One of my favorite things about studying literature was the moment I came to see it as the meeting ground for all the other humanities.
When we approach a text, we do so with an eye toward what is guiding our reading: history, philosophy, theory, etc. Knowledge of the other humanities becomes fundamental for the literary critic.
As a professor I advocate for my students to become avid readers of all subjects so that the literary texts they choose to engage with can speak to them more easily.
In fact, all books speak. We listen and return the favor in writing, whether in response papers, a novel, or poetry.
I feel that my recent interest in creative writing was born of a lifetime of reading, my training as a literary critic and my personal teaching philosophy, which, simply stated, is to pay it forward.
We carry our readings as well as our experiences with us and an understanding of the factors that influence each helps us build the future, both on and off paper.