The Great City

NYC“Isn’t it lovely to be on our way,’ he said, sighing, ‘to be near the City? The great City, where everyone has some hope of becoming marvelous!”

– Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland

 

I just found out that I will be moving to NYC next spring, to pursue my dream of getting my MFA and writing full time! I’m excited and nervous and impatient, and of course even a little scared. Seven months and counting until The Next Big Adventure!

Small Miracles

I’ve had a really crazy week this week. In case you don’t know, I graduated from NC State University just a couple of weeks ago, with a degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. For a few months now, I’ve been looking for a full-time job, with no success. Yes, I know, these things take time. But sending application after application out into the void with no response can be pretty discouraging. You know, kind of like sending out manuscript after manuscript, trying to get published.

A few days ago, after walking away from an interview where I felt my skills were not considered important, I was beginning to doubt myself. “Why does no one value good writing skills and people skills, or research and analytical skills,” I started wondering. “Why is my excellent GPA written off simply because I majored in English?” I even started doubting if I was actually any good at what I do, if I have any skills to offer, or anything worthwhile to contribute. I knew I’d hit a low when I started asking myself “Why did I major in English?”

Two days after my failed interview, I got an email that I didn’t get the job. My boyfriend took me out to try and cheer me up, and when I got home, I checked my email again, as I habitually do. There, waiting for me in my inbox, was an acceptance letter for my latest fantasy story.

Just last week, my boyfriend had been teasing me about how, now that I’ve graduated, I must be a Real Writer. I’d pointed out that Real Writers were not writers who were struggling to break into publishing. But one week later, on the very day that I needed the most encouragement, there was an acceptance letter waiting for me, saying “We love what you do,” rewarding me for the months I’d spent sending my story out into the void. Thank you, Shimmer Magazine. Today, I feel like a Real Writer.

Astronaut

Astronaut

 “He would have hated his own funeral. It was one of those solemn, teary, small town affairs, and held in the Spring Hope Baptist Church, the one his mom used to go to and that he hadn’t stepped foot in since sixth grade. The sanctuary was paneled in dark wood broken by stained glass windows showing a very Caucasian Jesus shepherding some fluffy sheep, grimy with age. White lilies, pumped as full of formaldehyde as the body in the casket, glowed in the corners, making the air sweet enough to choke on. The organ was ironically horror-movie perfect for a funeral, groaning and screeching through hymns that he wouldn’t have known the words to. “

My short story “Astronaut” was just published in North Carolina State University’s Windhover! I’m so excited to see it in print, especially with such a great layout and design! This story, with a character that could have been me and a tiny town that could have been the one I grew up in, is especially close to my heart. Thanks to Lisa and everyone else at Windhover for making it look so fantastic!

Competition Announcement

I got an amazing, wonderful phone call today! Every year, North Carolina State University has a state-wide poetry contest, open to anyone who has not yet published a book of poetry. They pick three winners: a grand prize winner, an undergraduate winner, and a graduate student winner. A few weeks ago, I got an email letting me know I was one of the fifteen finalists being considered for the prizes. Well, today I got a call letting me know that I am the winner of the undergraduate poetry prize! I’m so excited I’m dancing around the room! Also, my friend Spencer won the grand prize, an awesome accomplishment for an undergraduate student!

You can see the full list of winners and honorable mentions on State’s website, here.

Competition Announcement!

I just found out today that I am a finalist for NC State University’s Poetry Contest! I’m so excited!

NC State’s Poetry Contest is open not only to students, but to anyone in North Carolina. Out of almost 300 entries, mine was one of the fifteen chosen as a finalist! I’m happy to see that my former teacher Kari Smith, and friend and fellow student Spencer Goyette, are finalists as well!

You can see the full list here: http://english.chass.ncsu.edu/creativewriting/poetry_contest.php

The winners have yet to be announced, but I’ll post again when they are!