This is lovely, Stephanie – What wonderful, powerful material…so honestly and emotionally rendered. Well done. You have the ability to capture real emotions and complicate them so they dig deeper- and you have the language to make the material fresh. – My creative writing professor
Something that has always drawn me to writing is the unexpected place that words can take you. More important than the transient shape of a story, is how it ultimately leads you back. Alteration is driven by the heart and in the effort of trying to make feelings tangible through diction, oftentimes we find our desires, fears, regrets… mapped out before us on the pages. Perhaps we are brought to what we have forgotten (or tried to forget), or maybe to something unknown, understanding then the void needing to be filled.
My short story (a light hearted anecdote about my first spoken sentence) has become, after a series of revisions, a reverie of infertility and loss. It has affected me more than I could have anticipated. While it is draining me of the energy to faithfully update this blog, it is making me feel profoundly, and it’s something I need to delve into further.
Yesterday morning, as my professor handed back the drafts of our short stories and poetry, I sorted through the pile of papers in my hands. It hit me like the wrought iron gate in my driveway, failing to brake with my rollerblades when I was 13 years old. This is the last time you will ever have a professor marking up your work, telling you what a good/crappy job you did. From hereonout… there are no rewrites– office hours– pass/fail options. No hand to hold/pat you on the back. When you falter, the only one to blame is staring back at you from the mirror.
Reflecting on my life at DePaul, I won’t feign complete satisfaction. It has been a tumultuous four year period. I am reminded of a Soren Kierkegaard quote that I love, which Grace Lee Boggs quoted in the final sentence of her book, Living for Change, that tells us life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards. Nevertheless, I am ready for graduation, and whatever follows. I want to explore, grow, and change. That’s the thing about drafts– you can alter phrases, edit punctuation, cut out entire chunks of the work, but as long as your heart is truly in the foundation of the story — it will be worth reading.
Since the words just aren’t there– or are, but are needed for my assignment, I will leave you with a picture from the last day of my undergraduate career. We gave our final presentation as a class in Asian American Women’s Activism yesterday. The director of the AAS program brought a cake to congratulate me and the other minor. (We’re the first to graduate in Asian American Studies from DePaul University) The event itself was a wonderful culmination of my two concentrations and reminded me how deeply I will miss the school, professors, and classmates.