So recently I’ve been in contact with a lovely young lady from UW-Stout named Barbara. She works for the Stoutonia (Stout’s student newspaper), and she wanted to talk to me about these books I’ve been writing. I’m told that soon – perhaps even today – there could be a feature on me in hallowed pages of Stoutonia. I think that’s pretty neat. It’s got me feeling nostalgic, so I’m compelled by dark forces beyond my comprehension to post about Stout today.
I graduated from my dear old Bruce Public High School in 1997, and then I went to Stout. There, that’s my whole story. That didn’t take long. I’m a master storyteller, after all. Like a ninja with a typewriter, except that my typewriter is a laptop, and my katana is forged not of metal but the bones of a hundred demons.
But in case that wasn’t enough, I’ll go on to say that I never really thought much about going to another college. My brother – two years older – was already going there. In my visits to the campus, I was in love. I loved the town of Menomonie so much, I decided to extend my college experience by many semesters. And my instructors must have loved me, because they also wanted me to stay those semesters. In 2004, Stout and I waved a sad farewell to each other. I had a degree in Industrial Design, and it was time spread my wings.
While I was at Stout, a painting instructor told tales of her muse. I wanted a muse of my own, so I beseeched the cosmos to send me one. I was hoping for a female muse, preferably one who liked to wear skimpy clothes. The muse I got was an ancient, drunken man called Chuggie. He was a little surly, and he liked to tell colorful, profanity-filled stories. Some of his stories seemed like they’d been exaggerated, but they were good for a chuckle. I’d just discovered the music of Tom Waits, and it’s possible that had something to do with the whole situation. Monsters, madness, babes, blood, and booze. That’s Chuggie.
At Stout, I spent my first year living in 390 Oetting Hall with my pal Justin. We grew up together, and I was happy indeed when I first learned we’d both be going to Stout. We roomed together freshman year, then I moved off campus to 1704 South Broadway #1. He spent another year in the dorms, then he moved into 1704 with me, Lee, Roth, and Dan. Two Packer fans living with three Viking fans.
I delivered pizza for Little Caesar’s for a while. Worked at Dairy Queen some. Swiss Miss, Phillips Plastics, Badger Iron Works. Good times.
Ah, the stories I could tell but shouldn’t! Like the thing with the dartboard, or the five noteworthy stories from just that one Homecoming. So much tradition! While George R.R. Martin has House Stark, House Lannister, House Targaryen, and so on, Stout had her own Great Houses. Why, there were Lambda-Lambda-Lambda, the One-Eyed Turtle, Hoochie Hut, the Projects, and so many others to list them all would drive us both INSANE. And to my knowledge they haven’t existed for 10 to 15 years, so I don’t think I’ve just incriminated anyone…
Here’s some arts I made while I attended my glorious alma mater:
The Internal Derangement of Dr. Michael Goodnature
Senior Project – Active Play
Some of the chums I went to Stout with are getting nice an’ successful with their degrees in Construction Management, Applied Math, Industrial Design, Graphic Design, Art Education, Hospitality & Tourism, Elementary Education, and so on. I forget where I was going with this, but yeah. Success stories. Awesome folks doing awesome things. Stuff.
I miss Stout. I haven’t been down to visit in a couple years, but maybe we should change that soon. Perhaps it’s time for a Chuggie reading at Stout. I would totally emerge from the forest for that. Bring some books, even. Maybe I’ll get fellow Stout grad David F. Starr to come along. He’s the guy responsible for the kickass art that dwells inside my new book Chuggie and the Prisoner Gods. Go check him out.
If you’re a Stout student or faculty member, I’d love to hear from you. Get the ol’ Menomonie update and stuff. You can comment below, or use my nifty Contact Thingy. Go Blue Devils.