How I Got Here: A Creative Perspective
Most kids get into trouble. It’s in the definition of the word—kid. K-I-D; human who doesn’t understand rules and will ultimately cause strife, disorder, and anxiety to others around them. We all know what that moment was for us, right? Everybody has that time they can look back and say, “Ah, yes, my poor parents.” Well. I also have one of those. I was the kid who got into trouble for reading late at night with a flashlight under the covers. I know! Such a nerd…sorry to be a disappointment.
But seriously. During elementary and middle school, I was notoriously known for reading too late, trying to sneak in that one extra chapter so I could find out what happened next. I still do it, but at least now nobody can tell me no. My point is, I loved to read, and through my love of reading and storytelling, I found myself wanting to be able to create stories of my own.
I graduated from the University of Evansville this May with my BFA in Creative Writing, and I have never regretted my major. I had amazing professors and mentors to guide me through the process of becoming a better writer, and I know through their teaching I’ll always have the tools to pull out when I want to write.
Over some Tuscan pizza a friend recently asked me, “What do you enjoy about writing?” I get asked this question a lot, and I’ve finally settled upon an answer, at least for now. I love being hospitable with my writing. I love capturing my experiences so others can experience them as well. Not to make people feel inferior, but to make them feel welcome into my life. This April I got my first short story piece published in a literary magazine called Tributaries. It’s called “Saltwater Makes Your Hair Grow,” and it’s a bunch of segments about my Greek family and heritage. I adore my family and background so much I want to share it with everyone. I don’t know if you all are aware, but Greeks love to cook for people and feed them. That’s the way it is in my household at least, and I treat that desire to show people my heritage through food the same way I do with my writing. In order to be a writer, you have to enjoy people. It’s a little ironic honestly, considering most writers are introverts, but it’s true. You have to enjoy talking to them to discover their stories. You have to enjoy observing them for their little quirks and ticks. It’s funny how now I’m surrounded by an amazing group of diverse people within Orr Fellowship from whom I can draw inspiration.
How did a creative writing major end up with Orr, you ask? It’s because I knew I would have so many different and unique opportunities if I became a Fellow.. Yes, I’m good at writing (or at least I hope I am after studying it for four years), but I knew I had other skills that would make me a valuable employee if only I were given the chance to really develop them. Orr gave me that opportunity. Realistically I knew I would be able to get any copy-editing or entry-level marketing position, but I refused to be pigeon-holed. I firmly believe that we are all smarter and more capable than we think, and I knew I needed an atmosphere that nurtured and pushed me out of my comfort zone. Because let’s be honest, I like being good at what I do, and it’s scary to try new things…especially when I think of how I might not be an expert in it, and that’s just something I’ve come to terms with. It’s exciting and invigorating, but also very humbling, and Lord knows I could always use some of that.
For my job as an Orr Fellow at DuraMark Technologies, I write processes and training lessons for new hires at my company. I like that I don’t have to continually use my creative brain all day for work and then have nothing left over for some of my personal creative projects. I still love to write. It’s my outlet, my stress reliever, and I think if I were trying to creatively write stories to pay the bills it would take away from that freedom and passion I have for writing. Working with the content team on Orr’s marketing team, however, has really let me use my creative skills by telling our Alumni’s and current Fellows’ stories which really allows me to tap into my creative self. And hey, storytelling was the reason I fell in love with writing in the first place, remember?