Neil Brookhouse

Class of 2017, BA in Creative Writing, BA in Psychology

Neil Brookhouse” Crozier

What was your favorite part of studying Creative Writing at UE?

I think the best part of the CW department is the professors. They’re all superb at their craft, and they really do everything they can to foster that same passion and those same capabilities in their students. There are a lot of one-on-one interactions with the professors, and they take the time to understand who you are as a person. I also really appreciate their candor, which definitely helps in personal growth tasks like achieving self-awareness and accepting your own limitations.

What did you experience in UE’s CRW department that feels special/unique to our program?

I feel like that one-on-one interaction aspect I mentioned earlier would definitely be more difficult to attain at a larger university. Also, the fact that we have a handful of prestigious literary journals that employ the students as interns really helps you get a feel for what the publishing world is like and bolsters analytic skills.

What was your favorite Creative Writing class and why?

My favorite class was probably Writing Workshop with Professor Griffith. There were only four people in the class, which meant we got to very extensively workshop our pieces. On a more personal level, this class really challenged me in terms of poetry writing, and although I coped with these challenges in an unhealthy way (I spent nine hours crouched over a ten-line poem, refusing to eat or rest, snarling at my roommate when he tried to feed me), I think they were crucial to my professional and creative growth.

What are you up to now?

I’m working as a creative writer for Medieval Collectibles, a niche retail company in Princeton. Right now, I’m basically just writing product descriptions, but I get to learn a lot about history and culture while I’m doing it, and the job challenges me to find new and engaging ways of connecting information to products and giving each product its own special backstory. With traffic, it’s about a 45-minute drive there and a 45-minute drive home, but I’m always excited to get out of bed. Plus, I have a bag of actual chain mail just sort of chilling on my desk, which is pretty cool.

In terms of my own writing, I’ve been working on an absurdist novel for a couple of years, and I’m making progress, but with two jobs (I also scoop ice cream), I only have about three hours of free time a day, and my weekends are also pretty booked all the time. Being an adult is busier than I thought. I’ve finished editing “Neighbors” and am ready to submit it to some journals to see if I can get it published, but I haven’t actually done it yet, mainly because I have a fear of rejection, and I handle all my fears avoidantly. But if you ask me face-to-face, I’ll tell you it’s because I’m waiting on UE alumnus Danielle Gillespie to tell me it’s ready. Which she has, but I didn’t hear her.

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