Monday, May 18, 2015

Publication Alert: Thoreau's Rooster (And Brief Update)

Dear Reader,

The last month has been one of chaos, confusion, and changes. One moment I'm flailing my way through final exams, the next I'm donning a cap and gown, walking up to a stage and shaking hands with the president of Westfield State University to receive my Bachelor of Arts in English. My undergraduate career is officially completed, and I'm left in a daze wondering how it ended so quickly. As cliched as it sounds, I mean it when I say that Westfield was my home, my life, the place where I developed confidence in my ability as a writer and human being. I am truly humbled by the loving support I received there from professors and friends, and could never repay them for such a beautiful experience if I worked my whole life for it.

Thank you so much Westfield, you wonderful, wonderful place.
My graduation cap, with a quote taken from poet Edna St. Vincent Millay
Regarding other matters of business, I just found out today that Thoreau's Rooster, a national undergraduate journal, just released their 2014 volume on their website. My short nonfiction essay "Then Autumn Came," which appeared in the print version in the fall, is featured. I'm so excited to finally be able to share it widely with friends and family. You can read it here.

About the work:
There's a special reason why I'm ecstatic to share this with essay with you: it was my first piece to be accepted for publication. Ever. I still remember the rocket that launched inside my chest when I came across that e-mail with the subject line "Congratulations!", and the string of all-caps texts that went out to my beau and family announcing the news. That rush of joy in your first acceptance is an incredible feeling; in that moment, all your previous self-doubt flies away, your love of writing swells, and that realization of "I'm a writer" pounds strongly. It's a wonderful beginning to a lifelong journey.
The subject of the piece, additionally, is one rather close to my heart. The weaving narrative form is known as the "journal" genre, in which the focus is not on a particular anecdote but on providing glimpses that make up a person's daily life. When I wrote this for my Creative Non-Fiction class, I was in a strange place. I'd recently been through a bad break-up of a 3-year relationship, and while dealing with this disorientation, I found my writing taking a turn. In previous attempts to write, I'd always struggled with the element of plot structure: how to build up to a believable but powerful climax, and how to resolve it sufficiently in a short piece; in other words, how to transform characters quickly. As I started to experiment with my writing more, however, I discovered that the appeal of a story need not be in a journey. Sometimes, simply exploring an existing circumstance, revealing what's already there, is enough. So began my greatest aim in writing: to show the value of daily life by not embellishing it, not resolving it, but only by showing it through a different lens.

Enjoy! Grace and peace to you.

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