Slipping into Grass Roots Books & Music on an early May afternoon, I paused to appreciate their prominent display of Venita Blackburn books, then grinned at the poster announcing her public reading at the Valley Library as SWLF’s 2022 Creative-Writer-in-Residence.
Remembering my mission, I foraged about the stacks for a copy of On Assignment: Memoir of a National Geographic Filmmaker. The epic tales chronicled within are those of retired OSU Professor Jim Larison, who, just a few days later, would be the featured guest in FILM 445: Documentary Film Studies. Students in that course, taught by Distinguished Professor Jon Lewis and Director of OSU Productions, David Baker, would be treated to a special screening of Ancient Forests—in its original 16mm format. From their seats in the Darkside Cinema, students would soon buzz with curiosity, asking Jim one smart question after another.
Exiting Grass Roots onto a rain-glazed 2nd Street, I slipped the book into a mailing envelope for its its intended recipient, one of SWLF’s most recent hires: Chris Johns, former Editor-in-Chief of National Geographic, who now teaches in the Applied Journalism program. I made a mental note about promoting the talk he’d soon deliver on campus—Witness: War Photographers on the Battle Ground—and wondered if we might show the teaser of The Wonder and the Worry, a documentary SWLF is co-sponsoring about his career and the evolving landscape of media photography.
Back in the office, I listen to a voicemail left by a High School English teacher in Boca Raton, Florida: “I just wanted to say how much I love the videos that your department makes about literary and grammatical terms, and I’m wondering if you could make one about tone. Anyway, I wanted to share how much much I love these videos; they’re incredibly useful, and I use them in my AP Literature and Composition courses.” I scribble a note in my planner to call her back and let her know that our video What is Tone? is currently being edited, and should be up on SWLF’s YouTube channel within the next month.
Before heading to a meeting about developing a new Ecampus Writing major, I respond to an email from Associate Professor Ray Malewitz, who is serving as Fulbright Distinguished Chair of American Studies at the University of Warsaw. We discuss the possibilities of a international faculty exchange program, and how it would benefit OSU students and faculty.
This small slice of a May afternoon is a testament to our impact as the School of Writing, Literature, and Film—in the classroom, in the community, across the nation, and around the world. Despite the challenges of the past few years, the momentum within SWLF is palpable, as you’ll see demonstrated by the newsletter before you. I encourage you to explore the pieces within and then reach out; we want to hear your reflections and ideas! If you want to help keep SWLF on the move and support our mission, please get in touch. Thanks for engaging and being part of the SWLF community.