Jeff McElroy’s first collection of surf noir short stories, Californios, has earned him comparisons with John Steinbeck, Jack Kerouac, and Jack London. He has found a loyal readership ranging from outdoor/surfer enthusiasts to avant-garde literary folks. His adapted screenplay for one of the stories in Californios, “Goofyfoot,” won 1st Place in the San Fernando Valley Film Festival. Another story from Californios, “Brown Pride,” won 1st Place in the Writer’s Digest Short-Short Story Contest. An avid surfer, backpacker, and writing coach, Jeff lives with his fiancée and Jack Russell Terrier in the Ojai Valley, between the mountains and the sea.
Jeff’s Book Coaching Statement
My teaching philosophy for writing is rooted in constructivist methodologies and the lessons I’ve learned on the page and in the wild places, from the mountains to the deserts to the seas. I’m interested in the journeys we take through our craft and, as a teacher, hope to be a useful outpost of advice along the way. Just as there is no perfect person, neither is their a perfect story; only drafts upon drafts can lead us to closer approximations of experiences we hope to contribute to the Great Conversation.
I teach with positive reinforcement, finding it useful to focus on two things: what’s working in a story, and what could work better. I do believe that writing for readers is an inherently social act and, as such, bears all the obligations and responsibilities of human existence. I bring a laid-back, scholarly, engaging persona to the classroom and I expect the same with my students.