I don’t know how to not be kinky about this answer. I am a lingerie stylist. I can sight size every woman I meet and tell them exactly what bra size they should be wearing. Between 30-40% of women I meet daily do not believe me when I tell them the truth. About 10% would prefer to stay in their own delusion for life. And then the other 50% are convinced when they put on the perfect fitting bra. My favorite moments are when I can impact a woman’s life to the point where she sees herself as beautiful in the mirror. I remember not feeling beautiful, which is why I love my day job, because I get to change that for at least one woman a day.
How did you hear about the Hamline MFAC Program?
Randomly. I went to the Chicago’s Writers Conference in September of 2014. I know what you are thinking. “A writer’s conference is exactly where you hear about MFA programs.” Not this time. I went, learned many things from brilliant writers. I even walked Chicago all of that weekend because I was so inspired by the meetings, I needed to write about the city.
What was your writing experience prior to entering the program?
I was a self-persecuting poet from the age of thirteen up until I attended my first poetry writing class at Bates College. The professor said I was archaic and needed to get out of my own head. A very strange man, he ended up loving my migraine poem later that year.
I did not become a full contemporary poet until I met Dr. Simone Muench (named because she deserves the recognition) at Lewis University. She taught me that my moods did not control my writing. I had to write no matter what mood I was in, just to see what that mood would create. This was the subliminal lesson that I gained from her tireless efforts at dealing with one of her “worst students.”
What do remember most about your first residency?
I discovered that I was in my own little universe of like-minded people at my first residency. I was talking to myself in the hallway because I couldn’t remember how to think internally. A student passed by and said, “What did you say?” I said, “Oh nothing I was just talking to myself.” He looked at me and said, “Oh that is totally normal here.”
Have you focused on any one form (picture book, novel, nonfiction, graphic novel) or age group in your writing? Did you try a form you never thought you’d try?
There was no focus. I tried something new every semester. When I went to the Chicago MFAC workshop, they said I didn’t have to just try one form. I could try all of them. So I did. Except graphic novel. This just means that I will have to come back.
Tell us about your Creative Thesis.
How could I not?! I spent a majority of my Hamline time, trying to understand Critical thinking mindset. This is important because it was the reason I really wanted to do this program. I could not fathom being about to write a coherent critical essay. I needed to learn this. When I finished my Critical Thesis, I was impressed with myself. And then the other shoe dropped. I love Creative Thesis because it gave me the ability delve into a project that I had just thought about for a few months. I went from having an idea, to having six pages, to having twenty and then fifty and then one-hundred. Now I can say that I wrote one hundred and twenty pages in draft and strangers look at me like I am a genius. I love that.
curse of truth and magic.
What changes have you seen in your writing during your studies?
Any advice for entering students or for people considering the program?
It never gets easier. You just get better at dealing with EVERYTHING.