The Words

English Dept. Student Workers spring 2020

It is with a heavy heart that we announce that this will be the final issue of The Words for the 2019-2020 academic year. Like many other routines and traditions recently, this ending came far too soon. However, we look forward to taking this time to surround ourselves with family, knock some books off the ever growing to-be-read list, and find new, creative ways to stay connected during this time of quarantine and social distancing. (Follow our social media channels for updates on how we’re up to!) We hope this newsletter finds all you readers happy, healthy, and making the most of your time away. Be safe and be well.
The Words Staff

Taking Leave Amidst Quarantine

Sophie Hilker ’20

Author holding copy of Gideon the Ninth by Tasmyn Muir

With the suspension of classes and closure of campus as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, I experienced a lot of “last times” on campus that I didn’t realize would be the last: going to classes in the classrooms, seeing friends, classmates, and coworkers in person, and, of course, visiting the English department. In this time of uncertain goodbyes, I’m glad to have this intentional opportunity to reflect and say goodbye to my time in the English department. Though this is not the way I wanted to finish my senior year,
I am extremely grateful for the time I did get to
spend with the people, places, and communities
that make up Macalester. Read more about Sophie’s English experience…

Reflections on Evil Men and Self-Quarantine

Ash Ma ’21

The author holding a copy of Evil Men by James Dawes

March 24, 2020, the second day of the second week of self-quarantine. Jan organized all the English department student workers to gather via Zoom and checked in with each; I hadn’t talked to a real human being in so long, so this meeting meant a lot for me. I was the only one who still was lingering around campus. The weather was slightly gloomy, with damp clouds barely reflecting sunlight. The air was colored dim brown, just like the low vibe circling in this country. However, I was happy to see my colleagues resuming and adapting to their new daily routines. As for myself, I started to read Professor James Daws’ book Evil Men this week. Read more of Ash’s thoughts…

Reading and Remote Learning: Thoughts from Self-Quarantine

Amy Vandervelde ’21

photo of the authorHi, everyone. I hope that you and yours are doing well and staying safe. We here at The Words just wanted to share some quick reflections about what we’re thinking and what we’ve been up to for the past couple of weeks. Here’s mine: I’ve been back in Ottawa, Illinois since Wednesday, March 18. It’s strange that I haven’t left the house at all in that time. I don’t think I ever realized how much I went around town to the library, local coffee shop, or even with my mom on grocery store trips. I keep thinking back to two years ago, another time when I didn’t leave the house all that much. I was a first-year student at Mac, and right around this time, on April 2, 2018, I left campus early because I had completely dislocated and double-fractured my ankle. I finished that spring semester from home too, under very different circumstances. I’m still thinking about how I can even picture these two semesters
as similar. Read more of Amy’s reflections…

The Life of an English Major’s Journal: An Interview with Koada Heacock ’20

Ash Ma ’21

Koada Heacock holding her English major's journal in which she composed her second capstone project, Rat Fuck Footprints

Consider this question: when was the last time you wrote down a sentence of your thoughts on a piece of paper? Today? Last week? Last semester? Or…never? If you haven’t developed the habit of writing in the blue/black English major’s journal yet, more often than not you are likely not to do it at all… But don’t miss out on the opportunity of recording the decision-making process behind your actions — they are all about the trivial details in your life! Creative writing major Koada Heacock ’20 (she/her/hers or they/them/theirs), who is from the piney mountain valleys of Montana, has absolutely proved this point: writing in journals is a life-changing experience. She has developed a brilliant system of efficiently transforming her English major’s journal into something BIG and AMAZING — two capstone projects! I was excited to interview Koada and learn more about her story behind the scenes. Read more about Koada’s process…

On Topics Courses

Amy Vandervelde ’21

Dark fairy tales Pop Talk poster

Hello, readers of The Words! I hope that you all are doing well during this tumultuous time. Prior to spring break and the transition off campus, I had the chance to check in with a few professors about their past, upcoming, and in-development topics courses. I hope that you will find something you’re interested in by reading the interview snippets below and know there are many more topics courses that I couldn’t cover for this issue. Read more about upcoming topics classes in the department…

Newsletter Staff
Senior Editors
Laura Berglund ’20
Sophie Hilker ’20

Associate Editors
Harrison Runnels ’20
Malcolm Cooke ’21
Ash Ma ’21
Amy Vandervelde ’21
Dalton Greene ’22

Social Media Strategist
Patrick Coy-Bjork ’23

Runnels '20 in the English Department Libraryphoto of Ma '21 in the English Department LibraryVandevelde '21 in the English Department Libraryphoto of Greene '22 in the English Department LibraryHead shot of Patrick Coy-Bjork