Spotlight: Philosophy degree key for alum writer

Geneseo resident Tyler DeBrauwere ‘15 graduated with a philosophy degree, a major often ribbed for its seemingly impractical nature. Having explored the philosophy major as an undergraduate, however, DeBrauwere was able to apply his studies into a real world task: writing his first novel.

DeBrauwere explained that with his in-progress novel, he hopes to provide readers with an entertaining literary experience and to extend their awareness of issues within today’s social consciousness, such as culturally-created idealizations.

Born and raised in Long Island, DeBrauwere noted that his appreciation for writing emerged as early as his first year of middle school. DeBrauwere continued to follow his passion in writing, winning several poetry contests throughout his teenage years. It wasn’t until he graduated from Geneseo, however, that his aspirations for turning his ideas into a novel really solidified.

“I’ve always been interested in writing. The thing that I’ve always found interesting was the way the written word has so much power,” DeBrauwere said. “I’ve always had an interest with connecting minds with what I have to say; however, growing up, I didn’t feel like I had much to say.”

DeBrauwere decided to remain in Geneseo after graduating, both to be with his friends and to contemplate various graduate schools—including Princeton University—where he plans to apply and pursue a doctorate in philosophy.

When he’s not writing or searching for post-grad opportunities, DeBrauwere has remained active in his independent studies—which ultimately help in conjuring new ideas to explore in his novel. With his growing repository of philosophical ideas, Spaulding seeks to share his own opinions on contentious topics and notions through the medium of his novel.

“Probably the most important class I ever took was Phenomenology and Existentialism with professor [of philosophy] Walter Soffer because we went over Nietzsche in that class, [who said that] everything is will to power … and power is a fundamental aspect in my novel,” DeBrauwere said. “The most fun, I feel, comes from expressing very complicated philosophical ideas through a very creative medium.”

DeBrauwere admitted that he has struggled with actualizing the expectations of how he wants his novel to be read. He can’t help but doubt the formulation of his ideas and wishes to re-organize them in a way that allows them to be more effectively portrayed in his writing.

“Everything—the entire idea of the novel—is in place. I have the main character, I know what I want him to be like, I know his story, his love interest—I have the world fleshed out,” DeBrauwere said. “I have this beautiful piece of marble, I have everything I need and now I’m trying to figure out what to sculpt that marble into and how to do it.”

DeBrauwere explained that his perfectionism in developing how the scenes, characters and realistic undertones are presented to his audience is what’s responsible for the slow pace of the novel’s progression. DeBrauwere has worked diligently to find the most creative and engaging avenues through which to deliver his message.

“Everything is so precise. This is my baby; this is my work of art,” he said. “I have incredibly high standards, so [writing] is completely draining.”

The writing process isn’t all bad, however. DeBrauwere expressed that the process of creating his own world and the pride associated with its inception is what gives writing the most amount of thrill for him.

“It’s not a bad emotional draining when I’m writing about my characters, when I’m writing about this world,” he said. “I’m there and I’m with them. I’m feeling their pains and laughing at their triumphs. I’m creating this and that’s why it’s so much fun.”

Although the process of creation is enjoyable for DeBrauwere, he emphasized his ultimate desire that the reader will be able to connect with the thematic elements in the story, specifically the ones that contain topics such as prejudice, greed and morality. DeBrauwere explained how he strives to use both plot and the events integral to its progression as metaphors to express the problems he identifies in society today.

“The key aspect of the book is that humans set an ideal to strive for and, as we keep pushing and moving toward that, we achieve this ideal and once we achieve it, it becomes the norm,” he said. “Once it’s the norm, we don’t want it anymore; we want a new ideal. So our lives—and society as a whole—is constantly pushing for an ideal. But by seeking that ideal and not accepting the norm, you destroy yourself and the world around you.”

In tying together the geopolitical and economic concerns of both recent and past history, the novel is set to be an exaggeration of today’s contemporary society. The walks the line that separates the impossible from the possible—or the fiction from non-fiction.

“While I am having a lot of fun writing a fictional story, it’s not about the story. It’s about what it’s trying to tell you,” DeBrauwere said.  “[Overall, the book tries to elaborate on] the repercussions of a society that is continuously being pushed forward in a direction by a small group of incredibly wealthy people.”

DeBrauwere added that while he hopes to find an agent to help publish his novel, he fully intends to share his work with his friends, family and anyone who he thinks might have an interest.