Over here at the SJSU Writing Center, we’re feeling pretty thankful for our blog readers! But we’re also very grateful for all the writers and artists who keep us motivated to keep reading, writing, thinking, and creating. Here are a few of our favorites.
From our Writing Specialists:
Akhil: I’m thankful for the rapper G-Eazy, who was born and raised in my hometown – Oakland, California. He is one of my favorite artists because his lyrics contain deep and meaningful truths. In many of his songs, G-Eazy reflects on some of the mistakes and bad decisions he made in his life. He has gone through tough times and admits that the mistakes he made have harmed his loved ones and himself. It takes a strong and sincere person to realize their mistakes and admit to them. I’m also thankful for G-Eazy because he is a person who achieves what he sets out to do. His work ethic and determination have not only earned him success in his rapping career, but also a college degree, something not many rappers have achieved.
His rec: The song “Far Alone”
Ariel: I’m thankful for Richard Miller because he shows me how students and teachers can be both aware of their environments and hopeful for their futures.
Her rec: Writing at the End of the World – I like his meditations on the motivations and purposes of what writing can be.
Holly: I’m thankful for the singer Deva Premal. She sings yogic mantras, and I feel uplifted and peaceful when I listen to her music. She usually performs with a string instrumentalist named Mitten and a flutist named Manose. Her voice has an ethereal quality, and the music they make reminds me that I want to keep an attitude of love in everything I do.
Her rec: The albums Moola Mantra, Gayatri Mantra or Mantra Love
Ines: Tireless deliberation has led me to elect Jeanette Winterson as one of the most influential writers in my life. I am thankful for her deliberate use of ambiguity and ironic clichés. Her writing details themes of rebellion, nonconformity, and gender expression, all of which continue to be pertinent issues in the present day.
Her rec: The novel Written on the Body
Jasmine: One of the writers I am most thankful for is Mario Benedetti, a Uruguayan poet and novelist. In few words, he is able to express powerful emotions that many readers can sympathize with. He is able to write about complicated things, such as relationships and social justice, in an elegant way that many people can relate to.
Her rec: I am not aware of many of his translated works; one is “Witness: The Selected Poems of Mario Benedetti.” This work can give people a general overview of his poetry.
Nicky: I’m a huge fan of Hayao Miyazaki’s animated films. I grew up watching his films, Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and I am thankful for the strong, independent, relatable, and compassionate female characters he has created, characters that I’ve always admired and looked up to.
Her rec: All his films are wonderful, so I’d recommend them all. Miyazaki’s films will make you laugh, cry, and reflect on what it means to be human.
Tim: I suggest Franchesca Ramsey (Socially conscious Youtuber/MTV personality). The influx of news outlets, such as Huffington Post, shared on social media platforms inundates those who utilize them. I receive the vast majority of my information from Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram. While getting information from social media outlets may not always be 100% reliable, it’s one of the best and quickest ways to learn about the world. I enjoy the content Ramsey creates. She has made appearances on MSNBC and works as a writer on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. She also has a channel on MTV’s Youtube channel, Decoded.
His rec: Look at the following videos: 1) “How Voter ID Laws Explain Structural Racism,” 2) “Just Try Saving My Name Right,” and 3) “Why Colorblindness Will Not End Racism.” Much of what this social media personality writes is directly applicable to the lives of millions. Her ideas are fresh, her comments are current, and her presence is impactful.
Sammy: Author Mitch Albom has changed my life. In particular, his memoir Tuesdays with Morrie has become my favorite book. He writes about life lessons he learned from his former professor, Morrie, who had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a degenerative disease that impairs motor abilities. Albom shares Morrie’s nuggets of wisdom in a candid way that will make you laugh and then cry within the span of a few pages. After reading this book, I did a lot of self-reflection and gained a better appreciation for how beautiful life is if you live it through Morrie’s perspective.
Her rec: I recommend Tuesdays with Morrie to anyone who wants to know what it means to live and what it means to be a human.
Saya: I like IU (Korean singer); I listen to a lot of k-pop, and IU is one of my favorite singers.
Her rec: Flower Bookmark is a remake album of Korean classics; it brings back nostalgic memories of my time in Korea. The songs are great remakes, ranging from soothing to dramatic!
From our Writing Faculty / Staff:
His recs: All his books, especially: Nation; The Discworld series (41 titles); the Tiffany Aching series (The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky, Wintersmith, I Shall Wear Midnight, and The Shepherd’s Crown); and Where’s My Cow?
Maria, Faculty-in-Residence: I assigned this blog topic to our Writing Specialists and then I had the most trouble answering this question – it’s hard to pick just one! Since I recently taught his short stories, I’ll choose Ray Bradbury. While he is most known for his sci-fi and fantasy work, Bradbury should really be appreciated by a wider audience for his craft. I also value how he was an advocate for libraries. Plus, who else has a crater and an asteroid named after him?
Her rec: I always go back to The Martian Chronicles – there’s a reason why it’s a classic!
Her rec: You couldn’t go wrong reading (or listening to him read) any of his books or stories. I’ll always love Me Talk Pretty One Day because it was the first of his books I read. I laughed out loud the entire time I had it open. I’m now rereading Exploring Diabetes with Owls with the same response and couldn’t be happier.
Michelle, Writing Center Director: As an English instructor, I’m thankful for many writers! During difficult times, I’m most thankful for fantasy writers (like J.R.R. Tolkien) not only because their works provide a form of escapism but because the best ones also provide social commentary and insight into what it means to be human.
Her rec: More specifically, however, I’m thankful for Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief. I don’t usually seek out historical fiction, but this work (set in Nazi Germany) is easily one of the most life-affirming pieces I’ve read. It’s both hopeful and heartbreaking, and the prose is beautiful.
Who are you thankful for? Leave your answers in the comments.