On Sept. 18, the University of Tulsa’s Honors Program welcomed author Corey Brettschneider for the second part of his visiting seminar, the first one being to promote his current book, “The Oath and the Office,” which is about how much power is within the executive branch.
Though the event was more casual than the previous night’s, it was still just as interesting and thought-provoking. Instead of talking about his writings, he spoke about the method behind it. Just as if he was talking about his book and the research behind it, he spoke enthusiastically and with intent. When this was happening, a few of the audience members — including myself — were looking on with relief: to have comfort that no matter what process, whether it’s research, writing or practicing, the beginning part is always the toughest. Brettscheider gave assurance that at first, the project is a mess and almost everything is going to be all over the place; nevertheless, the final product is something to look forward to. That kind of encouragement brought a few students — including myself — to talk about their research and how they execute their projects at the beginning, then later on how they move onto piecing it all together.
Brettscheider listened to each student — taking in all of their comments, then waiting to ask the right questions. He didn’t interrupt, instead letting the students speak as much as they needed to. When he spoke, it was to fill in the gaps — encouraging the students to keep in mind certain questions as they move forward with their projects and to seek advice on the stuff they needed help on. Brettschneider acknowledged that each process was different, and that if there were some success or progression, then it was the right thing to do with a few tweaks along the way.
As it was my turn to speak, I shared with him my experience being a musician, and how I went about learning each piece and song, the questions I ask myself and keep in mind, and the research I conduct before and during the piece including the composers and the historical background. We found a common ground in the way that we thought — we both look for inspiration through the information that we obtain and try to find our own individual voice through the projects, may it be through practice or writing (in this case, both of them intertwine). It was a relief to know that the process may take a while, but it comes down to one thing: understanding the knowledge given and using it later on for more challenging projects and research.
Towards the end of the seminar, Brettschneider gave more thorough examples of the people he had encountered throughout his life, and how he was able to grasp the techniques that he uses now when writing drafts, reading articles or researching topics that wouldn’t seem to be related to his field of study. What he discussed was strong, especially when starting out with different ideas. It was truly an inspiration.