Writer’s Blog

Survivors to Superheroes: Reclaiming Your Story and Voice After Sexual Violence

By Julia Tortorello-Allen As a teenager, I lived through multiple violent sexual assaults. Afterwards, there was a long period of time where I was unable to cope with the trauma and grief. Exploring my emotions, my needs, and letting others in was an impossibility. Over time, I sought help from my parents and realized that […]

You Don’t Know My Name: Assessing the Authenticity of My Identity

By Sally Camara No one knows who you are or will ever know who you are until you decide to peel back your skin layer by layer exposing the true inner core. Usually this moment of first revealing oneself begins with a name and progresses until the parties involved decide to form a connection, whether […]

Beauty in Craft

By Shannon DeNatale How would you define a beautiful poetic moment? Does it have identifiable qualities? When I read poetry, I trust the writer as I engage in the language, on the language’s terms. This trust in the language, devotedly, is the space where beauty has a chance to emerge. As the writer leads me […]

What’s Your Twitch?

By Jasmine Ferrufino Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have been among the most long-standing social media platforms for artists to communicate with their audience. These platforms have set the bar for newer platforms. During Covid-19, I think humanity realized the importance of online communities when face-to-face interactions became impossible. Artists have moved towards live streaming to […]

Writing and Dance: The Inherent Resemblance

By Marissa Medlenka My experience with dance and writing has brought me to the conclusion that they are more alike than meets the eye, although my personal journey with each could not be more different. I have been training in dance since I was three years old and am still pursuing it in my third […]

The Quick Knowledge Appeal of Video Essays

By Mason Martinez As a high school senior, I was desperate. The graduation clock was ticking down and after three attempts, I still hadn’t passed my Global Regents, a standardized exam required to graduate in New York State. I struggled to retain dull information from dusty textbooks. Large blocks of text made it difficult to […]

The Fashion Statement: Fresh or Faux Pas?

By Elizabeth Abrams Visualize one of your characters. What are they wearing? What aspects of their wardrobe stand out the most? Considering fashion isn’t strictly necessary, but it’s an underused method of characterization. Style reveals details about setting, as well as personality and background. Someone prim and proper might dress neatly—or they might subvert expectations […]

The Emulation Game

By Lianna Lazaros In a creative writing workshop, we are encouraged to imitate other writers. Take this traditional poetic form and try it yourself. Read this author and draw inspiration from their use of syntax. The first time I found myself imitating another poet’s style was last year in Poetry Writing I. I spent months […]

Your First Draft is Not Awful: Writers on Process

By Claire Torregiano Your first draft is not terrible. It is an infant. You do not call an infant terrible because they are a product of a world that is new to them. You nurture and cultivate them so that they become smart, strong, and capable. I interviewed four writers about their experiences with first […]

Beyond and Between “Cute”: Review of the Film, Mignonnes

by Grace Mahony Maïmouna Doucouré’s movie, Mignonnes (translated into English as Cuties) addresses how vulnerable young girls are on social media. The protagonist is Amy, an 11-year-old Senegalese-Muslim immigrant girl in Paris, trying to find her path between her Muslim family’s traditional values of femininity and the hypersexualized culture of contemporary society. Amy acts like […]

Finding Literature Community During Isolation

by Olivia Adams Having a community of readers is incredibly important, despite the solitary nature of the act. Spending my fifth-grade year at the library is how I got my first job! I experienced my first open mic event at the last independent bookstore in Niagara Falls. But what do you do when the world […]

Culture Calling – Diversity Readers and Where to Find Them

by Synovia Roberts As the world gets more outwardly diverse, storytellers—whether it be fiction writers, screenwriters, or visual artists—are rushing to embody that diversity in their work. The influx of representation both solves and creates a problem via the accuracy of said representation. You see, diversifying one’s work requires one to explore cultures/identities that are […]

Telling Time With Andrei Tarkovsky

By Colin Sharp-O’ Connor In his directorial manifesto Sculpting in Time, Andrei Tarkovsky took a firm stance against the predominant directorial tradition in film (at his time of writing in the 1960s) known as “montage cinema,” in which the continuity and rhythm of a film is ultimately the result of its editing, the way each […]

Why is Feeling Not Enough? A Defense for Poems That Open Doors

By Channa Goldman I was seventeen years old when I read HOWL by Allen Ginsburg, and three billion firecrackers went off in my chest at lines such as: “I’m with you in Rockland/ where we hug and kiss the United States under/ our bedsheets the United States that coughs all/ night and won’t let us […]

The Importance of Taking a Step Back

By Kris Rubertone It’s no secret that writing in the heat of an emotional moment helps a writer understand her feelings. However, it’s only in revision that the writer can clearly gauge whether she has effectively evoked that particular emotional truth, and whether it has a similar effect on the reader. Does the language conjure […]

Yeah, I Didn’t Finish That One. It Was Too Long.

By Winnie Richards Whether it’s a novel, a poem or a news article, you can bet  the longer it is, the fewer readers you’ll have. In our fast-paced, ever-changing world of technology, there is little appetite for the lengthy. Why would I read an entire news article when the headline tells me everything? Why would […]

Does Content Matter?

by Amy Middleton What convinces a reader to pick up a book? As writers, we are told that the opening line, in particular, is meant to pull them in and hopefully convince them to stay for a while. Being that it is the first thing any reader would read, it seems obvious that the opening […]

Mapping Your Way to Complex Characters

By Cerissa DiValentino The disorienting feeling you experience after finishing a novel wherein the characters feel like someone you know in real life demonstrates the power complex characters have over our emotions. As writers, we aim to immerse our readers so completely into the world we’ve created that they’re hesitant to leave it. Most importantly, […]

Writing 101 for Struggling College Students

By Savannah Lopez Have you ever compared yourself to your peers and felt discouraged?  Do you sometimes find it hard to stay inspired? It’s okay, we’ve all been there. I’ve been in college for almost six years and it wasn’t until 2017 when I realized I wanted to become a creative writing major.  I transferred […]

Writing as Medicine

By Ingrid Kildiss Its 3:30 pm, I’m sitting in class and my mind is racing. There are at least two more hours until my professor lets us out of class, but I can’t sit still. I’m anxious about the argument I got into with my mom this weekend, all the work I need to do, […]

Writing People We Know

By Elana Marcus In the 2015 Noah Baumbach film, Mistress America, college freshman Tracy meets her stepsister, Brooke, for the first time. Inspired by Brooke’s eccentric personality, Tracy writes a short story about her to submit to the school literary journal. After Brooke discovers the story, she is enraged. A whole interrogation scene follows where […]

The Sliding Razor: Effects of Sensory Imagery in Writing

By Shannon Magrane Sensory imagery, by definition, is an element of writing in which the five senses (sight, taste, touch, hearing, and smell) are described in order to make your readers feel what your characters are experiencing. By evoking a sensory reaction, the writer enables the reader to be part of the characters’ physical experience. […]

A Celebration and a Weight to Bear: Exploring Violence, Loss, and Culture in Tarfia Faizullah’s Registers of Illuminated Villages

By Mitchell Angelo  Tarfia Faizullah is a Bengali-American award-winning poet. Her second collection of poetry, Registers of Illuminated Villages, examines violence: both personal and societal. She utilizes the confessional style to present the reader with real life challenges she has faced. Faizullah blends the philosophical with the tangible. Her work makes the reader ask questions […]

Dynamic Characters in Theatre and Writing

As a Theatre and Performance Major, I’m often asked to consider my character’s wants when playing a role. “What is my motivation?” is a question that actors pose so often that it’s parodied. But as it turns out, there’s something to this question. Actors use it to better inhabit their characters. If I can take […]

A Cozier Alternative to the Classroom (An Interview with Paloma Gratereaux)

An Interview by Carly Sorenson  Paloma Gratereaux is a junior double-major at SUNY Purchase and recent founder of the African American Women Writers Book Club. The club meets biweekly on Mondays at 6:30 p.m. in the Multicultural Center. Shortly after the club’s first meeting, the two of us sat down for a conversation about representation, […]

Surviving the Day: How Stephen King Helped Me Grow Up

By Nick Sapienza I was always a shy kid. Whether it was talking to people or sending a text message, my social anxiety made me fear even the shortest interactions. During my grade school years, I felt immense pressure to be social and make friends, which left me feeling increasingly paranoid. In times of anxiety, […]

We’re Better Together: On Finding a Writing Community

By Christina Baulch As a Literature major, I’m surrounded by creative writing all the time. Whether I’m studying Medieval English Literature or Sci-Fi, I’ve dedicated my four years at Purchase to analyzing and appreciating creative writing of all mediums, genres, and time periods. Yet, with all this reading in my course schedule, I’ve found it […]

Defying Genre (and Gender): How Camp is More Serious Than It Looks

By Muse McCormack I’m currently in an amazing class called LGBTQ Theater and Performance History where we’ve been reading plays about feminism, queerness, and genderfluidity. Many of these plays use camp or exaggeration, especially of gender, to comment on gender and feminism in America. Camp is a kind of performance or aesthetic that is usually […]

A Magazine Given a Second Chance

By Trisha Murphy If you travel to the back of Campus Center South, you will find a flight of stairs to your left. Take them to the basement, hang a right and walk till you’re just shy of the exit to the dumpster and room 0024/0025 will be on the left, the place I love […]

Top 5 Places to Write at SUNY Purchase

By Vee Weeks Stephen King wrote his famous book, The Shining, while spending a night at Stanley Hotel, supposedly haunted and located in Estes, Colorado. J.K. Rowling composed some of the Harry Potter books at the Elephant House, a café in Edinburgh, Scotland with a view of Edinburgh Castle. But not everyone has the money […]

From Paperback to the Big Screen: Is it Worth the Watch?

By: Taylor Johnson Every year it seems like more and more books are being adapted for the small and big screen, and the same question follows its release: which is better, the movie or the book? I struggle with this decision as well: whether to watch the movie or read the book first. I fear […]

Unblocking Writer’s Block

By Ashley Fields At the start of spring semester 2017 every time I picked up my notebook and pen, or opened my laptop to continue a piece, my hands froze over the same scene: “The first thing I saw when I opened my eyes was the man from the night before.”  I couldn’t seem to […]

The Necessary Stress of the Workshop

By: Madeline Bodendorf My first workshop was held on the last day of finals of the first semester of my freshman year. A mouthful, I know, but the point here is that I had literally the entirety of a semester to prepare for my first creative writing workshop. I should have been emotionally ready by […]

Writing, Wonder, and Wit: An Interview With Joanna Valente (excerpt)

By: Finola Mc Donald (An except of an interview with Alumna, Joanna Valente, in our upcoming 2017 issue) Joanna C. Valente is a human who lives in Brooklyn, New York. They are the author of Sirs & Madams (Aldrich Press, 2014), The Gods Are Dead (Deadly Chaps Press, 2015), Sexting the Dead (Unknown Press, 2017) […]

The Story Behind the Violence: Storytelling in Professional Wrestling

By Zarira Love Combining the drama and camp of soap operas with the physicality, athleticism, and violence of combat sports has proven to be a winning formula for the world’s largest and highest grossing wrestling promotion, World Wrestling Entertainment which classifies itself as “sports entertainment.” Here, a team of creative writers—and CEO Vince McMahon—formulate storylines […]

The Joys of Another Art

By Rosa Sugarman Image by Kurt Vonnegut When authors come to SUNY Purchase for a reading, one questions always seems to reappear during the Q&A: What advice would you give to young writers? The answer is always different and often contradictory to other writers’ advice. Some say to treat it like a 9-5; work tirelessly […]

Teaching Writing in an Unorthodox Classroom

By Toni Chianese Photo: Four Women Earning Bachelor’s Degrees from Bedford Hills Correctional Facility I work at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women as a writing tutor. Since coming to college and reading In the Belly of the Beast by Jack Henry Abbott, a repertoire of prison literature, I have wanted to work in […]

Gossip Girl is for Everybody

By Loisa Fenichell           Gossip Girl, which aired on the CW network from September 19th, 2007 to December 17th, 2012, is a television show based on Cecily Von Ziegasar’s book series of the same name. It follows the lives of Manhattan’s elite: Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively), Blair Waldorf (Leighton […]

The Quirks of Being A Writer

By Lunes Lucien Twain, Hemingway, Nabokov, Dumas, what do all of these famous writers have in common? Besides being genius writers, they all have one secret to how they work (a  secret quirk if you will).. From laying down in bed to write to using a color-coding system or having index cards handy when waiting […]

Why We Really Became Creative Writers

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 […]