Taylor, Jacqueline 1951–
Taylor, Jacqueline 1951–
Born 1951; married twice (divorced twice); married Carol Sadtler, 2003; children: one daughter. Education: Georgetown College, B.A.; University of Texas at Austin, M.A., Ph.D.; Harvard University, completed management development program at Graduate School of Education, 1996.
Office—College of Communication, DePaul University, 2320 N. Kenmore, Chicago, IL 60614. E-mail—[email protected]
DePaul University, Chicago, IL, professor of communication, 1980—, chair of department, 1990, 1995, dean of College of Communication, 2007—, also served as associate dean of graduate studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, founding director of the DePaul Humanities Center for seven years, and associate vice president of academic affairs.
National Communication Association (former chair, Performance Studies Division); Central States Communication Association.
American Council on Education fellow, 2005-06; National Communication Lilla A. Heston Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Interpretation and Performance Studies, 2007.
Grace Paley: Illuminating the Dark Lives, University of Texas Press (Austin, TX), 1990.
(Editor, with Lynn C. Miller and M. Heather Carver) Voices Made Flesh: Performing Women's Autobiography, University of Wisconsin Press (Madison, WI), 2003.
Contributor to periodicals, including Women's Studies in Communication, Text and Performance Quarterly, and Southern Speech Communication Journal. Editorial board member, Text and Performance Quarterly.
A successful professor of communication and university dean, Jacqueline Taylor grew up in a Southern Baptist household where homosexuality was a taboo subject. Struggling for years to pursue the kind of life expected of her, she went through two failed marriages before finally admitting to herself she was a lesbian. Her memoir, Waiting for the Call: From Preacher's Daughter to Lesbian Mom, is about the personal journey she traveled, which ends happily in a loving relationship, an adopted daughter, and the discovery of a church that accepts homosexuals into its congregation. Booklist contributor Whitney Scott described the autobiography as a ‘compelling testament on the permutations of love."
Taylor told CA: ‘I cannot remember a time when I was not interested in writing. I was, from early childhood, a voracious reader, and I always loved language. I grew up in the South, where I benefited from a vibrant storytelling culture. And from early childhood, my mother read aloud to me and recited poetry to me. For this memoir, I began writing after my mother's death, as a way to continue our relationship. I also wrote out of a desire to bring my two worlds and my two families together, to collect all that I cherished from that childhood world and bring it with me into the present.
"It is difficult to identify single influences on my work, although one would surely be Grace Paley, whose beautiful short stories I so much admire. I think also of Barbara Kingsolver, Bobbie Ann Mason, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Tillie Olsen, Eudora Welty, Audre Lorde, Flannery O'Connor, and Minnie Bruce Pratt. Poets like Adrienne Rich, Theodore Roethke, Gerard Manley Hopkins, William Carlos Williams, Anne Sexton, have also influenced me. The oral and storytelling culture of the South, very much alive in my own childhood family, is surely another influence. And like all Baptist children, I memorized many passages of the King James version of the Bible, which is a wonderful way to develop one's ear and love of language.
"I'm a big believer in just sitting down at the computer and writing. Write something. Tell the voices in your head to be quiet and just write. You can revise later. For the memoir, I had the gift of a wonderful writing group throughout the creation of the first draft. I liked knowing that there were three other people I would meet with each month who wanted to know what was going to happen next. I sometimes talked to my father and sister about their memories, and I dug through old family letters. My father wrote, at my request, for the hospital records for my mother and sent them to me. And then of course, once it is on paper, revise and revise, share with a writer friend, and revise some more.
"Sometimes you have to write your way toward your story and keep listening to discover what is at the heart of your tale. It has also been a surprise to discover the different ways each reader responds to the story, once it is out in the world. The process of navigating and learning to live with the responses of the various friends and family members who end up as characters in one's memoir has been endlessly surprising and interesting.
"Only one of my books is creative, the memoir, and it is by far my favorite. I had a genuine sense of conviction that I was supposed to write this story, that it somehow needed to be told. I loved writing it and it is a joy to have it circulating in the world.
"I hope this particular book will touch people's hearts and maybe make some of them feel a little less lonely and isolated. There are not many stories out there for gay Christians, for families formed by adoption, for gay and lesbian families, or for people grappling with a parent's mental illness or death. At the same time that this book takes on a whole host of serious subjects, it does so, I hope, with grace and humor. I hope it will make people laugh."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Literature, March, 1991, Neil D. Isaacs, review of Grace Paley: Illuminating the Dark Lives, p. 145.
Booklist, April 15, 2007, Whitney Scott, review of Waiting for the Call, p. 7.
Journal of Modern Literature, spring, 1993, Andrea Ivanov, review of Grace Paley, p. 103.
Studies in Short Fiction, summer, 1990, Alice Hall Petry, review of Grace Paley.
DePaul University College of Communication Web site,http://communication.depaul.edu/ (October 31, 2007), faculty profile of Jacqueline Taylor.