My name is Brett Westbrook. I was born and raised in Austin.
Writing for me is fun. It actually, honestly is just fun. A lot of the time, most of the time, it’s not easy. Figuring out the absolute best way to say what I want to get across is a puzzle. I’ll go down a path, certain it’s the right one and then hit a dead end. That’s OK. I’m convinced it’s as important to know what I’m not writing about as it is to know what I am writing about.
Teaching writing has shaped how I approach writing projects, my own included. Most recently, I spent 15 years teaching the Capstone course at St. Edward’s University here in Austin. This was a senior research course, required for graduation. My goal was to get my students through that course in a meaningful way, helping them articulate their ideas and their values so that they could talk about their Capstone project with hopefully more pride than loathing. Even more than that, I wanted my students to come out on the other side of Capstone believing in their own voice.
When I work with people on a writing project, I am keenly aware that too many of us have been traumatized by a writing teacher. I never use a red pen and I never make comments like, “Unclear!” Instead, I ask questions and then listen – carefully – to the answers.
I write the most about pop culture, especially expressions of masculinity, and about the history of science. Weather permitting, I like to be outside. The Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center is one of my favorite places on earth. Baseball games, too. Indoors, I like art museums and baking.