Kevin Clouther, MFA
What do you do at UNO/UNMC?
At UNMC, I periodically lead reflective writing workshops for medical students and health care workers. At UNO, I teach all levels of fiction writing to undergraduates and creative nonfiction to first-year students in the Thompson Learning Community; currently, I'm serving my second two-year term on the Executive Committee of the Medical Humanities. At the graduate level, I direct the Master of Fine Arts in Writing.
Tell us about your educational research interests and teaching role.
I begin fiction the way I encourage my students to begin, with a question I don’t know the answer to, a question that interests me enough to think about every day. The question doesn't have to come from life, though the feeling always does. What would I do if I were losing my sight, a little more each day? If captors promised me my real life, how would I reply? Usually, I prefer imagination to memory. I enter each project with the understanding that these questions are more likely to be deepened than answered and there’s value to deepening a mystery if the mystery is meaningful enough.
What is one of your favorite/memorable teaching moments?
When a student abandons artful mimicry for a voice that sounds unlike anyone else--there's nothing better than witnessing that progression. Sometimes it happens in a single class but more often it happens over several semesters of study.
What do you see as the biggest benefit to being a member of the IAE?
The individual and collective brilliance of the members. I'm continually learning about things I hadn't even thought to consider.
What's the best advice you've ever received?
The best advice I've received can be summed up in a quote by Miles Davis, who said, "Sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself."