Final Senior Reading

Creative Writing senior Ana Stina Rimal strikes a pose a week before her senior reading. Photo by Jesus Trujillo.

This semester’s round of senior readings has been diverse, inspiring and representative of the time and effort Creative Writing and Literature students at Santa Fe University of Art and Design put into their work. Wrapping up this semester’s senior readings on Tuesday, April 25 will be Salem Farrell, Melinda Freudenberger and Ana Stina Rimal. The three will be reading work from the book-length manuscripts they’ve been working on all semester.

As they talked with Jackalope, it was evident how comfortable they are with each other in the way they joked and recounted moments they shared together in their senior reading class. “I have so much respect for my fellow writers. I just think that people are so talented, and I feel confident that I’m going to read my peers outside of this school. That’s exciting to me,” Rimal says.

When the trio was asked about how they felt about reading together, there was a collective nod and smile. Freudenberger says she knew over summer that she was going to ask Farrell and Rimal to read with her. “I was so scared, I felt like I was asking them out all at the same time,” she says.

Melinda Freudenberger, a Creative Writing senior, is a reader in this week’s senior reading. Photo by Jesus Trujillo.

Each talks about distinct themes and images present in their manuscripts. Freudenberger, whose manuscript includes poetry, fiction and nonfiction, says her work has themes of sexuality, religion and body horror while Farrell, also including work in the three genres in his manuscript, laughs and mentions that Matt Donovan, the professor teaching senior reading this semester, says there are a lot of “nasty lips” in his pieces.

Rimal talks about how she’s drawn to writing about awkward situations. “That moment from being a child to…just figuring out the world a little bit is such an interesting and awkward moment. And I love that awkwardness,” Rimal says. Her tracks are in fiction and nonfiction. “When I’m thinking of a story, I try to find the most awkward situations I can think of and then tell a story in that moment, because I feel like that’s the most telling.” The three agree that their writing shares a common theme of adolescence.

In terms of the senior reading class, the three seem to feel grateful for the experience. “I think our discussions in class were really, really fantastic,” Farrell says. “There was not a quiet moment, we finished early a bunch for times, we really got it done. But now it’s crunch time, so everyone’s being all serious.”

Salem Farrell, a Creative Writing senior, settles in before his upcoming senior reading. Photo by Jesus Trujillo.

The students work with other seniors who help them with revision, as well as with graphic designers who design their book covers. “It was cool to see people that I had been here with for so long, like see their work all together and I’ll remember pieces from freshman year and be able to talk about it like that, in the scope of their years here,” Freudenberger says. She refers to it as cathartic before going on to talk about how difficult, and worthwhile, working with InDesign is, something that many seniors have mentioned this semester. “It’s been cool to put my own text in my own book because I feel like I can look at it and be like ‘I did that, those are the words that I made and I put them down,’” she says.

Rimal has put serious thought into what having her work in a physical books means for her writing. “I think sometimes reading on a piece of computer paper in Times New Roman can be really sterilizing,” she says. “It’s so exciting to think about the actual experience of reading a book, which is so much more full than just reading a page. I love the little images that go into it and the fonts and I just think that’s a part of it. And if you really put intention in all of those things, it helps the story so much.”

Their passion and distinct personalities, both in person and in writing, will surely make for the perfect finale to this series of senior readings.

The reading will be held at 7 p.m., April 25 in O’Shaughnessy Performance Space.