By Sarah-Grace Battles, Chattanooga, Tenn–
Sarah Einstein, an Assistant Professor in the English department, recently published two pieces that challenge cultural norms in the realm of sexuality and knowledge that our culture silences.
Einstein began her first career in non-profit administration and continued a second in advertising and now, is in her third at UTC in academia.
“Teaching and writing are both passions of mine, although I think both require a fair amount of maturity and insight, so I’m not sorry that I come to this new career a little late in life,” Einstein said.
Einstein referred to UTC as a “creative writing professor’s dream school” because of the diversity of students that all have a variety of interests. “My students are writing really fascinating essays, stories, and poems and the quality of the work is humbling and the students here are engaged in a wonderful way” she said.
The first piece Einstein has recently published is a Salon article titled “I Have Never Turned Heads” and the second is a memoir titled Mot.
Her article, “I Have Never Turned Heads,” discusses how desire changes over time based on different romantic interests and partners and was written for the literary anthology Soulmate 101.
Einstein’s work focuses on desire, sexuality and embodiment because she’s “interested in bringing to the surface parts of our lived experience that we usually keep very private” and also believes that “creative nonfiction has become so popular as a genre is that it breaks down the barrier between the reader the author, and creates an intimacy that allows for just this sort of writing.”
Her memoir, Mot, focuses on a different sort of intimacy that is involved with friendship. In the piece, Mot examines her friendship with “an older homeless veteran—a brilliant man who survived a world populated with demons, dead gods, and Polish folktale villains in ingenious ways.”
Einstein believed that she, on her own, was “sufficient to change a difficult life made worse by a broken system of social services and veterans’ benefits.”
“People like me—middle class white folk—are encouraged to believe that if we turn our individual attention toward social ills, that’s enough. It’s not.”
Einstein believes that changes in the system and political action are required in order to curb social ills.
“This book examines how my failure to help Mot build a more livable life demonstrates this,” she said.
Einstein is currently finishing her PhD at Ohio University and working on an essay collection that examines how our identities are shaped that’s tentatively titled Person, Place, Thing.
Mostly, Einstein is focusing on her students right now and how to help them develop their own voice. “One of the most exciting things about teaching writing is that you get to have a hand in helping so many talented, exciting new voices find readers.”