Your name: Andrea Rissing
Your home town: Columbus, OH
Your major(s): Anthropology
Are you fluent in any language(s) other than English? Diligently working my way through Duolingo Spanish.
What are your career plans? Continue research and teaching in higher education.
What is your favorite book or author and why? Honestly, J.K. Rowling is the only author whose books I’ve attended midnight release parties for, so it seems like probably her. More recently, I’ve loved Just Kids by Patti Smith, Strangers in Their Own Land by Arlie Hochschild, and The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. In different ways, I think all of these authors have a talent for noticing the kinds of small details that signal larger shifts in meaning.
What is your favorite word? Peach
Describe a significant breakthrough in your development as a writer.
When I got back from fieldwork and began writing my dissertation, I was totally lost. The project of transforming a mountain of field notes, jottings, and interview transcripts into something approaching a persuasive argument (much less an interesting one!) seemed impossible. After spending several weeks unproductively drawing lines between words on white boards, I started asking friends and colleagues for advice. The main point was to just get started and understand that revision is not something that follows writing, it is writing. Remembering that original drafts are always just stepping stones to the later work—that their whole purpose is usually just to be torn apart—still helps me get over the initial hurdle of starting.