Your name: Chris Batterman
Your home town: Detroit, Michigan
Your major(s): Music and Psychology
Are you fluent in any language(s) other than English? Spanish and Portuguese
What are your career plans? Graduate study in ethnomusicology, research and residence in Latin America, eventually an academic career.
What is your favorite book or author and why? Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera weaves in and out of narratives, both real and surreal, like a series of daydreams. Herrera’s prose reads like poetry and his characters are arresting—the humanity and emotion he invests in them, even within the confines of brevity, allow for them to become symbols for something much larger and much more haunting. I also love the way he beautifully captures the duality of life in Mexico, one that is simultaneously rooted in modernity, yet full of vibrancy, culture, and a unique nostalgia.
What is your favorite word? systemic
Describe a significant breakthrough in your development as a writer: I think a significant part of my growth as a writer came from figuring out how to incorporate my own voice and style into academic writing. In the past, I thought of academic writing as distinct from creative writing and created all sorts of restrictions and constraints for myself. My papers effectively conveyed my thoughts and ideas, but they didn’t sound like they were written by me. My voice just wasn’t coming through in my writing. Once I broke down those constraints and started to let my own personal style and voice find its way into my academic writing, the process started feeling more natural and writing became much more of a pleasure than it had been before.