Consultant Bios

Andrew

When I’m not writing, I am usually coding, brushing up on my Spanish, or trying to find excuses to hang out with my friends instead of doing homework. When I am trying to avoid writing, I like to go on runs or scroll endlessly through twitter, and sometimes I’ll try to pick up a new hobby just to distract myself for a few days. I also like to call home just to see how my dog is doing. My favorite thing about writing is that it usually makes me feel better about whatever is puzzling me for the day, and it reaffirms my love for literature, movies, and telling stories. It’s also fun to try my hand at different styles of writing and think about the ways in which all writing and all writers are similar. I think my favorite type of writing is weird lit - if you haven’t read them yet, I really recommend Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer and Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang.

 

Alissa

When I’m not writing, I’m usually hanging out with my friends, listening to music, working at Duke Child Studies, eating, or walking my dog, India. When I am trying to avoid writing, I’ll do literally anything else. But, I like writing because it lets people express exactly what they’re thinking in a really cool way. I enjoy reading other people’s work because it’s nice to get to talk about your work with someone coming from a non-evaluative perspective.

 

Dan

When I’m not writing, I am probably on Twitter, searching for good food, or hanging out with friends. I’m also a big fan of HBO dramas and movies with odd vibes—Nightcrawler, for example. My favorite thing about writing is that it allows me to express thoughts that would otherwise swim endlessly in my head. It’s also very satisfying to read over a paragraph and think “yeah, I like this. This looks good.” When I’m trying to avoid writing, I will come up with an excuse to walk around campus (usually for coffee) or go work out at Wilson.

 

Donald

When I’m not writing, I like to hang with my friends, play video games, or explore new music. I often journal to keep track of my thoughts and happenings. I also love to read and write poetry, and I often scribble my thoughts or ideas into my journal or on my phone’s Notes app. For me, the best part of writing is the feeling of creating something new or special to me. Usually, especially when writing poetry, I find myself stuck and having to push through a mental wall to finish a piece. Overcoming that mental block is very satisfying for me, but it can also be frustrating in the meantime. So it often helps me, both creatively and mentally, to take a break from writing—to go talk to a friend, play a video game, listen to music (at hazardous volumes), walk around Duke’s gorgeous campus at sunset, eat (half) a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie™ ice cream, or simply sleep.

 

Jacqueline

When I’m not writing, I like to watch murder mystery TV shows, cook, and eat. I love writing because I love the satisfaction of arriving at a perfect word or turn of phrase after arduously searching. When I’m trying to avoid writing, I clean my house.

 

Jamie B.

When I'm not writing, I'm usually reading or watching science fiction, cooking spicy food, hanging out under the full moon, or thinking about climate change. My favorite thing about writing is when I finally get something down on paper that's been banging around inside my head for days. When I'm trying to avoid writing, I usually go outside and watch some animals.

 

Jeslyn

When I’m not writing, I often read Mitch Albom books, cook Thai food in the dorms for my friends, volunteer with Duke APO, or explore new hobbies (wakeboarding and knitting, among many). I enjoy the writing process as it allows me to share my thoughts and insights with my professors, friends, and parents. For me, the brainstorming stage is one of the most rewarding parts of writing. I seek inspiration from traveling, people-watching, or just sitting in the Duke Gardens, hoping an idea will strike. When trying to avoid writing, I like to talk to other people about their pieces in hopes of gaining inspiration or learning something new about their area of study. 

 

Jocelyn

If I’m not writing poetry and flash nonfiction, I’m probably going on a run with an audiobook, walking my rescue Olive, or coaching youth basketball. I love writing because it’s a thoughtful way to communicate with people with intention and a bit of personality. As Scout Finch said “I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.” Writing, then, must simply be my exhale… though I avoid writing philosophy papers by spontaneously making plans with friends instead to lakes/trails around Durham or new ice cream spots

 

Kaycee

When I’m not writing, I love getting brunch with my friends, visiting my sisters throughout the Triangle, and watching movies. My favorite thing about writing in the endless possibilities it offers; writing gives you the chance to make anything happen. When I’m trying to avoid writing I like to read…which ultimately inspires me to write anyway. 

 

Maile

I am a big extrovert, so anytime I’m not in the center, you can find me in pretty much any large crowd (although this has changed since COVID). I am also a Dungeons and Dragons enthusiast, which may come from my love of fantasy novels. Writing, to me, feels like my most accessible form of expression and creation. It feels both productive and subversive at the same time regardless of what I am producing. I have a knack for procrastination and I usually end up writing something I think is fun when I am supposed to be finishing an assignment. To avoid writing altogether, I typically fall into a netflix binge-watching hole or I stream SNL skits on youtube.

 

Margaret

Some things I enjoy are reading (especially fiction and history), walking (especially in the woods), cooking and eating Indian food, and spending time in the mountains or with my wonderful cat. My favorite thing about writing is using visual techniques, such as concept mapping and color. Laying things out visually really helps me with all kinds of writing process and problems, including brainstorming and organization. When I’m trying to avoid writing, decluttering my apartment becomes appealing. If I’m avoiding writing it usually means I’m feeling stuck, so I try breaking the writing task into smaller parts. (pronouns: she/her)

 

Matt

When I’m not writing I’m riding my bike somewhere or finishing a book. I love writing when it turns a disorganized thought into a clear turn of phrase. When I’m trying to avoid writing I’m usually doing more reading. 

 

Mimi

I enjoy watching video essays on YouTube and listening to podcasts when I am not writing. My favorite thing about writing is how it helps me to organize my thoughts. I find writing difficult when I have to produce a work of analysis in one sitting.

 

Morayo

Outside the writing studio, I enjoy going to the gym and learning more about the intersection of brain and exercise. I would say that writing is an outlet for me–a way to express myself and my thoughts. I value being able to communicate ideas with people that may come from different backgrounds and experiences. It is exciting to be able to read other people’s work because writing styles are so different and there is always something you can learn from someone else. I actively avoid writing assignments by spending extra time with friends, watching basketball (or really any sport), and spending too much time outlining my thoughts. 

 

Sage

Outside of the Studio I can be found crushing 3-D printed cylinders in the basement of Hudson Hall, running simulations for the Duke AERO rocketry team, or assisting engineering freshmen with their design projects. Writing allows me to make sense of myself and the world at large. I also love how prose can move hearts and change perspectives. Ways that I productively avoid writing include creating overly-detailed mind maps or jogging between campuses. 

 

Sam

When I’m not writing, you can usually find me shredding on the piano, doing math/coding/suffering, baking, or playing Dungeons and Dragons! Avoiding writing is also a great pastime for me, and whenever I have writer’s block, I’ll go on walks around campus, or play piano in the dark so it’s just random creative output. If I’m avoiding it so hard I’m not even trying, I might also be playing some video games or hanging out with some friends.  My favorite part about writing, when I actually do it, is the ability to control everything about how my writing relates to itself. Setting up an argument that comes back pages later, or bringing something full circle with a punchline or a revelation, is immensely satisfying, and way easier to do when writing than when speaking. 

 

Sarai

When I am not writing, you can typically find me having deep, ethical conversations with just about anyone who is willing to entertain my thoughts. Writing has taught me to become a lot more self-compassionate, expressive, and authentic. This most typically takes place in the form of journaling. I tend to be more of a meticulous overthinker when writing, and journaling helps me feel less critical of myself. I use it as a healthy avenue to listen, reflect, and articulate myself more fully with others. When I’m trying to avoid writing, I am walking around campus humming my new favorite Reggaetón song, trying to doodle something at the Arts Annex, or taking up a class of yoga.