“Everywhere you looked the overarching theme was low-key comfort. Such is man,” writes Kenneth Fish, Library Access Services Coordinator, commenting on men’s fashion in one of his daily columns on menswear at examiner.com.
Hold on! Fish writes a DAILY COLUMN on MENSWEAR for the once San Francisco evening newspaper and now national online news-zine that claims to be the “insider source for everything local”? To what does he attribute his budding success as a writer on the payroll of an organization that has ballooned from 60-70 writers in March 2009, when he joined, to nearly 700 just four months later?
Why, becoming a Humanities student in the Pathways program!
Prior to entering the program as a freshman with no prior college experience, Fish maintained a private blog. He had a loyal following but he was a closet writer. “I wanted to write for a living,” he says, “but I feared exposure.” Foundations (a required Pathways entry course) with Tom Burke and Poetry Writing with Jan VanStavern changed all that.
According to Fish, one of the first things Tom Burke said to him in Foundations was, “If you’re a writer and people ask what you do, tell them you’re a writer. Say it enough and it will happen.” Fish adds, “And it did!”
While it sounds magical, it wasn’t and still isn’t. Fish, now in his senior year, has worked hard as a student in the Humanities program while working full-time in the library. He attributes his leap into the paid world of writers to the confidence he has gained here through a combination of carefully honed analysis skills, focused writing (and lots of it), invaluable critique and strong support from professors, strict deadlines and, even more important, “being turned on to a way of thinking that hadn’t dawned on me before.” Fish is also hooked because, as he asserts, “Pathways reinforces that a lifetime worth of experience, though not collegiate, is worth something.”
What’s the best part of writing a menswear column? “Correspondence with designers and notes of gratitude from their PR people.” Even better? “Being invited to model clothing in Paris this summer for my favorite designer, Walter Van Beirendonck.” While personal funds didn’t permit, Fish was more than flattered. “He is my all time favorite designer,” he beams.
Who knows? Maybe Fish will next write a children’s book on fashionable colors to rival the stories of Dr. Seuss. (Thanks for suggesting the title, Fish.)
UPDATE: As of July, 2010, Fish is no longer writing for the Examiner. Instead, he has started his own review blog. You can read his work here.