I have waited so, so long to announce this.
A few months ago, the University of Dayton offered me a fully-funded teaching assistantship after I was accepted into their M.A. in English: Writing and Rhetoric program. There were other offers at hand, but I didn't want to announce my decision on social media until it was set in stone.
I signed the contract today.
So, I'm a Flyer now!
It felt so good to finally sign that contract today. I've already registered for my courses, filled out the paperwork for Human Resources, and received my graduate student ID card. I'm thrilled to both continue my eduction and learn what it means to be an educator.
So, I've got the best of both worlds.
A few months ago, I drove to Sinclair Community College to give a speech about my time as a Sinclair student and my growth as a writer. It was the first time I had seen the University of Dayton since I was offered the teaching assistantship, so when I drove by it on my way to Sinclair—where my entire college career started—I cried.
It felt full circle.
I almost cried again today when I walked through campus, confused but amazed. I had no idea where I was going. In fact, I got lost twice. However, when I figured out where I was supposed to go, I wound up walking through a small garden between buildings. I entered under a tall brick arch, smelled the flowers in the breeze, and stopped to breathe it all in.
I can't wait to spend the next two years there.
So, I've been busy, but I'm back!
As a few of you have noticed, my online activity has decreased overall since roughly February/March; I should have expected it, but I didn't realize how demanding my final undergraduate semester would be. I pulled more all-nighters in that one semester than I had for my entire first three years of college. It was rough, to say the least.
But I plowed through it.
After four long years, I earned my Bachelor of Arts in English in both Rhetoric & Professional Writing AND Creative Writing Hybrid Forms. Magna Cum Laude honors, too. Since I was nominated by English faculty to be an Arts & Sciences Marshal, I was lucky enough to wear red rather than black! I also got to sit in the front row.
It was a day I'll never forget.
Most college graduates tend to take time off, celebrate a little, once they finally finish. Immediately following graduation, however, more work began. Two editing projects, to be precise.
The week of graduation, I started developmental edits on Danielle Koste's next book, What the Flower Says of Death. In late June, after she applied my suggested edits, I conducted line edits. This past week, I proofread the book one last time before sending it off into the wild (a.k.a beta readers). You can pre-order signed copies of What the Flower Says of Death now, and I've included the blurb below:
I'm absolutely bias, so I love the book. It also challenged me as an editor to remain emotionally distant due to the content and themes; it's easy to identify with Violet as a reader.
The cover reveal is on July 31st, but as editor, I may have gotten a glimpse of it. It may be absolutely gorgeous. Possibly. So, be on the lookout for that!
I enjoyed working on another one of Danielle's books these last few months, and I'm thrilled to be able to work on her next novels as well. As I've expressed to her on multiple occasions, editing her writing makes me a better writer. It's truly an honor. She was also kind enough to work with my schedule as well, because her book was not the only one I have edited so far this year.
Some backstory: my final course for my Rhetoric & Professional Writing major at the University of Cincinnati was a Rhetoric & Professional Writing Capstone. While my Creative Writing Hybrid Forms Capstone included only undergraduate students, my Rhetoric Capstone included undergraduate and graduate students. I ended up working with mixed group of students to complete a client project (creating a website, some civil war panels, a few articles, and so forth) but I became close with our lovely group leader.
She ended up inviting me to work with her on a nonfiction book project.
Aside from my education and personal dabbling in nonfiction, I never had a professional opportunity to work on a nonfiction piece. Naturally, I couldn't pass it up.
The untitled book, now planned to be called "They Call Me Nemo," is a hybrid memoir. The story is told in three ways; chapters detail his life story until the day he went to prison, letters display his daily life while incarcerated, and artwork depict his attempt to stay connected with his loved ones.
This project was both hands-on and hands-off. Our client, the author's mother, gave us the handwritten "draft." I put the quotes around draft because the content was more than 250,000 words; at the onset, this was not your typical draft for a nonfiction book. So, after transcribing the author's life story before and during prison, my partner and I constructed the 96,000+ word book (I suggested a braided structure similar to Anne Carson's lovely book Nox) before lightly editing it based off of our client's wishes. We also drafted the mother a proposal and query letter so her son could begin to research agents/publishers in the hopes of pursuing publication.
I can't even begin to express the journey my partner and I had. There were many late nights filled with the never-ending tap of our keyboards as we transcribed this man's path towards prison, and eventually, his experiences within prison.
As someone with a previously incarcerated family member, I had a personal interest in this man's prison stay. Some of the daily letters were quite revealing, and I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to work with my new friend on this project.
Actually, I feel immensely grateful overall to have worked on a fiction and nonfiction project directly after graduating with my B.A. in English. I'm so fortunate to have these new experiences under my belt at my age, and more than that, to be allowed to work on these personal pieces to begin with.
Hopefully, it's only the start.