I grew up in a small farming town in Ohio. No one had a lot of money, but we didn’t need a lot. If someone had shown up to school with a Gucci bag, we wouldn’t have understood that this was a status symbol and that we were meant to feel inadequate; we would have asked, “Why does your bag have Gs all over it and why are some of the Gs backwards?”
I’m a country girl; I want to tell stories about people loving one another without pretension, families finding peace in simplicity, and children creating entire worlds with their imaginations.
My junior year of high school, I was an exchange student in southern Brazil. When I arrived, I couldn’t speak the language and didn’t understand the culture. I’d never felt lonelier or more out of place in my life, and it seemed hopeless to try to fit in.
However, a year later, I didn’t want to go back home to the United States. I’d learned to speak Portuguese through immersion, and I’d created a new life for myself.
I’m a high school exchange student; I want to tell stories about loneliness, being the outsider, culture shock, adapting to new worlds, and discovering inner strength through hardship.
After graduating from college, I drove alone across the country and started stripping at Spearmint Rhino, the best “gentleman’s club” in Las Vegas. Stripping wasn’t as wacky of a decision as it may seem; it solved my problem of how to find the time and money to write and gave me a fascinating topic to research.
I’m a Las Vegas stripper; I want to tell stories about strong independent women, human sexuality, sex work, persuasion and manipulation, mental illness and abuse, income inequality, capitalism and the world’s wealthiest men. I want to tell stories about the sacrifices people make for a chance to achieve the ever-elusive American Dream - to learn if what I’ve gained can ever make up for what I sold…
I spent my first two months’ stripping money to attend a month-long yoga instructor training in Costa Rica. Becoming a yoga instructor was the best decision I’ve ever made. For over two years in Las Vegas, I taught yoga and wrote during the week. I published a comedy memoir about those years called The Yoga Stripper - it’s available on Amazon.
I’m a yoga instructor; I want to tell stories about spirituality, oneness, discipline, self-acceptance, self-knowledge and self-reverence.
Yoga has taught me that whatever stories I tell, whatever I accomplish in my short time here, whether this writing competition decides I’m special and picks me… or not… it doesn’t matter. There’s nothing outside of myself that could ever complete me; I’m already whole.