HomeFeaturesFrom the page to the classroom: TJC professor looks to inspire students

From the page to the classroom: TJC professor looks to inspire students

Down the long halls of Jenkins, many faculty offices line up in similar patterns along the corridors. Inside, lies professors who make the spaces their own creatively, be it through decoration or through the addition of their interests. Andrew Lesh professor of English, is no different as his shelves are lined with literature that inspires him with walls decorated to invoke his bookish and fantasy-based interests.

Many professors at TJC pursue creative endeavors outside of campus and Lesh is one of them. While on the job he teaches English Composition and World Literature, in his own time he develops and writes his own stories that deal in the weird and fantastical in both short form and more novel length styles.

Lesh is currently in the process of getting a creative novel published, an endeavor that is no small task and comes with several struggles. The novel’s working title is “Curse of the Claimed,” a story focused on a small group of pirates in a fantastical setting, using their skills and wit to overcome the obstacles of their journey.

Andrew Lesh spends time in his office surrounded by his favorite media. Lesh enjoys the magical realism style of literature along with fantasy and contemporary fiction.

“You’re usually trying to go find an agent and then agents will take it to publishing houses and things like that,” Lesh said. “So, you have to write query letters, which… That’s a task. Getting the right query letter and finding the right agent is not an easy thing, especially in a market that’s already saturated with all sorts of stuff. The other route you can take within that realm is self-publishing. I haven’t gone there yet, but it is in the back of my head.”

Lesh has been featured in various literary magazines such as Coffin Bell Magazine, Blind Corner Literary, Red Ogre Magazine and Chaotic Merge Magazine. All these stories, such as “The Forgetting Ritual: A How-To Guide” are written in Lesh’s contemporary style.

“When I go to short stories, I like to still have some of the fabulous some type of elements,” Lesh said. “It’s just more enjoyable to write for me.”

The journey of becoming a published author is a path littered with rejection. Every writer seeking to be published in a magazine or have a publishing deal for a book will have to manage with that rejection at some point in their lives. Lesh finds comfort
and solidarity in this feeling with his fellow writers looking to be published, such as other English Department professors.

“They’re dealing with the same thing, so it’s not just you. It’s not just me. Other really, really intelligent people who are good at what they do, they’re dealing with all that rejection,” Lesh said. “So even though it’s a sad group to be in, having that sense of camaraderie where you’re all working toward the same end goal and knowing that it’s a really hard thing to do, it does mean a lot in the end.”

As a professor, Lesh aims to inspire his students to continue developing their literary skills.

“As bad as it sounds, just write it as long as you’re writing, even if it’s not good that day, you can always look at it again and make it a lot better,” Lesh said. “If it’s not written, you’re never going to be a writer.”

Students looking for opportunities to have their writing published have options on campus through the Bell Tower Arts Journal. The Bell Tower is an arts magazine dedicated to the humanities, where Lesh served as a member of The Bell Tower selection committee for the 2023 edition of the magazine that was officially released on April 13.

The Bell Tower Arts Journal is an excellent place for students of various artistic backgrounds to find a community, according to Regan Minkel, English professor and editor of The Bell Tower Arts Journal.

Though the most recent addition has already come out, students will be able to submit their works for the next journal. For more information, visit TJC.edu.

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