My name is Taylor Hawkins (yet another Taylor in the English department), and this is the beginning of what feels like another cliché introductory post!
I’m a graduate of Humphreys Academy, Mississippi Delta Community College, Delta State University (double major in English and journalism and minor in French, but please never ask me to speak French), and the University of Mississippi (Master of Arts in Teaching).
This is my fourth year in the teaching profession, my second at Germantown High School, and the road to this point has been a bit winding. After working at The Yazoo Herald as the sports editor for a few years (and after getting married to Mabry Bailey, a gem of a gal), we decided that it was time for a life change, so we packed up my 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee and drove all the way out to Washington with no real plan in mind except that I wanted to write a book and that my wife wanted to do travel physical therapy. We ended up in Tacoma, WA, and life was grand. We were developing a new sense of independence as a couple, learning more and more about each other on a daily basis, and enjoying a life that was quite different than the one we experienced back in Mississippi.
But we began to miss our family, particularly since my twin sister was preparing to have her first child, so we loaded back up and went home, though we were forever changed by the experience, and after a great deal of rekindling relationships with family and friends, we felt the road was calling us once more, only this time it was Pennsylvania (Center Valley, to be precise) that was the destination. While our first trip was about independence, the second one was about family, as much of Mabry’s extended family lived in Center Valley and Binghamton, NY. It was there that I realized we had more family and deeper bonds than I ever considered possible, and just when life seemed as if could get no better, it immediately got worse. Chaos in the form of a broken leg to my wife altered our lives in an aggressive way. After surgery and a little therapy, we needed to go back to Mississippi, but we did not know what we wanted to do when we arrived. We were lost and floating in the existential abyss.
A phone call from my old principal turned into a job as an English teacher. At that time, I told him I would give him a semester to help him find someone else, for I never saw myself as a teacher, despite the protests on the contrary by my parents. That semester turned into two years and a Master of Arts in Teaching, which led me directly to Germantown, and I could not be happier or more excited with my destination. I hope your children are as prepared to dive into the fascinating world of literature as I am.
In December of 2020, my life was forever changed. My baby girl, Finley Clare Hawkins, entered this cold, cruel world and immediately made it warmer, brighter! She is my beloved, and I talk about her often.
I will now take a moment to answer a few questions that seem to pop up in conversations and seminars that specialize in breaking the ice with strangers.
Death Row Meal
Despite my proclivity to seek out obscure foods, often overlooked delicacies, and food created by necessity (because the practice of making the best of what one has often leads to the most delicious foods), I know in my soul that my death row meal would be a simple cheeseburger cooked on a griddle with (raw) onions, pickles, mayo, mustard, and American cheese (because science created a better melting cheese than nature ever could) and a side of fries, both crispy and soggy, you know, for texture.
Meal with Three People, Alive or Dead
Having a meal with someone is to share an intimate moment with them, to converse with them, to explore culture them, so with all of that in mind, I wanted to put together a dinner that would touch on my interests, allow me to meet my heroes, and create the most entertaining night possible.
Now, I’ll allow you to determine your opinion of me based on things I like (in no particular order).
10 Books I Love
- Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
- Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley
- Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami
- City of Thieves by David Benioff
- The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
- Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck
- The Heart by Maylis de Kerangal
- Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
- The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
- A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
10 Movies I Love
- The Godfather I/II (Cliché, I know)
- Raging Bull
- Mad Max: Fury Road
- Life of Pi
- The Grand Budapest Hotel
- The Wrestler
- Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
- The Man from Nowhere
- Knives Out
10 Random Things I Love
- Christmas Markets in Vienna
- The video game Final Fantasy X
- Tottenam Hotspur
- Oistin’s Fish Fry in Barbados
- Ole Miss (It’s an abusive relationship)
- Professional wrestling
- Braising short ribs on a cold day in January
- Spooky SZN
- Smoking meats
- The Muppets
If that was not enough information about me, here is a "short" introductory video!
If I still have your attention and you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.