Professor Hewett’s ENG 225 Creative Nonfiction course had the pleasure of hosting writer and educator Tonee Moll during Visiting Writer’s week that was held this April 2023. One of Moll’s recent creations You Can Not Save Here, which won the 2022 Jean Feldman Poetry Prize, is a poetry book they wrote during the pandemic about the outbreak itself and all that occurred during this time period and feeling a constant gnawing that the world is going to end. Currently Moll’s writing has a focus on talking about gender, gender identity, and what it means for them to be a non-binary writer.
Moll’s experiences with the literary world have provided them with knowledge and wisdom about the nature of publishing and the effects nonfiction and memoir work can have on one’s life. Stemming from their personal past experience of seeing more benefit from a writing contest than a deal with a known publishing company, Moll broke down the differences that lie between small press/academic press publishing vs. Big 5 corporate company publishing and the levels of exposure and monetary compensation.
Along with informing the class and the future writers that sat before them about the different outlets that are available to us when we seek to publish our work and grow further in our literary careers, Moll addressed the realities of discussing your personal life and those who are or have been a part of it and the good and bad consequences that can come from doing so. Moll states, “Writing is no different than any other form of communication so accept the same thing. If you reveal someone’s secret in writing and say well it’s for art, I don’t think art is an excuse. I think it’s the same exact thing as if someone had just in this class told someone’s secret. We can’t excuse the art part of it, something you would share, something you know you would be uncomfortable sharing, something you consider ethical or unethical sharing. That same standard applies even if you are making art out of it.”
The knowledge and wisdom Moll shared with the class made a lasting impression that won’t be forgotten, Professor Hewett’s ENG 225 course thanks them and appreciates the time that they spent with us!