Creating an experience so visceral the reader can feel and see everything that is unfolding became my ultimate goal when I began writing my first novel when I was 12. I have been exposed to the works of Elizabeth Doyle Carey, Kristen Cast, Anne Lamott, and more recently Tana French, who have inspired this aim to be more original in my descriptions. As I reflected on my reading choices, I realized that most of my favorite writers write about female friendships that are often located at a school (e.g. House of Night Series) or out of the supervision of adults (e.g. The Callahan Cousins). I come from a very close-knit family and I regularly see my predominantly female cousins, so the choice makes perfect sense. I have a deep admiration for female friendships that span generations and it is what led me to write The Girl with Flowers in her Hair. The estranged relationship between Mrs. Hershel and her daughter leads to her projecting this motherly connection onto Skylar. This was my first time creating a character much older than myself, as well as my first character with altered mental capacity. The story initially began as a fantastic fiction piece, however, it did not work out as intended. Instead it became much more entrenched in the real world and a combination of multiple genres than my research skill and time constraints could allow for.
The Paper Professor and Making a Home were influenced the most by actual experiences in my life. Making a Home explored the ways humans are imperfect and how different relationships negated some of the wrongs their love ones committed. It was inspired by the experience of losing a family friend to cancer. Watching my mother and the family of her friend sort through her material and earthly existence caused me to think about how one is remembered once they are gone, based upon what they leave behind and what the objects signify to the people that knew them. In this current revision, I broaden the ways in which the objects in the home caused Harriet to remember her mother in ways that go beyond the home and the renovations to a somewhat of compare and contrast between her relationship with father and her mother and the relationship her father and mother had with one another. The Paper Professor stemmed from a single incident where I painted the walls in my bedroom when I was eight and was met with a chilly reception from my mother’s boyfriend at the time. The short story then became an outlet to imagine a world in which he could change and did. These two short stories have become the way in which I, in a sense, correct the story I was not able to live in real-life, so they are often a blend of fiction and memoir. Many of my short stories are primarily based in New York City because it is a setting I know best. The industrial and often gray and red-clay landscape are often balanced with many descriptions of color in my prose.
I see writing as living and appreciating life more fully. There are aspects to my past that I was not able to unlock until I reflected on them through my writing. There are also difficult aspects to my past that I have been able to make beautiful through writing. Although I have a preference for fantastic fiction, I often have to write it first before I can classify its genre. I often find myself collecting strange facts from videos, song lyrics for story inspiration, and photos on the Internet of strangers I find beautiful. Writing is a process I experience as half collecting and half writing. In assembling this portfolio I realized all of them were about were about female protagonist(s) relationships and the complications that stems from them.