Posted 10:28 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023

Prof. Chase Cormier in his writing workspace.

Writing in Global Cultures and Languages

The Write Here, Write Now blog invites writers from the University of Wisconsin and La Crosse communities to respond to a series of questions that shed light on their writing lives. As readers of the blog will discover, learning to write is an ongoing, life-long process and all writers, from first-year students to career professionals, benefit from reflecting on the writing process and sharing that process with others. 

Name and Title: Prof. Chase Cormier, Lecturer of French

Department, Speciality Area, and Classes Typically Taught: Global Cultures & Languages, Louisiana literature and foodways. I teach French grammar, Francophone literature and culture, and professional communication.

Current Writing Project: I am currently writing a dissertation on the socio-cultural importance of Louisiana butchering and meat. I am also in the editing process of my first novel.

1. What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading works written by Dany Laferriere and Georgette LeBlanc.

2. What type(s) of writing do you regularly engage in? 

I write poetry and prose daily. I have a blog of poetry; I am also finishing up a novel, and am in the beginning stages of a poetry collection. All in French. I work on academic writing projects (my dissertation and ongoing academic articles) weekly, which are all in English.

3. When/where/how do you write? What are your “writing necessities”?

I write either at my desk in my home office space or sitting on the floor in my living room. I usually write while listening to jazz/blues or West African Kora music. I usually light a candle and sip tea or coffee depending on the time of day.

    4. What's the best writing advice you've received?

    Any writing project can feel like a mountainous task. It cannot and should not be completed in one attempt. Think of the process as a process, one of many small steps. Then, consider only the step right in front of you. One phrase at a time. One paragraph at a time.

    5. How does your discipline affect your writing style?

    I earned a Bachelor's degree in Creative Writing from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. The writing program there is heavily influenced by styles of James Lee Burke and Ernest Gaines. Therefore, the writing and editing process are done at two levels: the verb and the paragraph. Each work of creative or or academic writing should be constructed of carefully chosen, precise verbs and coherent, solid paragraphs. I still employ this approach to my creative and academic writing. Also, being from Louisiana where English and French were part of my daily life, I write in both. However, French language and culture faced near erasure in the 20th century, so I write poems and stories in French with a sense of pride and urgency. I want to do my part in maximizing the availability of French literature in Louisiana.

    6. How has your work experience influenced how you write?

    It is inevitable that our experiences influence how we write. I pay attention to my surroundings. I listen to others. I take note of interesting words and phrases. I adopt other people's perceptions and phrasing. I enjoy the sound of words. As I write, I read my words out loud and ask myself "How does this sound?" If it does not sound good or right, I change it until it does. Words are made for the mouth. Speaking them into the air gives them life and allows you to hear them. This is a useful technique in the editing process too.

    7. What do you think students need to know about academic writing?  

    It is easy for no one. It is supposed to be difficult, but it should come with some satisfaction. If you are open to that inspiration, it is very important to create a space in which you can easily and efficiently transmit ideas onto paper (or digital documents). If you have the time and space to pull that thread a bit more, do it. Write now. This is how you get up that mountain: one step at a time. One little idea at a time.