November 1, 2009

iScribe Interview Series - Travels, Cows, and a Whole Bunch of Georges

Artist's rendition.

Name: George C. Whaley, Jr.
Major(s): Writing & Rhetoric
Year of Graduation: December 2009
Position: Featured writer (Fall 2009, Spring 2010)

So George C. Whaley, Jr, what does the "C" stand for?
The "C" stands for Carder. I was named after the old man, of course, who was in turn named after his great-uncle, George Carder.

Aside from your awesome name, we heard you live on a farm. Is it the same farm featured in "A Vicious, Pretty Cycle?" What is farm life like in southern Rhode Island?
Yes, the farm featured in "A Vicious, Pretty Cycle" is in fact my family's farm in South Kingstown. Farm life is, in a word, busy. There is always something to do, no matter the time of year. Though there is down time of course, particularly in the winter months, the cattle and other animals need to be tended to every day. It can be monotonous, though excitement is often added to the daily grind in the form of minor disasters: racing out into the field to cover a hay stack at two in the morning as a surprise thundershower rolls in, being woken up by a neighbor's call that a cow is running down the road again, putting a tractor through a wall and then trying to put it back together before anyone notices, etc.

We're so happy to feature your travel writing in our Fall 2009 edition. When and under what circumstances did you write these texts? Would you be willing to tell us a bit about your writing process, for these pieces specifically or with regard to your writing collectively?
I wrote both of these pieces earlier this summer as assignments for an online travel writing class, WRT 305 to be exact. One such assignment required me to attend a cultural event, with the text "Clam Bake" being the result. My other piece, "A Vicious, Pretty Cycle" came out of an interesting prompt which required me to follow a specific set of directions and observe my surroundings at every stop. Since this was all originally for a writing class, I completed several drafts of each piece, and received quite a bit of valuable feedback from my fellow students. I also did a lot of my writing in the wee hours of the morning right before due dates; I find that the pressure of a deadline looming over my head improves my productivity. I really don't recommend it, but it works for me.

How do you milk a cow?
Well that depends whether you are milking by hand or with a machine. To milk manually, you make a loose fist around the teat. Then starting at the base of the udder, squeeze slightly with your index finger and thumb, and pull your hand down the length of the teat, keeping the pressure on the whole way. Essentially, you have to pull down the milk. With a milking machine, regardless of the model being used, you just attach the cups to the teats, and wait until the cow's dry. In either case, you may also need to keep an eye on the hind legs, depending on the irritability of the individual animal.

Is this your first time being published?
Yes, this is the first time I'm being published, and I am honored that my work will be featured in the pages of this fine publication, The Independent Scribe.

So what have you been reading lately? Any fabulous poetry or travel writing you'd suggest for our readers? Any specific writers you'd recommend?
Unfortunately I've been reading little outside the assigned texts for my classes this semester. However, a friend and associate of mine has recently introduced me to the poetic works of D. H. Lawrence. I'll admit I don't have much experience in the field of poetry, but so far I'd say this is definitely an author that's worth looking into.

Are you working on any new projects? Care to share?
I'm in the middle of my final semester at URI, and am currently working on creating an electronic portfolio, the capstone of the Writing & Rhetoric major. I've been sorting through everything I've written throughout my studies here at URI, looking for the very best of my work to revise and include in my final e-portfolio. Writing aside, I still have to figure out how to put everything online in an effective, aesthetically pleasing manner, so it's definitely a long ways from being done. It doesn't look like I'll be able to knock it out on the night before it's due, no matter how much I want to.

Tell us one thing about yourself we'd never guess from reading your published pieces in The Independent Scribe.
When I was in the seventh grade, I consistently flunked each and every assignment in my Language Arts class. Back then, I sure as hell didn't see myself majoring in writing!

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