On Sunday, July 16, 2017, Hamline’s Creative Writing Programs will host a Graduate Recognition ceremony to honor all the students who have completed their studies and will be receiving an MFA from Hamline University. During the months of June and July we will be featuring our soon-to-be alumni as they look back on their time at Hamline University. Today’s featured grad is Regina McMenamin Lloyd. Regina lives in Mullica Hill, New Jersey.

What do you do when you’re not working on packets?

I work for my family’s business. I’m a single mom with two kids and a dog. I love artistic endeavors, I especially love crafting, mixed media, collage, and glitter, especially glitter. Did I say glitter? I also spend as much time as I can at the beach!

How did you hear about the Hamline MFAC Program?

My undergrad mentor Lisa Jahn Clough kept telling me I was going to Hamline! I told her time and again my kids could not survive 10 days without me. She knew I belonged at Hamline, she brought it up at least a half dozen times. One thing she said stuck with me, “You can leave them for 10 days, and be there for the everyday.”

What was your writing experience prior to entering the program?

I had a bunch of short stories and poems published. I once got published on Smithsonian’s Website which felt pretty awesome!

What do especially remember about your first residency?

I remember over and over again, thinking these people all love what I love! No one is doing that picture book eye roll, or pretending that the talking duck doesn’t matter!

Have you focused on any one form (PB, novel, nonfiction; graphic novel) or age group in your writing? Tried a form you never thought you’d try?

I think I have probably been too sporadic! I have written three first drafts of novels and a handful of good picture books (and a bunch of really crappy ones.) I love picture books! I wish I had tried more non-fiction but an MFA can’t last your whole life or can it? Is there a forever MFA—can I get funding for that?

Tell us about your Creative Thesis.

My Creative Thesis is called McTruths. It’s set in the early nineties, my protagonist, Fiona is abused and objectified by the men in her life. She takes all of her value from the attention of boys, but is also really uncomfortable with her place in the world. Fiona will have to find a way to separate her sense of self from the persona men have given her if she is going to want more out of life. The novel is very much about the self-actualization of a victim into a well-rounded woman.

What changes have you seen in your writing during your studies?

I have fallen less in love with my words. I know that doesn’t seem like a positive, but it is. I used to fall in love with the phrasing and would sacrifice the story because I liked the way a good line read. I have learned to throw away anything that doesn’t serve the story. I used to get hung up on trying to keep everything I had written, now if it isn’t working—I cut it.

Any thoughts for entering students or for people considering the program?

Work harder. Write every day. Don’t get hung up. Change your process. When you need inspiration, go to nature, lay on the grass or the beach. Think through the whole story—not the part you are stuck on. Be open to change, play with ideas, Remember you are neither the best, nor the worst. Also, your mentor here will take your talking duck seriously, where else in life will you find that?