Sandra Moran: anthropology professor and writer extraordinaire

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By Francais Healy

Photo by Julia Larberg
Photo by Julia Larberg

Sandra Moran is both an accomplished teacher and an award winning writer. Moran has written three novels, the first of which is the award-winning “Letters Never Sent”, which has won four lit- erary awards and was a finalist for two additional awards.
“With ‘Letters Never Sent’, I looked at gender roles, particularly in the 1930s, 40s and 50s as opposed to what was being ex- perienced by a woman at the end of the 1990s,” said Moran.

Her second novel, ‘Nudge’, is about a business woman who is contacted by a mysterious client who wants her to write and market a comprehensive addition to the religious texts of the world.

Moran also went on the write the novel that the protagonist of “Nudge” wrote, titled, “The Addendum”. “With ‘Nudge’ I was interested in look- ing at the universality of belief because if you break down all belief systems, there are certain things they all do,” said Moran. “I found it really fascinating to look at what if all belief was really the same thing, just a different name for it.”
One of the awards that Moran was a finalist of was The Edmund White award, which Moran said she was extremely proud of. “It is fairly prodigious, I was up against four other fantastically talented authors,” said Moran. “This one is probably one of the more difficult ones to be considered for.”

Moran has a method to keeping on top of her work. It all revolves around tight scheduling and organization. “I have every day broken down as to when I’m going to write. I know I’ll get up and have a couple of cups of coffee, at least, and then I’m going to sit down and I’m going to write for at least four to five hours,” said Moran. “Usually, what I’ll do is I’ll sit down and read what I wrote the day before to get myself back into the story. I also create playlists for each of the characters. When I go running I listen to them and will be thinking about motivations for characters.”

Moran has felt drawn to writing since her adolescence. “I think I probably always had known that I wanted to write. […] I wrote my first book when I was 16 which was this awful rip off of ‘Red Badge of Courage’, it was horrible, it was like this sweeping epic of the civil war and I found it the other day and it was awful,” said Moran.

Against the advice of journalism professors and despite getting a degree in journalism, Moran still ended up writing fiction.
Moran also has some advice for aspiring writers here at the college. “The best advice I can give you is just to write. It’s really easy to say ‘oh I’ll do it tomorrow,’ or after I finish working out or after I do my laundry. The trick really is to find a time and just to sit down and write. And if you’re stuck, just write. If you’re having writers block, just write. It doesn’t even have to necessarily make sense but write just to get yourself thinking,” said Moran.

“Self publishing is really big right now, it’s really coming into it’s own, there are all sorts of avenues to get your work out there but you can’t get it out there unless you write it.”

Pat Decker, associate professor/director of the honors program at the college feels that Moran is a valuable asset to the college. “She’s an excellent instructor. Students really enjoy her in the classroom, she puts a lot of energy into the class.”

Her discipline has gotten her to a prestigious place in life through her writing. “I love teaching. and my desire is for everyone who takes an anthropology class to secretly want to be an anthropologist,” said Moran, “I’ve been here for 13, maybe almost 14 years, and I love the faculty, I love the students, and I love the campus. It’s wonderful, it’s the best job ever,” said Moran.
 

Contact Francais Healy, staff reporter, fhealy@jccc.edu

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