Written by Fourth Estate Lifestyle Editor Genevieve Hoeler
Mason alumnus Paul Laudiero returns to Mason’s Fairfax campus to promote his upcoming book “Sh*t Rough Drafts” as part of the English Department’s New Leaves Conference.
Laudiero is a recent graduate from Mason, earning his English degree in May 2013 with a concentration in creative writing.
While earning his degree, Laudiero took time for pursuing his other passion: comedy.
“I started doing Washington Improv Theater after my freshman year at college,” Laudiero said, which he did at another college in Ohio. “I started doing improv the summer after my freshman year, randomly, just because I wanted to try it.”
In the fall 2010, Laudiero started an improvisation group with 2011 Mason alumna Maxie Morales while fulfilling his English major.
“The professors that I had in the English program really stressed just writing every day and working hard,” Laudiero said. “There’s no secret to being a great writer, it’s just working every single day and writing.”
It was in one of Mason’s English classes that Laudiero got the first inklings of what would soon become the Tumblr famous “Sh*t Rough Drafts” blog, even though it started at a time when he felt his writing was not getting him anywhere.
“I was in a couple of different creative writing workshops, spending hours every day, never happy with my work,” Laudiero said. “And I was sitting in one of my classes, and I started thinking that ‘You know, tons of authors must have horrible, horrible drafts like I do.’’”
Fueled by that idea, Laudiero created a blog that dedicated posts to various authors and their imagined rough drafts. This blog quickly gained a following and soon Laudiero drew publishers’ interest for his upcoming book.
Laudiero won a contest which got him an option for the book. “I was already in talks with the publishing house before the contest came around, and then I submitted [to the contest] and won which helped move it along,” Laudiero said, “It really just worked out nicely.”
His book takes some of his “Sh*t Rough Drafts” posts from Tumblr in addition to a larger selection of new material that cannot be found on the blog. “This book is just one hundred and fifty jokes, that’s all it is.” Laudiero said, definitively.
Success, for Laudiero, came in part from what he made of the opportunities he came across while in college.
“My last semester at Mason I was trying to write as much as possible—taking writing workshops, emailing my friend every day with new material—just looking for an outlet, and I saw Broadside was hiring,” Laudiero said.
Laudiero got a position writing a comedic column in Broadside in the spring of 2013. “Working on a deadline was the best thing in the world for me, and I got so much stuff down, even though it wasn’t even that great. I needed to turn something in every week which got me into a really good writing schedule, which indirectly helped result in my writing for Sh*t Rough Drafts.”
“Sh*t Rough Drafts” will be available on April 15 for purchase. Laudiero will be at Mason’s New Leaves Conference on April 11 at 1 p.m. in Research Hall, Room 163.
For more information about the New Leaves Conference, visit http://english.gmu.edu/newsletter/spring-2014/new-leaves-conference-april-7-11. For further information about Paul Laudiero and his book, visit http://shitroughdrafts.com/.
(Photo courtesy of Paul Laudiero)