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Alumni Spotlight: Nathalie Taylor

What is your current position? Why were you drawn to this line of work?

Nathalie Taylor, Cal Poly English Alumna
Nathalie Taylor

I free-lance for the print media through my business, Krona Publications–mainly articles with a focus on restaurants, travel, entertainment, art and history.

Public Relations was my previous career concentration, but I was lured by the excitement of the print media. I still find this career more satisfying. Each assignment is different–I start with a blank screen, and when I type the last letter I have created something unique and alive–something that I could never replicate.

If my writing can warm hearts, inspire or comfort, then I feel I have done my job.

What accomplishments are you most proud of in your career/life?

My writing and photography awards. From 2004 to 2017 I have been honored with 64 county-wide awards, mainly from the San Diego Press Club and the San Diego Society of Professional Journalists.

Three of those awards were from the Erle Stanley Gardner Mystery Writing Contest, where I took two first place awards (2006 and 2009) and one third (2007).
However, the award that gave me the boost of confidence to proceed with a writing career, was a second place in the 1979 Cal Poly Creative Writing Contest (Now known as the Alfred Landwehr Creative Writing Contest).

How has your English degree from Cal Poly impacted your career/life?

I have been divorced since 1990 and did not receive alimony or financial support. Because of my Bachelor of Arts degree in English, I have been able to support myself, live comfortably, purchase my own home, and travel the world.

As a writer, I consistently place high in county-wide writing/journalism contests each year. I feel that My Cal Poly English degree gives me the edge.

My time at Cal Poly also sparked an interest in life-long-learning. Even though I am not a student any longer, I will never cease to explore, question, and challenge.

Do you have any advice for current English majors at Cal Poly?

  • Business World: People might tell you that your studies as an English major won’t lead to anything worthwhile, but that simply isn’t true.  English majors possess the critical thinking skills that will be useful in any career. The fact that most English majors are “analog” thinkers enables them to see the entire picture and to recognize relationships between various situations. A typical English major’s perception of the world is not “black and white,” and neither is the world.
  • Print Media World: Be truthful in your writing and reporting.  Don’t succumb to embellishment just to sell a story.  Also, I always record my interviews and type my quotes word for word from the recordings.  That way there can never be any question – it protects your reputation.  I have had situations where people have said, “I never said that.”  Then, I just go to back to the recordings. Tenacity is important in the print media world. Don't take rejection seriously – but continue to submit articles and cover letters.  As my Cal Poly professor Dr. Jim Simmons said, "Keep submitting and you will eventually get published."  It is also important to read the publications and become familiar with their styles and requirements, that way you will know if your story will be a good fit for the publication.  (Some newspapers and magazines list their requirements online.)

Favorite author/book and why? (or if you can't choose, favorite genre?)

Sylvia Plath’s brilliant writings have influenced me greatly – especially her work of poetry, “Ariel.”  She has a gift for extracting emotions and metaphors from ordinary experiences.  She also draws the reader to the raw, emotional heart of extraordinary events without descending into the maudlin. Her work is sometimes painful to read, but is also enlightening. When I read her poems I feel like I have been charged with a bolt of electricity. “I sizzled in his blue volts,” or more accurately – her “blue volts.” (Reference:  “The Hanging Man”)

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