CWL Senior Readers: Last Batch
The last round of Creative Writing and Literature Department senior readers are wrapping up the reading series on April 26 with dynamic works covering a range of human connections and cultural commentary.
Senior Amelia Wilson had a plan for her senior publication the semesters and summer previous to her senior reading class. Her plan was to have the book of poetry and short stories circulate thematically around the intricacies of human relationships.
“But when I got critiques back, everyone identified that it was more about the hardships of relationships,” says Wilson. “A big theme too was a lack of happy endings, which is something I hadn’t noticed before.”
Creating this book was “really difficult” for Wilson as she looked through the works from her previous semesters at SFUAD.
“It’s hard to find stuff that fits into the themes that you have and stuff you’re happy with putting in your senior thesis,” says Wilson. “I had some pieces that were just so old that the writing style was just too different to put in with my more recent stuff.”
However, the largest difficulty for Wilson in the creation of the book was beyond her own publication, it had more to do with the work in the senior reading class. She described a kind of balance between the enormous amount of material to read and critique for others, and the amount of work that must be done line by line on her own.
“It’s like you’re working so hard and getting burned out on your own book, then you read someone else’s work and get inspired to work again.”
For senior Bisi Ademulegun, creating her book was also about the creative longevity of the collection.
“I have been collecting over my four years here short stories about social issues, that’s always what I tend to focus on,” Ademulegun says. “If something moves me that I read in the press, or hear in class, that’s where I get my inspiration.”
Ademulegun’s book is a collection of fiction and nonfiction that discusses topics like slavery, divorce and the Black Lives Matter Movement. These topics are primarily explored in her fiction stories, but are offset by lighter, though poignant, nonfiction pieces about the writing process and the character of her mother. The book is sequenced to have a long gestation in the mind of the reader.
“I didn’t want it to be heavy with social issues, so it isn’t just story after story of social issues,” says Ademulegun. “That can cause people to miss my purpose of writing them, which is for people to think, not to turn their nose up and walk away…It’s all about the people who are reading my work. It’s about the idea I’m trying to convey being understood by them.”
Senior Daniela Cadena created a book of mostly fiction and nonfiction, with a few Haikus and a poem that was driven from its inception by an overarching theme of culture and healing.
“I came up with a theme first and then chose stories that fit in the range of that theme,” Cadena says. “So, I have a lot of my hispanic culture traditions, stories and myths that come with that, mixed with my own personal struggles I was going through at the time.”
The largest difficulty Cadena encountered was the sequencing of pieces in the book.
“There were a lot of stories in there that I wasn’t sure exactly how they would complement other stories that were in there,” says Cadena. One particular story, and one she is most proud of, describes her experience in a steamhouse cleansing, and is placed intentionally at the end of the book.
“That’s kind of like the ending piece of my collection,” says Cadena, “one final cathartic act as a finale to this journey.”
Miranda Bass’ senior collection is also driven by theme. A collection of mainly fiction and poetry from the past two years of Bass’ SFUAD career, the manuscript focuses on language and communication.
“I like collecting words that don’t have any translation in English,” says Bass. “So, the pieces revolve around things that are hard to say, or things that are better left unsaid, or characters that can’t communicate or find it hard to communicate.”
Bass also focuses on the image of space, outer space particularly, as a recurring metaphor, an image that could be related to the space created in words without definition, or silences in communication. She also regards the sensation of crashing recurring in her work.
As for the hardest part about creating the collection…
“You have to look at the same stuff over and over and again,” says Bass, “and you have to go through so many manuscripts that have been edited that it gets kind of hard to keep wanting to look at it and have that passion to editing it because you just want to be done so badly.”
Amelia Wilson, Bisi Ademulegun, Daniela Cadena and Miranda Bass will read from their collections at 7 p.m. on April 26 in the O’Shaughnessy Performance Space.
A book release party for all the Senior Reading members will be held from 1-2 p.m. on Monday, May 9 in Fogelson Library.