Major: English, and Classical Humanities
Minor: Creative Writing (the certificate option)
Why did you decide to study creative writing?
Since elementary school, I’ve loved creative writing. I used to emulate my favorite stories, like A Series of Unfortunate Events, or Harry Potter. Then, in high school, I realized what I wanted to focus on: lesbian representation. Every story I grew up loving was boy-meets-girl. My current work is driven by the desire to create what I wish I could have read. I’m so passionate about creating girl-meets-girl narratives, my passion often wakes me up at 5 AM to write. Coming into Rutgers, I knew I wanted to hone my craft, and to share my enthusiasm with teachers and other students.
What is it about creative writing that appeals to you?
My favorite thing about creative writing is the freedom of it. To quote Stephen Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George, “White, a blank page, or canvas. So many possibilities.” As a writer, what is most difficult is also what is most rewarding: Our words are our worlds, and our ideas are our legacies. We create new lives, new stories, new lessons that have the potential to survive the test of time. I’ve heard it said that people who keep diaries document their lives with the notion that, someday, their work will be a time capsule for historians. There’s a twisted pleasure in the belief of being remembered. Authors, novelists, poets, playwrights – we feel this way too. What we write today will, no doubt, influence tomorrow. In 1915, when Charlotte Perkins Gilman published Herland, readers were shocked by the idea of a society that could function without men. But readers read it. Readers absorbed it. Herland made an impact. So, am I saying that Ms. Gilman is DIRECTLY responsible for women’s suffrage, or the expansion of feminism? No. However, her work pushed the envelope! It got people thinking about women. What if women didn’t need men? What if women were capable in positions of power? Hmm. Now THAT is special. THAT is why it matters that she wrote her book. I love how, as a current writer, I can do what she did. I can write, being seemingly provocative, only for future writers to take it even further. My point is: Writers don’t singlehandedly make social change – but we assist with it, we help. That is why creative writing is important, and why I am a writer.
Do you have a favorite class/professor?
I have many favorite professors! Within the creative writing department, there are two who stand out: Caridad Svich and Alex Dawson. Caridad is a prolific playwright who has inspired me to indulge in my love of theatre. She has been a wonderful mentor to me, from her willingness to read extra pages of writing (my portfolio for her class was 110 pages!), and her ability to provide extensive feedback. Alex is an enthusiastic professor whose energy can be felt from miles away. He has taught me everything I know about publishing – something I knew nothing about before his YA Fiction class. Alex also included me on a trip to New York City to Farrar, Straus, and Giroux (FSG). There, a few of us pitched our novels to a professional panel. I’ll be forever grateful for that opportunity, because it sparked a deeper passion toward becoming a novelist.
What are you favorite academic experiences outside your studies?
Prior to attending Rutgers, I graduated from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) in New York City. There, I majored in musical theatre. While I don’t study acting or performance at Rutgers, it’s still a huge part of who I am. Once a theatre person, always a theatre person!
What are your other Rutgers activities?
I’m a member of the Classics Club, where we discuss ancient Greece and ancient Rome. Being a Classicist-in-training, I’m also learning ancient Greek as a language. Besides that, I work at the Livingston Writing Center, tutoring essay writing.
What are your plans following graduation?
After graduation, I plan on attending an MFA program for creative writing or literary arts. My long-term goal is to be a novelist and playwright. Or, as I sometimes say, I am a novelist and playwright! But the next step is learning as much as I can, and ultimately working toward publication.