Since I could hold a pen (or crayon), I’ve been writing little stories or poems. Scenes pester me until I write them down. Little imaginations weave themselves in and out of my head until the urge to write them down becomes a burning need. Sometimes I cannot focus on anything until I trap the ideas down on paper.
As an avid reader, it wasn’t a surprise to anyone when I declared I wanted to be a writer at the fifth grade career fair. I always have a book on me. In grades K-12, I would carry two or three in case I finished one of them. It was an addiction.
To write my own stories was just natural to me.
Not only is writing an addiction, but it is also a way for me to reflect on my experiences in a new way and purge the ugly feelings that this world brings on. I unfortunately have nightmares often. Always have. Sometimes I wake up and forget what the dream was about but still feel the cold sweat and heart thumping of a nightmare lingering. A few of my darker short stories are my way of defeating the nightmares and moving on from there. Many of my other stories are my way of turning the nightmare into something else. Either way, it helps me push through them.
One of my short stories that was brought on by a nightmare is called “Under the Dark.”
“Under the Dark” is about a little boy called Rory not wanting to go to bed because there’s a monster hiding underneath. The story follows him as he tries to ignore the monster, but eventually it consumes him. When his father comes to check on him, it appears that Rory is in bed and fine, but the monster is really him now. It’s supposed to represent how sometimes, despite all your best efforts, the ugliness of society can reach in and contaminate you no matter how hard you try. I cannot read this story out loud because the shakes of fear come back. My dad had me try to read out loud, and I started crying. So yeah….
In 2016 at the Literary Awards put on by St. Norbert, I actually received an honorable mention and a pen for “Under the Dark.” As a freshman, I was shocked and excited to receive the recognition. Some people may scoff at “just” an honorable mention, but it meant a lot to me. It was the first time my work had ever been acknowledged in such a way. Because of this, it felt like, “cool—I’m on the right path.”
I have slowly begun submitting my stories for more people to read than my friends and family. At first, it was a nerve wracking experience, but I am quickly finding it isn’t that bad. Rejections happen, but they make the acceptances even better.
One place I have submitted to is my school’s student creative journal called Graphos.
Before I even started at St. Norbert, I knew I would join Graphos. On my tour of St. Norbert, back when I had no idea where I would be going to college, the admissions office had copies of Graphos sitting on their desks. I snagged three copies of past editions and perused through them. It was love at first sight.
I’ve been part of Graphos all semesters I’ve been at St. Norbs. I’ve been a submitter, helped out with layout, and proofread. This school year (2017 to 2018), I was one of two head editors of the creative journal. It’s been a great learning experience, and I absolutely love it.
I submit at least one short story to Graphos every semester.
- Fall 2015–
- “Take a Whack”
- Fall 2015–
- Spring 2016–
- “Under the Dark”
- Spring 2016–
- Fall 2016–
- “Change for Superman”
- “Discovered Changeling”
- Fall 2016–
- Spring 2017–
- “To End the Banter”
- “Weaving the Truth”
- “Pursuing Image”– this is actually a poem
- Fall 2017–
- “Revisiting Partners”
- “Customer Service Required”
- Spring 2018–
- “Numb Forest”
- “Resisting the Fade”
I also have submitted my short stories to the 2017 and 2018 Sigma Tau Delta Conventions. In case you don’t recognize the name, Sigma Tau Delta is the International English Honor Society, not some random fraternity. It’s a great experience to be accepted and be able to present at the conventions.
At the 2017 Sigma Tau Delta Convention, I received an honorable mention for my piece “Seeing Through Touch,” which was a surprise and honor. With it being my first time at a convention and there being so many awesome works, I had no chance of being bestowed anything. When my name was called at the awards ceremony, I sat in my chair for a solid minute in shock. My peers were like, “Tasha, that’s you!” It was great.
This coming March, I went to the 2018 Sigma Tau Delta Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio to present another short story called “Paper Warnings.” It was a blast and a great bonding experience with the other English majors that went. I wrote about our adventures in Cinci on my blog if you are interested in a more in depth gushing about the trip. I love being an English nerd.
I also was included in the Wisconsin’s Emerging Writers: An Anthology of Fiction published by Z Publishing in August 2018. Inside, I have a short story called “Seeing Through Touch” which was the award winning short story from my 2017 Sigma Tau Delta convention. It was an honor to be included in this work. If you are interested in a physical copy of that, you can go to their website and purchase a copy to see the other great new writers of Wisconsin.
My writing is still growing and developing, but I am excited for the future stories I will construct and the new experiences that come with it.
For examples of my writing, I have three short stories on my portfolio site you can read: “Seeing Through Touch,” “Searching for Starlight,” and “A Dance with Death.” Feel free to peruse the essays I have on that site as well.