When UWEC added creative writing as a minor in the early 80’s, it was just what I was looking for to go with my journalism major. When Bruce Taylor pioneered NTI by relocating his fiction class to a back room at Camaraderie where we could uninhibitedly critique, I was blown away by the number of writers who were ten times more talented than I was. And it was one thing Bruce said that made everything click and has remained with me to this day.
“Writing,” he said, “is like fishing. The best part about fishing isn’t the final count of fish caught - it’s the process of fishing, discovering what works and what doesn’t. The best part about writing isn’t the written piece you end up with - it’s the process of discovery while you’re in the act of writing.”
Maybe that was especially profound to me because I love to fish. I got through my senior year living off bass caught near the footbridge on campus.
It was the motivation sparked by wonderful instructors like Bruce Taylor in the English department and Henry Lippold in the journalism department that catapulted me into a rewarding career in TV news where I’ve received 98 Emmy awards, was recently inducted into the NATAS Silver Circle for lifetime achievement, and am currently the evening news anchor at WAVE TV in Louisville.
But it was about 11 years ago, when my life crashed in addiction, that I was able to harness what I was really trained for at UWEC. Fired and humiliated, I saw an opportunity as a journalist to take people someplace where most never go. And I had an opportunity as a creative writer to compose my first book. That book continues a decade later helping people in recovery in ways I never imagined.
UWEC class of 1984
John's book is titled "On The News... In the News"