said.

Once a little older, Rollinmud first worked as an artist for the Stoney Nakoda Cultural Education Program in 1971.

He then studied art at Calgary’s Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and graduated from Banff School of Fine Arts in 1985.

His dreams to become an artist became actions he took into his own hands.

“As time goes, whatever I think of comes to reality,” he said. “I wanted to be an artist, I wanted to be the best in Canada, and whatever you want to do in life it’s up to do you do it.”

Now one more prophesied dream has come to fruition through hard work and determination in My Life’s Work – 2018, Rollinmud’s book debut of original artwork in pen and ink, and oil on canvas in a 24-page hard cover that’s been in the works for a few years.

Its coloured pages are filled with striking wildlife art such as bison, wolves, and eagles, and Indigenous peoples and cultural practices.

“I want to give motivation to anybody on how beautiful Mother Nature is,” Rollinmud said. “Art is something that you have to pause to create and some take longer, and some are done quickly.”

In My Life’s Work – 2018, Rollinmud is also pictured working alongside youth at Morley Community School, creating a colourful mural for the institute.

“Life is so hard on the reserve for the young generation, it’s a stand still,” Rollinmud said. “My goal is to inspire the youth that yes, you can be anything you put your mind into and develop from you, and don’t be afraid to ask questions, the elders have all the questions…part of education you have to have is the elders there to include the school, and teach the students to be proud of who they are and represent it.

“Here I am as an artist, not realizing what I have accomplished as I go; I’m proud.”

Rollinmud added that his book of artwork is for everybody to enjoy.

“The book itself, I like to share what I have accomplished to anybody,” he said. “The book was a dream that was a part of me when I started to become an artist.”

Rollinmud’s My Life’s Work -2018 is $64 (hard copy), and is exclusively at Canmore’s Lifeways art gallery, which is dedicated to giving Stoney Nakoda artists a greater platform to display artwork.

This fall, Rollinmud is planning an art show at Lifeways in conjunction with his book release.

For more information, visit the Facebook page Lifeways Canmore.

Why I Quit My Dream Job After 17 Years

My book had been out for a few months, and it was doing really well. But most importantly, the reader reviews were everything that I dreamed they would be. The advice was actually helping people all around the world! I’m not sure what kind of change I expected upon launching Leave Your Mark, but I can tell you that going back to the same desk every day after a multi-week press blitz felt very anticlimactic. It was the same old DKNY, except that I wasn’t the same old Aliza.

Why Netflix isn’t the key to Apple’s streaming dream

Like a lion stalking a herd of gazelles, Apple has been circling the TV business for years. Rumors of an Apple-branded television gave way to the Apple TV set-top box in 2007, which the company described for years as a “hobby,” but which CEO Tim Cook dubbed a “foundation that we can do something bigger off of” in a 2016 earnings call.

No doubt related to the fact that the latest versions of the device have significantly expanded the storage capacity and processing prowess. And that co-founder Steve Jobs, according to the 2011 biography published just three months after his death, said he had essentially “cracked” the code for building a TV and was reportedly interested in focusing his efforts there in the final weeks of his life.

Apple’s efforts in television have been confounded by on-again, off-again negotiations with content creators that have balked at the company’s terms. With M&A activity in the space white-hot now, with integrations in the air as cord-cutting quickens, those negotiations are only set to become more difficult. No surprise then that Apple has penned deals with Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey, for example, to create exclusive programming.

But what about taking it a step further? What about buying Netflix, with its stable of programming (both exclusive and licensed from others) to secure a dominant position from which to survey this rapidly expanding space? (Netflix, as we explored in a previous post, faces stiffening competitive pressures and rising cash demands.)

The streaming titan is profitable and growing fast, with earnings of $290 million last quarter on $3.7 billion in revenue, which was up more than 40% from the year prior. Right now, Netflix is singlehandedly responsible for nearly a third of all internet traffic in North America.

Sure, it’d be expensive: Netflix is carrying a market cap of nearly $180 billion. But Apple has cash to spare, sitting on nearly $270 billion as of 2Q 2018. And “Stranger Things” have happened before.

Apple has pivoted to focus on services as a revenue growth area—with a goal of growing this space to $50 billion in sales by 2020—and found success. Revenues are up 31% YoY, picking up pace from the already impressive 18% YoY growth registered through 2017. Leading the way: The strength of iCloud storage and Apple Music, driven by Apple’s staggering 1.3 billion active devices.

As of April, Apple Music had 40 million paying subscribers worldwide, up 84% since the music streaming service was first introduced at Apple’s WWDC 2015. Late last year, Apple moved on Shazam to bolster both Siri and Apple Music, and earlier this year it also purchased Texture, a digital magazine subscription service, for bettering the News app for iOS.

To date, Apple has been content-agnostic, with Netflix integration into Siri and Apple TV devices already on point. The integration of a post-acquisition Netflix would likely become even tighter, with the platform becoming the default streaming video app preinstalled on every device Apple ships and potentially acting as a platform for other content providers. Such as sportscasts, for instance. With monthly subscription revenue flowing in.

Apple would also get an instant foothold in the living room, an area it has struggled to gain traction in, with possible synergies between Apple’s native apps and the Netflix app built into many smart TVs and set-top boxes. Imagine talking to Siri through your iPhone and seeing the results displayed on your television. Or showing off your latest Photo Stream on the big screen.

All of that would serve the interest of bolstering the Apple ecosystem by making the viewing experience more streamlined, on one hand, while raising the cost to users for switching to competing platforms on the other. Thus, helping sell more iPhones.

But are the benefits enough to justify the price of admission?

UBS analysts are bulled up on streaming in general, forecasting streamers to capture 25% of the pay-TV market in the next five years. That works out to 25 million streaming subscribers, up from the 9.2 million forecasted through the end of 2018. So a deal is certainly tempting.

But Morningstar director of TMT research Brian Colello believes a “Build It” rather than a “Buy It” content strategy makes more sense for Apple here given Netflix’s huge price tag. While Netflix has a commanding lead in terms of subscribers and binge-worthy programming, it’s worth noting that much of its programming has been developed with media partners, such as Disney for “Daredevil” and other Marvel-related series. Apple could replicate that. Or partner with creatives directly, as it’s doing now.

For Colello, there are no obvious benefits to be gained from platform exclusivity since it would alienate hardware buyers if Apple blocked competing streaming and video-on-demand apps from its hardware devices. Want to watch Fox Sports on your phone? Better buy an Android.

And besides, when someone signs up for Netflix via the App Store or the Netflix iOS app, Apple gets a cut anyway. So, it’s already getting a piece of the streaming revenue pie without really lifting a finger. Or spending a dime.

In an interview with PitchBook, Colello also deftly pointed out possible culture clashes and brand incompatibilities. Does Apple really want to be associated with shows like Netflix’s “Marco Polo,” a Weinstein Company-produced historical drama filled with nudity and violence that was canceled after two years for a loss of $200 million?

Instead, he posited that Netflix, not Apple, is the one that should be on the acquisition trail as competitors lock up content vertically, tying creators together with telecoms and likely leaving the company out in the cold. Especially with Disney’s streaming service expected to launch in 2019, potentially including the assets of 21st Century Fox, should its $71.3 billion bid be accepted by shareholders later this month.

Apple, Colello warned, would do best to steer clear of what he believes would be a “disastrous deal” for Apple amid an intensifying cash burn and an eye-watering valuation. Given Apple’s hesitance to engage in splashy deals—its $3 billion purchase of Beats is its largest acquisition to date—and the sheer cost involved, the sentiment is well-founded.

And thus, Apple’s hunt for TV glory continues. 

Watch for a follow-up post, the third in a three-part series, exploring possible acquisition targets for Netflix as it battles growing competitive pressures and industry consolidation. Read the first post here: Can Netflix fend off big name challengers?

PitchBook is a Morningstar company.


May’s New Brexit Dream Amounts to ‘Turkey Plus’

The full U.K. government white paper on its proposed future relationship with Europe is due to be published this week. But the framework document that came out of the Cabinet meeting at Chequers, the prime minister’s country residence, is an unsatisfactory answer on several levels to the EU’s repeated demands for specific proposals. 

In effect, Prime Minister Theresa May suggests cloning key EU institutions specifically for the U.K.’s sake. She wants a “common rule book for all goods including agri-food” which can only remain harmonized if some common U.K.-EU structure works constantly on keeping the two countries’ standards and trade rules from diverging — but she doesn’t want the European Commission to do it, as it has done for decades. She wants a “joint committee” to resolve disputes about the application of the “common rule book” — but she doesn’t want the European Court of Justice to play that role. 

Reproducing the EU’s internal practices for an outside trade partner only makes limited sense. The EU’s customs union with Turkey is overseen by an Association Council formed by the parties, the kind of joint body that the Chequers document appears to envision. But under this union’s rules, Turkish goods (and just the non-agricultural ones at that) only circulate freely in the EU if they comply with EU standards, and it’s the EU that sets tariffs and other trade barriers. Turkey doesn’t aspire to draft the standards jointly with the EU; all it can get is a transition period for EU rules it cannot immediately introduce into its legal framework. Turkey also recognizes the ECJ’s jurisdiction in interpreting the customs union’s rules, if not in enforcing them.

In a normal situation, negotiations could lead to U.K. acceptance of the Turkish arrangement with some small modifications. But the situation isn’t normal. Opportunities for a compromise in line with previous EU practice are severely limited on the U.K. side. The idea of the U.K. as a rule-taker is anathema to Brexiters, not least because it would reduce scope for trade deals with countries outside the EU — at least the ones that already have deals with the EU.

If, however, the U.K. isn’t a rule taker, the EU will need to accept outside participation in the drafting of its internal rules — something it doesn’t do for any trade partner.

May appears to believe this basic contradiction can be resolved for goods coming from outside the U.K.-EU customs union if the U.K. promises to apply its own tariffs and standards to imports meant for its domestic consumption and EU tariffs and standards to imports targeting the EU. Within a customs union, however, such an arrangement is extremely difficult to enforce, as Russia found out when Belarus, its customs union partner, began “exporting” European food banned under Russia’s sanctions policy. Four years after Russia banned the imports of a long list of agricultural products from the EU, the practice continues, and Russian and Belorussian officials keep squabbling about it.

Unless the U.K. specifically agrees to follow EU standards and set the same tariffs as the EU for external trade, the way Turkey does, its proposal is likely to be met with skepticism from the EU. May and her negotiators have been told again and again that the new customs plan has to be workable. They have also been told that the U.K. can’t “cherry pick” elements of the single market. The government hasn’t taken much heed of either red line. On Saturday, May called on the EU to “get serious” and discuss the deal she’s offering, as if it’s the EU that has wasted all this time before coming up with a rudimentary proposal. That’s not going to endear her to anyone in Brussels, Berlin or Paris.

Catfish Dreams: new book details Ed Scott’s place in history

Ed Scott, Jr. was the child of a Mississippi Delta farmer, a World War II veteran who fought alongside General Patton, a Civil Rights activist and the first ever non-white owner and operator of a catfish plant in the United States.

Oxford native and author Julian Rankin has taken it upon himself to put Scott’s life story on the page in his new book, “Catfish Dream: Ed Scott’s Fight for His Family Farm and Racial Justice in the Mississippi Delta.”

“Catfish Dream” centers around the experiences, family and struggles of Scott, who was born in 1922 and lived in Mound Bayou, Miss. According to Rankin, Scott battled long odds and institutionalized racism to carve out of the Mississippi Delta land an “agricultural empire of black self-determination, which flowed out to and benefited his surrounding community.”

Rankin first met Scott in 2013, when Scott’s daughter, Willena Scott White, expressed interest in telling her father’s story. Rankin traveled to the Delta, where he and Scott hashed out the details of his story.

“[White] was really a champion of this story, because she knew it well and had seen it firsthand,” Rankin said. “I sat down with Mr. Scott, and he just kind of walked me through history, all his trials and triumphs. It really is an epic tale, and it dovetails with the American Dream and Civil Rights and what it means to own land in the Mississippi Delta.”

From there, Rankin interviewed members of the Scott family, plant workers, Scott’s lawyer and others to form a complete picture of Scott, who passed away in 2015 at age 93.

Scott’s dream of being a catfish farmer began years after he returned from WWII, where he had dodged Nazi fire in German trenches alongside Patton.

His father, Ed Scott, Sr., was a self-made man in every sense of the word, Rankin said, starting life as a sharecropper in Alabama and going on to own thousands of acres and become one of the first black men to grow rice in Mississippi. Scott took after his father for much of his life, farming soybeans and rice in addition to his catfish operation. His profession is one Rankin said fed the black community, both physically and symbolically.

During the Civil Rights Movement, Scott’s determination to be treated as an equal led him to march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., provide food for those in James Meredith’s 1966 March Against Fear and even give counsel to activist Fannie Lou Hamer when she opened Freedom Farm in Ruleville, Miss in the 1970s.

Being black in the South, especially in the Delta, did not make for an easy life. As Scott found out, being an enterprising black businessman in the catfish business was even harder.

“The agricultural industry shifted away from traditional row crops in the 1970s and 80s. Because people were getting into catfish, [Scott] wanted to do it, but because he was a black man, he ran into a lot of obstacles,” Rankin said. “It obviously led to government discrimination, but what it revealed was a persistence and ingenuity and innovation that the family embodied.”

The book’s title comes from a quote from Scott himself. During one of their conversations, Scott told Rankin, “My motto is, don’t stop chasing your dream. My dream was to grow these catfish, and I did.”

A series of setbacks led Scott to open his catfish processing plant, including loan denials from the USDA, government seizures of his land and worse. Left with only an old tractor shed, the book tells how Scott decided to get into the full-time catfish processing business from 1983 to 1990.

“Against all odds, when most people would’ve gotten out of it, he still hung on and got minority contracts, employed dozens of African-American workers in the community and gave them a dignified job,” Rankin said. “However, he eventually couldn’t keep it going.”

“Catfish Dream” has a happy ending, however. In a fortunate turn of events, Scott ended his life a millionaire. Complete details on this final triumph, Rankin said, will be revealed at the book’s launch at Square Books on July 12.

In 2001, Scott, who cooked catfish for events held by the Southern Foodways Alliance and became friends with director John T. Edge, received the Keeper of the Flame Award at the Southern Foodways Symposium.

“By telling these foundational stories of the South, bringing them out of the kitchen and how the food gets to your plate, you’re able to talk about communities and history and learn lessons about how we can work together,” Rankin said. “It’s giving life to these American ideals that so often are not fulfilled. Ed Scott was able to illustrate that the American Dream is, in fact, possible.”

Do Humans Dream Of Smartphones?

Despite how ubiquitous smartphones are to our waking life, they appear surprisingly rarely in dreams. When Twitter user @BrendanCredence tweeted about the phenomenon, over 56,000 users liked the tweet, and over 20,000 retweeted the sentiment. Other mundane details from our waking life does appear often dreams: waiting rooms, schools, dentist offices. Why don’t our phones?

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According to one theory of dreaming called the “threat simulation hypothesis,” our dreams exist to help us navigate anxieties and fears in a low-risk environment, essentially letting us practice for real life. It’s an evolved defense mechanism, and it means that generally, our dreams are more closely tied to fears that have been around for a long time, fears that could be relevant even to our ancestors. “People tend not to dream quite as much about reading and writing, which are more recent developments in human history, and more about survival related things, like fighting, even if that has nothing to do with who you are in real life,” Alice Robb, science writer and author of a forthcoming book on dream, explains at The Cut.

But of course the hypothesis may not be totally accurate: after surveying over 16,000 dream reports, researchers found that cell phones appeared in two to three percent of dreams — a low number, yes, but at a higher frequency than movies, computers or airplanes appear. (Cars are the most frequently appearing technology in dreams.) In any case: dreams are complex and hard to predict or analyze, and highly dependent on each person’s thoughts or life circumstances. For instance, someone in mourning is likely to have intense dreams, and receiving a call from the dead is not an uncommon dream.

Then again: would it really be so much fun to dream of texting someone to make plans, or checking your email yet again? Perhaps it’s better off that smartphones stay (mostly) out of our dreams.

(source: The Cut)

MFA graduate living her dream | Local

McNeese State University graduate Jenn Alandy Trahan has been awarded the prestigious Jones Lectureship in Fiction at Stanford University. “I’ll be teaching at my dream institution, surrounded by dream colleagues and I’ll have the much-need time to finish my first book as a Stanford faculty member,” said Trahan, a 2015 graduate of McNeese’s Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and Master of Arts in english literature programs.


“It’s a dream of mine to teach at the collegiate level…I aspire to be part of a group that honors the power of shared learning and thrives on bringing different people together in pursuit of a common goal.” 


“My own college years at the University of California Irvine were some of my most difficult years because I was paying my own way through school, working 20-30 hours a week and juggling a full course load,” said Trahan. However, her professors “all played a role in changing the course of my life and I want to pay forward the generosity and kindness that my own college teachers extended me.” 


Trahan was initially attracted to McNeese’s program because of the full-funding available to its MFA students and because of its close proximity to the New Orleans Saints. Recounting the Saint’s Super Bowl XLIV win, she said, “I remember watching YouTube videos of fans in bars cheering on Tracy Porter’s interception…and I thought, ‘Wow, I need to be a part of that culture.’ ”


During her time at McNeese Trahan “had the opportunity to teach 10 course over six semesters” while earning her degrees which served as a catalyst for her career ambitions. “I think all of this in the trenches experience serves as excellent preparation for a teaching career. In fact, I was at McNeese when I realized that I wanted to teach at the collegiate level for the rest of my life.  If I never had the opportunity to teach at McNeese, I wouldn’t have realized this.”


She encouraged aspiring writers to pursue an MFA because it will “give you two to three years of protected time to read, write, grow and hopefully, teach.”  In choosing the right program she urged writers to apply to fully-funded programs like McNeese’s and to “really think about what kind of place will inspire them and their work.”


“Being in Louisiana truly inspired my work…I came into my own as a writer in Lake Charles, Louisiana…If you can go write for two to three years in a place where no one cares that you write or thinks its cool, like Lake Charles, then you’ve got the skin to write. When you strip everything away, writing is ultimately a solitary, lonely endeavor…Which is why you need the right place around you.”


Excerpts from Trahan’s upcoming novel will be published in September’s issue of Harper’s Magazine available on newsstands in mid-August.