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Alumna Susan "George" Schorn publishes 'Smile at Strangers: And Other Lessons in the Art of Living Fearlessly'

Posted: April 19, 2013
'Smile at Strangers' cover image and photograph of Susan Schorn

'Smile at Strangers' cover image and photograph of Susan Schorn

The Department of English congratulates alumna Susan "George" Schorn on the forthcoming publication of her memoir, Smile at Strangers: And Other Lessons in the Art of Living Fearlessly.  Shorn graduated from UT in 2000 with a PhD in English.

You can listen to Schorn reading an excerpt from the book at the Poets and Writer's website.

About the book

“Eat, pray . . . kick ass. Delivered with self-deprecating candor, Schorn's life lessons learned at the dojo will resonate with anyone who's ever tried to remodel a house, raise kids, cope with a health crisis, navigate office politics or hyperventilated—essentially anyone who's ever been slammed on the mat while testing for the black belt of life. Like the fighter herself, you can't put this one down.”—Mary Moore, author of The Unexpected When You're Expecting

Susan Schorn led an anxious life. For no clear reason, she had become progressively paralyzed by fear. Fed up with feeling powerless, she took up karate. 

She learned how to say no and how to fight when you have to (even in the dark). Karate taught her how to persuade her husband to wear a helmet, best one bossy Girl Scout troop leader, and set boundaries with an over-sharing boss. Here this double black belt recounts a fighting, biting, laughing woman's journey on the road to living fearlessly—where enlightenment is as much about embracing absurdity and landing a punch as about finding that perfect method of meditation.

Full of hilarious hijinks and tactical wisdom, Schorn's quest for a more satisfying life features practical—and often counterintuitive—lessons about safety and self defense. Smile at strangers, she says. Question your habits, your fears, your self-criticism: Self-criticism is easySelf-improvement is hard. And don’t forget this essential gem: Everybody wants to have adventures. Whether they know it or not. Join the adventure in these pages, and come through it poised to have more of your own.

Available May 28, 2013 from Houghton Mifflin.

About the author

Susan Schorn has taught writing and literature at the University of Texas, St. Edward's University, and the University of Hawaii-Hilo. She holds black belts in Kyokushin and Seido karate and is a member of the National Women's Martial Arts Federation and former chair of the board of directors for Sun Dragon Martial Arts and Self Defense, NFP, in Austin, Texas (where she still trains and teaches). She is currently working toward self-defense instructor certification through the NWMAF, and earned her nidan (second degree) black belt in Seido karate in 2011. She has written for radio and online publications, including McSweeney's and The Rumpus. 

For more information, visit Schorn's website.

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