Episode 19: Embracing a Messy Identity with Meghan P. Nolan

In Episode 19, we talk to Dr. Meghan P. Nolan about identity fragmentation and embracing our fullest, messiest selves–and empowering our students to do the same. We also talk about multi-genre writing projects, the (in)accessibility of academic writing, institutional barriers to equity and progress, gender roles in mystery novels, and finding joy in our scholarship.

Come for Fernando Pessoa; stay for P.D. James!

Meghan P. Nolan, MFA, MA, PHD is an Assistant Professor of English and Director of the Writing Center at SUNY Rockland Community College. She is a multigenre writer who focuses on fragmented perceptions of self-hood through academic works, fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. She is the author of the poetry collection, Stratification (BlazeVOX Books, 2008); her poetry has appeared in Blue Door Quarterly, The Nepotist, MiPOesias, Quest, Coconut, No Tell Motel, Sawbuck, Free Focus, and more. Her essays have recently been published in Persona Studies, Thread, The 100 Greatest Detectives, Exquisite Corpse: Studio Art-Based Writing in the Academy, and Transnational Crime Fiction.

This episode was recorded on July 7. Please be aware that, because we recorded via Zoom, there are occasional audio hiccups. Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @writingremixpod.

People and Texts Mentioned in the Episode

“We cannot continue to assess student writing in the ways that we are.” @DrNolanRCC

“Students are exploring their identities through their writing, in their own ways, in the classroom…It becomes this hodge-podge, almost like a collage, of creative work and academic work that they’ve connected with a theme throughout the semester, and that theme is really their own identities and how they view themselves.” @DrNolanRCC

“A lot of teaching college writing is learning how to work around the system.” @DrNolanRCC

“As a writer, I really start to free up once I gave up on [fitting into a neat group]…I don’t really care what other people think…I write whatever I feel at the time.” @DrNolanRCC

“You’ve got to move forward as a writer. That’s the only way you can [go].” @DrNolanRCC

“We fall back into those really comfortable zones, where we’re like, yes this is how I present myself, this is who I am to this group of people, instead of seeing all those disparate parts as one cohesive whole…We’ve got to be willing to mash up our own identities in front of audiences that aren’t expecting it and be willing to share all parts of ourselves.” @DrNolanRCC

“That writing work [in the first-year writing classroom] can be so valuable because you can get people exploring those ideas–what makes me who I am? It’s a lot more than what’s on the surface. Let’s piece all of that together and see what you come up with, yourself. Because it can’t be somebody else telling you what they see. It needs to be what you experience, your authentic experience as yourself, that you want to share, that you see as being who you are. And that to me is giving a true account of oneself.” @DrNolanRCC

“No matter what it is that I’m writing–whether it’s creative or it’s academic or it’s poetic–whatever I’m doing, I’m always trying to…pick apart what it means to be an individual. What are those various parts, those gritty pieces that make up who we are?” @DrNolanRCC

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