Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Student Spotlight: Garrison Stima, Creative Writing Major

Q. You're a Creative Writing major. What drew you to the subject?

A. Creative Writing, as a major, stimulates my imagination immensely and draws me into a realm that can be whatever I want it to be. In my eyes, that is an amazing ability and allows me to express my own thoughts, ideas, and questions in a way that readers can respond to and talk about in whatever way they desire. On a more personal level, I feel called to use the gifts I've received to make the world a better place in a way that is unique to me and my experiences. If I learn over the years that even a single person has been moved or affected in a positive manner by something I've written, then I will feel that I succeeded with that piece. 

Q. What have been some of your favorite classes in the major so far and why?

A. Both of my favorite classes in this major, so far, have been taught by Joe Mackall and they have been wonderful. The first is Problems in Creative Writing, which was great for examining various aspects of writing and talking about future things, such as publishing and publishers. My other favorite class was Writer's Workshop: Fiction and Nonfiction. This class helped me explore my strengths and weaknesses in a healthy manner that was extremely constructive on multiple levels and helped me learn how to become a much better writer and critic. 

Q. What else do you do on campus and in your spare time? 

A. When I'm not studying or working on my stories, regardless of whether I'm on campus or not, I can be found hanging out with my friends, playing video games, watching various movies, or reading books. While on campus, I usually end up swimming at the Rec Center, spending Thursday evenings at The Well, and keeping up on my classes as much as possible, as I can sometimes be a fabulous procrastinator. 

Q. How did you spend your summer?  

A. My 2015 summer was mainly spent working here in Ashland at a box-making factory called PCA to have money for college. That grindstone ate up most of my summer, working regular 10-12 hour days for usually six days a week. However, when I wasn't stacking up corrugated cardboard, I'd usually be jotting down as many ideas and lines, that could later be infused into my books, as I could manage before crashing into bed. Other times, I'd be going to the Mansfield Renaissance to visit members of the theater, see friends perform, or bounce concepts and ideas off of the ones who were willing to listen to my spiels. 

Q. Can you recommend some books, whether they're old favorites or recent discoveries?  

A. I most certainly can. Firstly, is The Belgariad by David Eddings, which is a series of five phenomenal books that any lover of fantasy adventures simply has to read. The characters are rich with complexity and change, the world is fascinating to explore, and the story is about as compelling as they come. Anyone can read them, but I'd recommend it to older teens and adults. Another two series worth checking out is much more popular, but still a favorite of mine, called, The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare. They are meant for teens, but I found them both extremely intense, funny, and character-driven, especially The Infernal Devices. However, if you end up grabbing them, you need to watch which order you read them in—that's the only slightly confusing part.