When Steven Meyers, professor of English at Fort Lewis College, isn’t teaching creative non-fiction or Semantics, he is doing his own work.
Meyers is the author of two creative non-fiction titles that have recently been re-released: The San Juan River Chronicle and Notes from the San Juans.
Meyers hadn’t planned to be a full-time professor when he was hired in 2000, but after his first term, he was asked to come back time and time again, leading to a full-time teaching position.
Having written his own books, Meyers can give advice to students who are interested in becoming successful writers. The first step is separating the stories that a writer is telling, to realize why the writer is bothering to tell it in the first place. The art of the work is knowing why the writer is doing it, he said.
Meyers most recent event for the re-release was held at Maria’s Bookshop in Durango, and he just returned from another re-release party in Denver at the Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association.
The re-release of the San Juan River Chronicle had new material, while Notes from the San Juans remained unchanged other than the addition of new graphics.
“Notes from the San Juans is a memoir about the twelve years I lived in Silverton, after I left, and me looking on and figuring out how this became home and why I decided to stay here,” he said.
“I write non-fiction mostly, and poetry. I’ve written six books that are published, and a couple more that are not yet published,” Meyers said.
Meyers grew up in a metropolitan area just outside of New York City and completed a degree in Fine Arts at the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology, he said.
After graduate school, Meyers went to southern Utah to do work in large format landscape photography.
Meyer’s first started as a photographer, and then eventually switched to writing.
“I would describe Steve’s work as a mix of memoir and essay,” said Candace Nadon, a visiting professor of creative writing. “He writes about the people that live in this area, and everything that he writes is very much grounded in a particular place.”
Meyers uses personal experience in his work as well.
“Part of what he does in Notes from the San Juans is to capture the spirit of what makes this area so unique,” Nadon said.
Meyers’ work is vibrant and alive, and very much about the human condition. Local readers can can relate to his work because it is based where many people live, Nadon said.
Tessie Barnett, a junior at FLC, is one of Meyers’ creative writing students.
“He pulls out any sort of creativity you have and lets you embrace it,” Barnett said. “He wants to hear your voice and embraces your originality.”
Barnett says Meyers challenges his students.
Barnett has even considered pursuing a writing career after taking Meyer’s class, getting inspiration from his work.
“The thing that he taught me the most is how powerful spoken word can be,” she said. “What he has to teach us is to be ourselves and be confident of ourselves.
“My basic understanding of the world was really more as an artist than as a scholar in a more verbal or academic discipline,” Meyers said.
During a trip back to Chicago from Utah, Meyers encountered the scenic route from Durango to Ouray, Colo., and instantly knew his goal would be to find a way to come back and live in the area, he said.