Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type




First Reader

Dr. Amy Sonheim

Second Reader

Professor Sarah Smith

Third Reader

Dr. Bethany Hicks


When I was in the fourth grade, sitting at a round wooden table at the end of our kitchen, I wrote the first story that made me proud. My mom, Karrie Goodman, had taught me how to turn the dinosaur of a laptop on, plugging in the dial-up and giving enough time for the machine to whirl to life. At the time, we had a CD player nestled onto a shelf nearby, which was where I began my first inklings of a writing process, a writing preference. At that malleable age of barely ten years old, I preferred a glass of water to my left, Michael Buble’s Crazy Love album on low, and Microsoft Word set to Bookman Old Style font. I spent entire afternoons sitting criss-cross-apple-sauce in a kitchen chair, my index fingers flying across the chunky keyboard of an old PC.

That first story that made me proud was entitled A Journey to Heaven and it lasted all of about fifty computer pages, single spaced. It told the story of a brother, sister, and their cousin counterparts as they adventured through the traumatic unfolding of a house robbery and subsequent family upheaval. I printed the self-proclaimed book and took it to my Gifted and Talented (G/T) class at school, where I was given the opportunity to read it to my friends and classmates. I was hoping they would spew my praises. But while reading my work aloud, I began what was the first process of self-editing, stumbling over paragraphs that didn’t fit in, sentences that didn’t flow, words misspelled. When I finished reading, I stacked my papers to signal the end. I was aware that I, personally, had edits to make, yet I knew even then I would be hesitant to make them. But all I hoped was that my class liked it. Did they see its worth? Did they understand my characters? Did they think I was a good author?

Then my teacher leaned back and crossed her arms, asking the class to give any pointers. And I sat there, teeth clenched and hands cold, as my hard work was criticized. Unfortunately, every last one of them was blunt.

I hated it. If my writing was good, why didn’t they like it?



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