In Which I Change My Mind

Remember that whole graduate school decision and soul searching?

I eventually settled on Chatham University. Their program offered opportunities to study across genres, something I was interested in exploring. They also had a cool Words Without Walls program, which really appealed to me. Chatham was a logical choice, and a lot of my professors encouraged me in that direction.

But two months after my decision to go with Chatham, I still felt a splinter of sadness. When I started packing up my dorm in May, I happened upon my postcards and letters from when I studied abroad. The sadness started to kick in again.

I found out that doing the cross-genre courses at Chatham would be extremely difficult because of the way classes are structured. I had a hard time filling in my classes when I registered because they either filled up very quickly or ended up getting canceled for low registration. I was uncomfortable that my first semester was going to put me behind because I had to take unnecessary classes, which didn’t bode well for the next two years. The administration was very kind about it and offered to help, but I still felt a little less than confident.

And then there was the slight problem of how I had never actually contacted Bath Spa and let them know that I’d be attending Chatham. Whenever I thought about doing it, I’d almost cry.

I visited Pittsburgh with my mom in May to check stuff out. The city was nicer than I anticipated and the campus was quite lovely. I could see myself making it into a home and being okay with it. But I also found myself comparing it to Bath, and considering Bath is one of my favorite places in the world… Well, I just didn’t want to be constantly in one place thinking about another.

There were other factors as well, some personal and some reasonable. I found out that between the federal loan I’d been approved for, the GI Bill, and some other financial possibilities, I could attend Bath Spa quite comfortably and leave with less debt than I’d have at Chatham.

(Also Bath Spa has both a swing and ballroom dance club, numerous historical reenacting club, and… (wait for it) an all things Welsh club! I’m just saying.)

So yesterday I decided to embrace changing my mind and I sent my acceptance to Bath Spa University.

Guys, I’m going back.


Spring Semester 2013: Greatest Hits

It’s that time again–the time where I sum up the greatest moments of a semester. This spring was my last semester at Berry College, so it’s fitting that some of these greatest hits were the best of all four years.

  • Senior road trip and Harry Potter World with a good friend.
  • The many, many lunches and dinners on the English Department’s tab, talking with witty students and hanging out with cool professors.
  • Getting a call in the office from The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity.
  • Acceptance letters and emails from all my graduate schools.
  • Dinner at a sketchy but delicious Mexican restaurant with the SOUP team.
  • Joining my roommate and dear friend, Kyley, on her first flight.
  • 11:00 PM on a Thursday night when the Indiegogo campaign passed our goal of $6000 in 10 days.
  • Boston in the snow over Spring Break.
  • Adventuring into tall towers with daring friends.
  • Getting nominated as one of a handful of the best female student workers at the college.
  • My Ramifications staff presenting me with a small chest full of treasure.
  • Lunches with my coworkers–at Harvest Moon, and later at Outback.
  • Interviewing Kirsten Gates and having her story come together almost effortlessly. Seeing the story on the cover of the magazine.
  • Hanging out with Marcella and Casey after my senior reading, surrounded by English nerds.
  • The woman telling me she never understood how Rheumatoid Arthritis felt until I read my poem.
  • Wednesday nights with Michelle, Molly and Julie. Praying, laughing and crying together.
  • Receiving an award for my writing after working over five months on that portfolio.
  • Prep talks, Star Wars debates, and Star Trek discussions with Rick and Casey.
  • Fiction final with classmates wearing fake mustaches as they read from their portfolios.
  • Dr. Watkins’s hug as I walked down the street lined with professors after graduation.
  • Shaking President Briggs’s hand and walking away with my diploma.

The Role of Mythology in Fiction

So some people asked me to share my symposium presentation about building myth in creative writing. Your wish is my command! Here’s my abstract:

The world is not constructed simply of fact, but also of myth. The interplay between mythology, geography, culture and history is a relationship which fiction provides a perfect platform for exploring. This presentation will focus specifically on Welsh and Celtic mythology, a relatively unknown genre of myth, before exploring the ways studying the influences of myth can help create worlds in fiction. Welsh mythology is closely tied to its geographic roots, with many tales informing the listener specifically where the events are said to have taken place. This connection between land, history and legend will be examined in the stories Culhwch and Olwen from the Mabinogion and The Prophecy of Merlin from the History of the Kings of Britain by Geoffrey of Monmouth, both of which have powerful connections with Welsh culture even today. Finally, an excerpt from my own work in progress, Blessings, will be read to demonstrate how I have utilized my research to create a world with its own myths, history, and place. Drafts and notes will be read to show how I created my world based on what I have learned about myths and fairytales in Wales.

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When Life is Full of Validation and a Lot of Tea

So, remember that time I wrote a slightly inspirational, depressing entry about being an unpublished writer? Well, turns out the thing I was being emo over was a misunderstanding on my part when I looked at the website. A week or so after posting my emo entry, I got an email telling me I’d progressed to stage two.

About a month later, I got an email telling me I was one of 13 finalists.

And yesterday, I got a call. It went something like this:

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The Grand Graduate School Reveal

A lot of friends and family and coworkers and professors and strangers (ok, not strangers) have been waiting on the edge of their seats (maybe a slight exaggeration) for the Grand Graduate School Reveal.

Previously on:

Bath Spa University vs. Chatham University!

Bath Spa: Located in Bath Spa, England, quite possibly my favorite city in the world. Offers a MA in Writing for Young People. One year program.

Chatham University: Located in Pittsburgh, PA. Offers a MFA in Creative Writing with an emphasis in Writing for Young People, plus the possibility to get a dual emphasis in Creative Non-Fiction and a concentration in Travel Writing. Also has the Writing Without Walls program, where graduate students teach creative writing to prisoners and other needy people.

And the winner is…

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7/7 Challenge and Update on Grad Schools

Back in December and January, I went a little crazy and applied to five graduate schools for programs in creative writing, fully expecting not to get into any of them. But only a day after submitting my last application, I heard back from University of Portsmouth with an offer. This was followed by an offer from Nottingham Trent University and Chatham University.

I am still pretty blown away. I’m not affecting false modesty when I say I honestly don’t believe my writing is anything special. I’m proud of my ideas and characters, but I’ve always thought of myself as a pretty normal, unremarkable writer. I think this comes from growing up in my teen years with some writers who had extremely unique, distinct voices, while my writing has almost always been pretty sparse, straightforward and simple. So when my prof and I talked about the probability I wouldn’t get in anywhere, I fully expected that to happen.

Well, this week I had a phone interview with a school which has long been a dream of mine: Bath Spa University. I’ve loved Bath, England, ever since I entered the city on my 18th birthday with my mentor, Nicole Pool. When I found out they had a Writing for Young People MA program, I almost had a heart attack. But I’ve known it’d be a long shot.

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