Tim J. Myers, a Storyteller for All Ages
“We live in an ocean of language. To use it effectively should be a priority for everyone.”
So says Senior Lecturer of English Tim J. Myers, a New York Times bestselling author who in the past year did just that, adding three books to his collection of penned works—now totaling 20—in addition to beginning development on a series of children’s book apps with a major publisher.
The three titles to hit the shelves: Full of Empty, a fairytale of sorts set in a Middle Eastern kingdom; Nectar of Story: Poems, a book of adult prose interweaving stories and poetry; and The Thunder Egg, a tale about Stands-by-Herself, a Cheyenne girl growing up on the Great Plains. As these narratives indicate, when it comes to age group, genre, or recurring theme, Myers considers himself a generalist who is up for writing about almost anything.
“I thought I’d always be a writer for adults, but one day at the library I picked up Where the Wild Things Are to read to my kids, and by the end of the five-minute reading I realized I wanted to be a children’s writer,” he says. “That was my epiphany to pursue children’s writing.”
Myers’ children's books have won recognition from The New York Times, NPR, the Smithsonian, and Nickelodeon, to name a few. In addition to his children’s writing, he has also published over 130 poems and won first prize in a poetry contest judged by John Updike.
With more than 32 years of teaching experience in English and education, Myers often reminds struggling creative writing students that, like them, he’s been there, knocking his head against the wall, but now that he’s learned a number of strategies through trial and error, he is able to impart them to his students. “If they’re really sincere and go at it long enough, they can have a strong sense of craft,” he says.
During his writing and critical thinking courses, which are rooted in rock, pop, and hip hop (he’s also an award-winning songwriter), Myers helps his students work on argumentation and other basic elements of writing, but gives them a plethora of topics to write about in terms of popular music.
“My freshmen are wild and mulling; they keep me connected with what’s going on in the adolescent world,” he says. “Because they can choose music they really care about and have been into for a long time, their motivation is high, benefitting everyone.”