Writer Mama Visits Her Kind of Town (Chicago) for Creative Nonfiction Week

I spent the lion’s share of my twenties in Chicago. I’d just gotten my B.A. from Dartmouth College in English and spent the summer as a T.A. at Phillips Andover’s Summer School.

I was preppy. I was incredibly naive. I was scared. And when I landed in Chicago, after driving all night to get there from Mass. in my boyfriend’s old Buick with “My Kind of Town” by Frank Sinatra booming through the speakers and the Sears Tower lit and looming through the windshield, I was a quite a lot like Dorothy, only I woke up in Chicago instead of Oz.

Over the next nine years, I sometimes followed (and sometimes didn’t follow) the yellow brick road wherever it took me.

And then one not very happy day (if I am remembering correctly, not much else was going very well), I said, “Screw it. I’m writing.” And I got myself an application to Columbia College Chicago’s Fiction Writing Program. Graduate school was a place where houses didn’t fall from the sky. There were no wicked witches there. Just a lot of other aspiring writers just like me, who wanted to write and after that pretty much didn’t have clue.

I met my friend Kristin Bair O’Keeffe there and we became fast friends. United by our literary desire and our belief that were hot stuff (I’m not sure if we were or we weren’t, but we sure thought we were) we wrote a lot of pages and started a graduate student reading series called “Readings in the Raw.”

Chicago was the place where I dared to make a commitment to writing. It was a commitment that I paid thousands of dollars for. And it was totally worth it. I highly recommend graduate school in writing to anyone in their twenties who wants to write. The hard work that I did at Columbia, writing thousands and thousand of pages over the course of three years, didn’t get me published outside those at the school, but it gave me an important foundation as a writer that I have drawn on over the years and continue to draw on as my writing career grows.

I’m going back to read as part of an event for Creative Nonfiction Week, which is a joint effort between the Fiction Department, the Journalism Department, and the English Department. If you are going to be around, please come by and say hello. You can learn more about Creative Nonfiction Week here.

Now if I can just get the sound of Frank Sinatra out of my head, I’ll get back to work. 😉


2 Responses to “Writer Mama Visits Her Kind of Town (Chicago) for Creative Nonfiction Week”

  1. 1 Merry October 11, 2007 at 3:27 pm

    Thank you so much for dropping by my blog to let me know you’ll be in town!!! I went to Columbia, fiction writing major when I finally decided – pipe dream or not, I’d rather be writing. I can’t say enough about the classes I took there – what more can a budding writer ask for than an instructor who actually makes a living writing?

    If I can finagle a sitter, I will definitely be there! Thanks again for letting me know!

  2. 2 sagecohen October 14, 2007 at 6:49 pm

    I love hearing about your personal “no place like Chicago” story, and experiencing a part of your yellow-brick-road past!

Comments are currently closed.

Christina Katz's Facebook profile

Whatcha lookin’ for?

October 2007
« Sep   Nov »

My Latest Flickr Photos

Top Clicks

  • None

Top Posts

Blog Stats

  • 187,322 Visitors

%d bloggers like this: