Part-Time Faculty, English and Creative Writing
Chris Deguire’s work revolves around pop culture, from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" to Judas Priest.
Chris Deguire, part-time faculty member in the English and Creative Writing department, never plans on slipping Star Wars references into his curriculum—but they tend to sneak in anyway. An avid collector of anything from a galaxy far, far away, he sometimes inadvertently advises students with a tip he learned from a wrinkled green mentor: “You must unlearn what you have learned before.”
Deguire put his Jedi knowledge to literary use in his memoir I’ve Got a Bad Feeling About This, published by Wicker Park Press in 2013. The book began as an examination of his expansive Star Wars collection, which started in 1978 when he received an R2D2 action figure.
“I got one of the robots, my brother got the other,” he says. “It’s all been downhill from there.”
But then again, maybe it’s uphill: a gradual ascent toward understanding money, family and obsessions—all themes discussed in the memoir.
“It covers a lot more ground than I originally thought it would,” he says.
In the days before DVRs, Deguire rewrote episodes of his favorite TV shows. He went to the movies with his family and began a lifelong love of cinema. He devoured novel adaptations of popular films, and he found a common thread linking together his love of movies, television and writing: the story. Today, his writing still revolves around pop culture, from The Rocky Horror Picture Show to Judas Priest.
“Some aspect of movies or music is somehow at the core of what’s going on in my stories,” he says.
Deguire has been a part of the Columbia College Chicago community for more than 20 years, starting as a student. He received his BA in fiction writing in 1996, his MFA in fiction in 2008, and his MFA in creative writing in 2010. Along the way, he began appearing on the other side of the lectern, working extensively with the fiction-tutoring program and serving as faculty adviser of the fiction student board.
“I don’t consider this a job,” he says. “This is where I come to hang out and talk about writing and literature.”
If Deguire found his writer’s voice in pop culture, he found his home at Columbia.
“I feel like this is my family,” he says. “I don’t do any of this stuff for money. I do it because it’s fun and I enjoy it. I think that’s the spirit of this department.”