On Sunday, July 15, 2018, 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. 

We will be featuring our soon-to-be alumni as they look back on their time at Hamline University. Today’s new graduate is Lisa Riddiough. She lives in Cameron Park, CA.

Follow her on twitter.  

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

We recently moved to the Sierra foothills after 25+ years in the Oakland area. I am getting used to my new surroundings and adjusting happily to things like fewer traffic jams and free parking. I am also spending a good bit of time hiking and gardening (and driving back and forth to the Bay Area)!

How did you hear about the Hamline MFAC Program?  

I originally found Hamline in the low-residency MFA listing in Poets and Writers magazine. It was a thrill to learn that a low-residency program existed in writing for children and young adults.

What was your writing experience prior to entering the program?  

When I lived in Oakland, I took writing classes at UC Berkeley Extension and SF’s Writer’s Grotto. I focused mostly on short stories and essays but had a longing to learn more about writing for kids.

What do you especially remember about your first residency?  

I remember being terrified and star struck (which I still am).

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? 

My initial interest was PB’s, which I have worked on with each packet. But I also dipped my toes into middle-grade and have worked on a novel throughout my time here.

Tell us about your Creative Thesis.  

My creative thesis is titled, A DUCK, THREE WITCHES, THE LIBRARY, SOME PIE, AND ELVIS. It is the combination of four PB’s and the first several chapters of my middle-grade WIP. It was difficult to find a common theme in the collection, but each story asks, in one way or another, how can it be?

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

I am amazed at how time itself is necessary for a story to take shape. We can’t speed up that time. And we can’t force a story to emerge. There are things that I wrote in my first semester, a word or sentence or whole idea, that simply couldn’t become what it was meant to become until my last semester. As an instant gratification girl, I have miraculously learned patience in my writing.

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

Please do it. You owe it to yourself. You owe it to the world. What you have to say is valuable. You will not regret your decision to attend this amazing program!