Month: August 2015

Porscha Coleman Introduction (New England College ’17)

People talk about defining moments, moments that change the trajectory. Oprah calls them “Aha moments” I wouldn’t and couldn’t realize that that was mine not for years to come. There were no refreshments, but being a little black girl in a bookstore owned by a black woman and people coaxing me gently from my shell to share what I had written because my words and my voice matter meant more than I could express then or now.

Emylisa Warrick Introduction (University of South Carolina ’18)

When I applied to graduate school, I thought I wouldn’t get in. I thought I would apply, receive my rejections, and continue the life that I was living. I had just gotten a job in publishing after several months of internships, and I lived with my partner of eight years by a trio of lakes in a nice, quiet neighborhood in Minneapolis. I attended readings at the Loft and local coffee shops. I made connections and friends in the publishing world as well as friends in the local, literary community. I had a nice life, and I thought I would continue living it. I thought I would still wake up and see Matt’s face every day. I thought I would still run around the lake and see people with their dogs. I thought I would continue strengthening my relationships with people I came to know and cared for. But that’s the thing about making plans; sometimes you follow them and sometimes they just don’t pan out how you expected. I applied for graduate school because, …

Lydia Mulligan Introduction (Eastern Washington University ’17)

Image: Carolyn Jewel I fell in love with writing at a young age. I read voraciously in the crook of this one plum tree in our backyard. We all climbed it, but I owned it. It was my special reading nook. I walked through the stacks of the library in my hometown and felt the spines of the plastic coated books as I walked past. I fell in and out of writing throughout grade school and eventually went to college to get my writing degree (after cycling through about ten other degree choices…I’m a bad decision maker). I wrote for and edited the school literary journal, I took every creative writing class that was offered; I was in plays and musicals, all in an effort to find myself. Little did I know that wanting to find yourself is a key component to becoming an essayist. My friend Miranda and I were taking a class on the Bronte sisters. It was our last seminar class for the English literature major. Up until that point I had …

https://www.flickr.com/photos/lapstrake/2711240606/in/photolist-58zPnG-p1YCSw-66DNTm-4paAZy-dScKAZ-8DBeHu-5CT73p-8xC7u8-dSin5L-4Niv6H-6QSfrH-6QWj8S-6QWiU9-dScKEB-u7Kox4-4kBCKp-fph1ui-7KvwRK-6QSG6K-dBvdPR-dBACcu-6BPEtd-8xC7w2-utYpD-qya12-aoUijf-benZ4e-4qdQKD-9dDCBo-9GN4Yc-5rLNHy-8LnQX2-4sZQu5-kbvXU-6QSEGT-dBve6P-8xC7sH-8xF9uQ-8xF9tu-8xC7jM-dKKAzo-dwMVZk-picoSM-H7C58-sfGx6-sfFUe-sfF85-9pySMg-8xF9qo-6ozmf

Week One: Laziness and Me

Image: Tom Gill For my first semester, I opted not to take any writing workshops. I wanted to get back to the basics – language, sentences structure, form. I’m taking three classes:  Intro to Graduate Writing, Forms of Non-fiction: The Essay, and Forms of Fiction: The Short Story. Next week, I’ll tell you a little bit more about each, in addition to how I’m making ends meet, and attempting to be a full-time daughter, girlfriend, and friend. But, right now, I want to tell you about what I’ve learned. After one week of classes, I’ve learned two things: I do not have a writing process, and I have never given much thought to the process of writing, and I am more concerned with what writing is doing for me, as opposed to what it’s doing for the reader. These facts make me a terrible writer. The reason I do not have a writing process is because, for a while, writing came naturally to me. Characters, stories, and scenes came so easily I could barely contain …

About those applications

Image: Mark Grapengater Everyone has a “hardest part.” The research was mine. I started like any millennial would: I googled it: “MFAs,” “Graduate Programs for Writers,” “Creative Nonfiction MA programs.” I looked up my favorite writers to see if they taught anywhere; if they did, I researched that program. I found a few articles that helped me and many were listed on AWP’s website. AWP also has a fantastic search for programs that can be filtered for seemingly any criteria. I spent a lot of time there. I wanted a program outside of Florida, because even though the swampy peninsula will be in my heart forever, I had to climb out of it into the rest of the contiguous 48. There’s a search on AWP that can filter writing programs by region. My guy and I love the west; he loves the snow, I love the views, we both love the hiking and the novelty of adventure. So I filtered to the regions west of the Mississippi. From there it can filter types of degree, …

Bailey Boyd Introduction (University of Missouri ’17)

Image: Moose Winans I waited to write this until I was here, in Missouri, in my apartment in Columbia. I waited until I drove home from the airport in Kansas City after Edward flew away on Southwest, back to Orlando International and the house we shared together. I waited until I woke up alone, to a day with no agenda, to read and to write instead of slipping on ballet flats, a conservative skirt and a cardigan for my painfully cold office. My story begins four years ago, when I graduated from Stetson University. It traces the time I spent applying for a job teaching English in Spain and realizing I hadn’t included my fingerprints in the application (a sign), the day I didn’t call in for my second interview with a job prospect in Boston because, well, I had met a guy (wrong guy, but still: sign), the morning I sat for the LSAT on the weekend my car broke down, the night before when I mistakenly set my alarm for the post meridiem …

Alleliah Nuguid Introduction (Boston University ’16)

Image: Louish Pixel When introducing yourself, the general rule is that who you are is what you “do,” and what you do is what pays the bills. Occupation is inextricably twined with identity. In spite of the fact that my jobs post-college have had nothing to do with poetry, I’ve qualified my introduction as “poet working in __________.” I couldn’t help it; writing had been a core part of my identity since age 12. But after college, I grew to lose sight of it. Through my work at various desk jobs, I learned a great deal, made potentially lifelong friends, and had unique experiences you’d be hard-pressed to get anywhere else (e.g., exploring the workings of the local sewer system). But office bureaucracy was sometimes aggravating, and the monotony shifted my mental landscape. When I was under consideration for a 3-year government position (an extension of the work I’d been doing for 1.5 years), I imagined sitting in my cubicle and watching the years pass one after another like a row of dominos, varied in the details but …