By Kayla Dale
I’ve had the privilege of following many talented students through years-worth of creative writing classes, and have not only created friendships, but also watched their voices blossom as writers. I’ve read their fiction, but I have never had the opportunity to ask them the big question: “Why are you here at Purchase pursuing the Creative Writing BA?” I applied to this program with the desire to share my personal experiences with others through fiction, adopting my own experimental writing style and unique voice that reflect the way my mind works. I wanted to know what personal circumstances have provoked my fellow students to write, and never stop writing. I interviewed three upperclassmen of different gender and background about why they applied to the Creative Writing Program at Purchase College. Please note that the first two contributors, Kukuwa and Michael, are Creative Writing majors. The third contributor, Aren, is a non-major who has, with instructor approval, designed their own curriculum and was able to take classes in the Creative Writing Program. All of their answers are below.
Kukuwa Ashun, Senior:
“My love for writing stemmed from my love for books. I used to collect so many books at a young age. I found myself immersed in those monthly Scholastic book orders they gave us in elementary school. Having this connection with stories at a young age encouraged me to write my own narratives and share them with other people around me. This kind of mentality was one that my family continuously supported, and with their help, I knew I wanted to pursue my BA here at Purchase. Participating in workshops, taking literature classes, attending readings by visiting authors, and discovering more about myself as a writer, made me not regret my decision to follow this trajectory. I will forever be thankful for my years here.”
Michael Chamak, Senior:
“I’ve always liked the idea of entertaining people, especially through storytelling. I feel like any time I can entertain someone or make them feel good is an accomplishment of which to be proud. Throughout high school and the beginning of college I was focused on TV and film production. As I went on, I was drawn more and more to the writing side of production. I found that I enjoyed writing the stories much more than I enjoyed working on a set, which consists mostly of waiting, and exhausting repetition. I’m drawn to creative writing because I prefer to tell the stories that I want to without the confines of reality. If I wanted to, I could write a story about dragon-riding aliens without having to worry about budgetary restrictions.”
Aren Landau, Senior:
“Ever since I can remember, I’ve been a storyteller. That is, I’ve always known I had something to say. When I started college, I was a BA in the Art Conservatory because I’d had many mentors who encouraged me to pursue art as a profession. The art program was excellent, but it wasn’t fulfilling my need for storytelling in the way I had hoped. Then I stumbled blindly into an intro creative writing class. From there, creative writing evolved from a pastime, to a passion, to a career trajectory, and I have never been happier. As a young teen fresh out of the closet, I felt there were never enough good books with lesbian protagonists. Malinda Lo was a huge inspiration to me in that regard, because she was the first author I read who combined the genre I wanted to write in(fantasy/sci-fi) with the kind of people I wanted to write about.”