• Staff Spotlight: Giuseppe Taurino

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in WBN News & Events     Comments 2 comments

    Over the past few weeks we’ve been introducing you all to the wonderful consultants and coaches who help keep WriteByNight running like the smooth, well-oiled writers’ services machine it is.

    Recently we welcomed to WBN Giuseppe Taurino, a talented and lively member of Austin’s literary scene. Below is a Q&A with Giuseppe, followed by a brief bio.


    Where are you from?

    Born and raised in Queens, New York.  Woodhaven, to be exact. A lot of me still lives there.  I often tell my 17-month daughter (who was born here in Austin) that our house has been annexed and whoever walks through the door is officially visiting Queens. She usually responds with a perplexed look and then asks me to take her to the park.


    Where did you study?

    I received a BA in Psychology from New York University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Houston.


    How did you get your start as a writer?

    I got my start as a writer sitting across the table from my nonna (grandmother).  I can remember her telling tons of stories when I was a kid—about Italy during wartime, about my family’s migration to New York in the 70’s, about the stupid things my uncles did growing up—and never once getting bored.  To this day, no one spins tales like Nonna.  She can turn a recap of her day into an edge of your seat kind of affair.  Several members of my family—though maybe not as talented—actually have this gift.

    That said, I didn’t actually start writing with any degree of seriousness until my mid-twenties.  But now that I’ve put so much time and effort into the process—learning how to read well, writing often, revising without ego—I can see how those early encounters with storytelling have shaped everything I am as a writer.


    List some of your influences.

    Without too much thinking: Jack Kerouac, Grace Paley, Herman Hesse, JD Salinger, Charles Baxter, Robert Boswell, Junot Diaz, Antonya Nelson, Alice Munro, John Weir.


    What is the hardest part of writing for you?

    Finding time. Doing the work. Holding the ruthless inner critic at bay until I at least get a completed first draft.


    What is your favorite word and why?

    Zeitgeist.  I learned it, I think, during my sophomore year of high school. After that, I found ways to work it into 75% of the essays I wrote through the end of my undergrad days.  I guess I fell in love with its general meaning (‘sprit of the times’), but more so with the fact that its specific definition was so shifty. It was a word that truly popped off the page and came alive for me.  It gave me my first cerebral glimpse into how powerful and malleable language can be.


    What is your favorite thing about educating writers at WBN?

    For me, as a writer, it’s all about objectifying the writing process. I love the act of holding words and texts and ideas (both mine and others’) out in front of me for observation. I love turning them over and examining the crevices. And I love smashing them against the wall and watching them splinter into shards.  Having the opportunity to help guide another writer—regardless of age or stage—through this kind of destructive/productive activity is the most rewarding and fun work I can imagine.


    Any words of wisdom for aspiring writers?

    I’ve heard thousands of words of wisdom through the years and, quite honestly, I’ve taken a something useful away from all of them. If I had to distill the acquired (or overheard) wisdom, however, I’d say: If you genuinely do the work for the work’s sake, good things will come.  You might never get published, you might never make a bestseller list, but, if you stay true to the process, I guarantee you’ll be rewarded. If nothing else, you’ll learn something about yourself, the world, and your place in that world.  Which, you know, is kind of cool when you think about it.


    Giuseppe Taurino, consultant, coach and instructorGiuseppe Taurino holds an MFA from the University of Houston and has over fifteen years experience in the nonprofit sector as a social worker, counselor and executive. Giuseppe has also worked as a writer-in-residence with Writers in the Schools (WITS) Houston, taught undergraduate and postgraduate English and Creative Writing, and served as Fiction Editor for Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts. He’s been awarded a Donald Barthelme Fellowship in Fiction and scholarships to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. His stories have appeared in Epoch, New South, The Potomac Review, and elsewhere.

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    Bobbi Frels

    I love the piece of advice at the end. Thank you! I posted it on my FB page.
    I’m new to this blog, not sure how to use it yet exactly, but I like what I am finding here.


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