Stephanie Kocer

Literature Teacher/ Writer/ Grad Student

Madness and Selfishness in Lady Audley’s Secret

Madness and Selfishness in Lady Audley’s Secret

I recently had a piece about Lady Audley’s Secret published!

Writer’s Block in a Pandemic


What a year.

What an understatement.

COVID-19 has given me major writer’s block. It happens to all of us from time to time. But this time has been odd. You’d think a global pandemic would give me lots to write about. And sure, I have plenty of thoughts on the state of the world. But in 2020 I’ve mainly just been… tired.

It’s hard to find things to be passionate about when all of the fun seems to have been sucked out of this year. I’ve read a lot of books and watched a lot of TV this year, two of my favorite activities. And now I’m almost sick of them. When there’s nowhere to go and nothing to do, it’s hard to find inspiration for, well, anything. Everyone is depressed. And even though it worked for Virginia Woolf’s writing, it doesn’t for me. I don’t necessarily need to be happy all the time to write, but I do need a little bit of joy. Continue reading

Voting Story

We’re just a few days away from the 2020 election. I got a chance at work to write about important accessibility rights for people with disabilities at the polls. Check it out!


How to Vote In-Person on November 3rd

Updated CV

Updated CV!

I recently updated my Curriculum Vitae!

You can check it out here.

Gender in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

I know there’s a lot going on out there, but if you need a break why not read about some gender theory?!

This started as some writing for a class and I’m very happy with how it turned out. (I promise I’m done talking about this movie now!)

Gender in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Some Things Stay With You

That “submit” button can be exhilarating and scary at the same time. You have to really think about it before you click it. Did I include everything I was supposed to include in the assignment? Did I remember my work cited page? Let me double check three times to make sure I attached the right document. And just like that, with a tiny click your paper is submitted and the semester is done.

Finishing my first year of grad school is exciting. I’ve worked really hard this last year and learned a lot about myself and the world of academia. I’m excited to be on the path toward my career goals. But it’s also a little bittersweet to be finishing up the semester now. Yesterday my dad called me and told me that my high school English teacher had passed away. It was the first time I’ve really allowed myself to cry during quarantine.

There are lots of things that have been written about inspiring educators. In fact, I think there have already been several things written about this specific teacher. But, for me, it was his classroom where I really fell in love with literature. I learned everything I know from him. I had always loved to read, but his classes were where I first discovered how to really analyze a text. It was the usual things. Talking about The Great Gatsby or learning how to actually read Shakespeare (a skill that has served me oh so well in grad school). Continue reading

Books to Read in Quarantine

As someone who reads constantly, I get asked a lot about book recommendations. When you read novels for class you’re not always going to love what you have to read. I’ve read some great books for classes before. I’ve also read some real stinkers. Not everything appeals to everyone. I’m more of a nonfiction fan myself in my personal reading, but I try to open myself up to fiction as much as possible, especially when it comes my way in the form of a recommendation. After a year of people recommending it to me, I finally started Daisy Jones and The Six this week. I’m about halfway through. It’s OK. The Fleetwood Mac Rolling Stone article by Cameron Crowe is just as juicy. But I’m thankful for a new read in the time of quarantine.

In the spirit of recommending a read to a friend, I thought I’d put together a list of books that I like to recommend to people:


Never Let Me Go
I read this novel a few times in undergrad and just finished reading it again for my World Lit class. I’m not a huge dystopia fan (especially right now), but Never Let Me Go has a little bit more something than the others. It’s the story of three friends; Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy. They grow up going to a boarding school in England where they’re told they’re very special. Technically, they’re clones, raised to eventually be harvested for their organs to help other people stay healthy. It’s ultimately a story that tries to define what it means to be human. Definitely a worthwhile read during a time of uncertainty.


Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
This bad boy is the longest-standing New York Times Best Seller of all time. The true story follows journalist John Berendt as he becomes intrigued by, and eventually moves to Savannah, Georgia. If you’ve been to Savannah you know it’s a really weird place, and Berendt brings that to life in the colorful real people he profiles in his book. The plot revolves around a rich antiques dealer who is charged with the murder of young male prostitute/his lover. Even though Savannah is a tourist town, it’s smaller than you think and people gossip. When I visited Savannah last year, it was the only thing people wanted to talk to you about.


Continue reading

The Bottle Episode

Do you know what a “bottle episode” is?

A bottle episode is an episode of television that takes place in one setting. Usually they’re made because the production is trying to save money. In sitcoms they usually result in all of the main characters being stuck in the same room together for an unexpected reason. See where I’m going with this?

Unlike the “Friends” episode where no one is ready, we can’t hang out with our friends right now while we’re stuck at home. Social distancing means no socializing. It’s more like the episode of “Mad About You” where Paul and Jamie get stuck in their bathroom for hours. Of course, our quarantine is lasting a little longer than a half-hour multi-cam.

COVID-19 is that thing in a sitcom that no one was expecting. And yet, it has completely altered our lives within a few short weeks. We’re all stuck at home now as if the knob fell off the bathroom door, or someone in the group can’t decide what to wear. In real life, of course, we don’t know when things will go back to normal. Continue reading

Writing is a Tap

Writing is a tap. Sometimes nothing comes out. Sometimes you can control it. And once you turn it on it’s hard to stop.

I write all the time.

I write when I’m happy. I write when I’m sad. I write at work because it’s my job. I write at home when an episode of SNL is particularly interesting.

I also write constantly for school.  After I have to analyze pages and pages of literary theory, my writing tap turns off. And it sometimes takes awhile for it to come back. The last few weeks I’ve felt like I was all tapped out. My discussion board posts for class didn’t feel as satisfactory as I wanted them. I was putting effort in, but nothing good was coming out. I felt defeated. Was I done forever? Was I ever going to write something good again? Continue reading

The Good Place

I made the mistake of watching the final episode of “The Good Place” and starting the Gender Theory section in my Literary Theory class this week.

As I’ve mentioned, we get to choose the sections of our theory book we want to focus on each week in class. As you can imagine, the Gender Theory section is full of a lot of interesting ways to explain how men and suppress women. Yay!

Pretty early on this week I was struggling because, as it turns out, Gender Theory is really much more complicated than I thought it was. It’s rooted it a lot of Capitalism and, gasp, Marxism! Blah. It seems that Gender Theory is complicated, as is gender. I was feeling defeated reading my theory textbook and realizing that just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean I could automatically have a perfect understanding of Gender Theory.

And then I watched “The Good Place” finale. Continue reading

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