What is the best thing that I love about my work? The passion. Growing up I never-ever thought that I would end up doing a job that made me wonder in the world why they would pay me to do something I loved so much, which I think relates to a piece of advice my father gave me when I was younger. He told me to “work hard, play hard!” I’m not sure if he fully intended for me to take that to heart and create a professional job for myself that actually allowed me to do both of those things at once. As a professor of new literacies I get to work really hard at reading and viewing comic books, graphic novels, and animated films and cartoons. Not sure that’s fully what my dad intended but I created and carved my place in a new 21st century field of study in academia that would indeed allow me to play while I worked, which I suppose isn’t exactly what he meant. However, it worked and I am forever grateful that he inspired me to truly follow my passion, whole-heartedly both professionally and personally.
What is my idea of perfect happiness? This one’s easy: Perfect happiness is a life full of reading and writing about graphic novels and animation for kids and young adults; and, moreover, being paid to do it by a University that supports this type of creative scholarship! To make it even more perfect than just happiness, however, is the addition of reading and writing about graphic novels and animation alongside my literary muses and amazing co-writers, my three wiener dogs Samantha, Max and Alex Morgan Monnin.
What is my greatest fear? Writing without my three little literary muses. Having wiener dogs is not just a community service in my opinion, for it makes everyone happy to see them when we go out for a walk or hike. Having wiener dogs is a personal service because they make me the happiest me I can be, and that, in turn, helps me write productively and with passion.
What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? I am not a patient person. In fact, I actually own an Apple watch because it reminds me to breathe throughout the day and slow down. I always feel like I can accomplish way more than is perhaps healthy for one person. Lol.
Which living persons in my profession do I most admire? Dr. Diane Yendol-Hoppey. Period. Why? She is currently the Dean of the College of Education at the University of North Florida, and I want to be clear before I tell you why she is the person I most admire right now. First, I am NOT saying it’s her hoping she reads this. It’s not a ploy. Here’s the read deal: Dr. Yendol-Hoppey is the most impactful leader I have ever worked for. She is driven, passionate, and knows how to juggle a million things at once. Since I too want to move up in my field and do want to pursue administrative positions at universities I have so much I can learn from someone who is so dynamic, so dynamic that she is taking our college’s reputation to the next, higher, more prestigious level. I am grateful I just get to be a part of it and have her mentor me.
What is my greatest extravagance? Wow! Great question: I would have to say that my greatest extravagance is the amount of time I spend working. I extravagantly work at the expense of my own personal life. So, for anyone reading this, and noting that I just turned 40 and am starting to really reflect on things in my life that need to change, I would recommend that people do in fact pursue their career dreams and heartfelt professional work accomplishments. I would also recommend that people, before they turn 40, try to place as much emphasis on their personal life successes as they do their professional life successes.
On what occasion would I lie? I would be lying if I said I wanted to answer this question. Lol. Anyways, the honest answer is that I really don’t lie. I’m not good at it. I have what people have told me my entire life is “a readable face.” So, as I aged and heard that over and over again I started to figure out that I should just be brutally honest. My significant other and I call it being an “honest a*%hole”, and it really does help because then there are no secrets and I certainly can’t get in trouble if she doesn’t like the answer. I guess, in hindsight, it’s a great dating strategy.
What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? Honestly, nothing. If I could make a wish list though I would wish that I was offered by my publishers and my work more travel money to help support all of my books I write that give each organization credit. That would really be helpful and considerate because I work really hard to promote the university and my two amazing publishers.
When and where was I the happiest, in my work? Right now. It’s weird. I mean, I never knew that following my passion would mean that every day would get better. I mean, think of it, every day is better than the last one. Money doesn’t really matter too much when you choose a career that makes you feel that amazing. People really aren’t lying when they say that following your heart is always better than following the money.
If I could, what would I change about myself? I would want to have kids. I’ve had an amazing, so-very-fortunate life. I get that. The only dream I didn’t reach was kids. So I guess not being a mom is what I would change.
What is my greatest achievement in work? Being true to myself.
Where would I most like to live? Boulder, Colorado! Easy one! Favorite place in the world.
What is my most treasured possession? Because I don’t have kids, my dogs are my kids. Sometimes I think it’s perhaps better than even having real kids. They love me no matter what. They never talk back. They want to do to all the same things I want to do. It’s hilarious and amazing. You get the idea! But seriously, just a few months ago I lost my soul-mate dog, Samantha. She was like a mini-me that taught me to look at myself in the mirror and face all my amazing and not-so-amazing qualities all at once. She was
the closest living being to me, and she always will be. I just know that. It’s intuitively concrete. But, sorry, to answer the question: My most treasured possession is the grace of being the holder of her ashes. I would run back into my burning down condo to save her ashes.
What books influenced my life and how? Everything by Charles Dickens. Dickens’ work helped me to better understand the plight of people in history who grew up in the direst of circumstances and yet still thrived within themselves to define success on a personal level.
Who are my favorite writers? Charles Dickens. Kazu Kibiushi. Doris Kearns Goodwin. Walter Isaacson. Jane Austen. Mark Twain. Doug TenNapel. Abraham Lincoln.
Who is my hero or heroine in fiction? Philip Pirrip. “Pip” from Dickens’ Great Expectations.
Who are my heroes and heroines in real life? Heath Ledger and his portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight.
Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime? The Dark Knight with Heath Ledger and Christian Bale.
What role plays art in my life and work? Art is everywhere.
Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? My three wiener dogs.
Which people in my profession would i love to meet in 2017?
Christopher Nolan. Stan Lee. Harrison Ford. Steven Spielberg. George Lucas.
What project, in 2017, am I looking forward to work on? Talking about teaching graphic novels and comics in South Korea and finding a new publisher for my latest book entitled Teaching Garfield in Elementary Language Arts because my original publisher wrote the contract for it to only come out in e-book and I would it to come out in both e-book and print-text format.
Where can you see me or my work in 2017? Chicago Comic Con, South Korea, Denver Comic Con, San Diego Comic Con, Florida Reading Association. And repeat for all years following.
What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? In an exciting and slightly startling way I’ll never retire from a career that makes me entirely passionate.
Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story? Janet Lee, artist of Return of the Dapper Men.
How can you contact me? Telepathically at firstname.lastname@example.org.