Retired English professor publishes his latest book of creative non-fiction
When Dr. Rick Bailey, a retired HFC English professor, finished his doctorate in 1988, it dramatically changed his approach to teaching English composition.
It also paved the way for him to write his two collections of creative non-fiction: American English, Italian Chocolate: Small Subjects of Great Importance and The Enjoy Agenda: At Home and Abroad (his latter book was recently released).
“One of the values of writing a dissertation (‘A Case Method Approach to Academic Writing’) for my doctorate was undertaking a long-term project and seeing it come to fruition. It gave me confidence when new projects came along,” explained Bailey, of Bloomfield Hills, who taught at HFC from 1976-2015.
When teaching composition, especially in his online courses, Bailey scripted instructional materials and wrote sample essays for the assignments, illustrating how to make the connections between personal experience and what students were reading at the time, as well as how to do research and integrate research into writing.
“For me, college literacy is using writing to think about your life, reading with understanding, and making connections between your personal knowledge and acquired knowledge,” said Bailey. “After teaching online for 20 years, I had a large body of work. I shaped many of my sample essays into my first collection of creative non-fiction. I’ve spent 20 years writing daily. So I keep writing out of habit and for the pleasure of it.”
The Enjoy Agenda
In retirement, Bailey produced a lot of new material for The Enjoy Agenda, his second collection of creative non-fiction. Both books were legacy projects, according to Bailey, something he wanted to leave behind for his two children and two grandchildren.
“They might wonder, ‘What was he like? What happened in his life? What did he think about? What did he sound like?’ These books will answer those questions,” explained Bailey. “I think of my two collections of essays not as the story of my life, but stories from my life. There are stories about me as a kid, a man, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a teacher; about my experiences growing up in the Midwest, about being in a multicultural marriage as well." (His wife, Tiziana Canducci, a retired automotive designer, is from Italy.)
The subjects of Bailey’s essays found in The Enjoy Agenda vary, ranging from his first gelato experience in Italy, having a toothache in Venice, dealing with jet lag in China, and his half-hearted attempts to lower his blood pressure, to milk and milk substitutes, his father’s feet, and the limits of his mastery of the Italian language.
Bailey will sign The Enjoy Agenda at the following locations on the following dates:
• The Bloomfield Township Library, located at 1099 Lone Pine Rd. in Bloomfield Township, on Tuesday, May 7, from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. Call (248) 642-5800.
• Pages Bookshop, located at 19560 Grand River Ave. in Detroit, on Thursday, May 30, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. Call (313) 473-7342.
• Creative 360, located at 1517 Bayliss St. in Midland, on Tuesday, June 4, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. Call (989) 837-1885.
• McLean and Eakin, located at 307 E. Lake St. in Petoskey, on Thursday, June 6, at 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. Call (231) 347-1180.
• Brilliant Books, located at 118 E. Front St. in Traverse City, on Friday, Aug. 9, time TBD. Call (231) 946-2665.
Bailey, who has a bachelor’s degree in English from Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti; a master’s degree in English from Duke University in Durham, NC; a teaching certificate from the University of Michigan-Dearborn; and his doctorate in English, language, and literature with a focus on teaching writing from the University of Michiganin Ann Arbor, has written a total of nine books, seven of which are textbooks.
Currently, he is working on his third collection of creative non-fiction, whose tentative title is The Celebration Lunch.
“Writing is a matter of perseverance,” said Bailey. “I have gap periods when I think, ‘Am I done? Do I have anything else to say?’ It can be a relief to engage again and go back to work. A news story, a piece of music, or something my wife says out of the blue gets me thinking, triggers memory, and then, bang! I have a new line of inquiry, something that takes me in a new direction. That’s the beauty and fascination of the writing process.”
Listen to a screencast of Bailey reading from The Enjoy Agenda.
Visit Bailey at rick-bailey.com.