Abigail Swanson is a graduate student at Chadron State College and a member of the Sigma Tau Delta International Honors Society. She is an editor for Tenth Street Miscellany and has published work in Sage Cigarettes Magazine and Poetic Sun International Poetry Journal. Abigail also loves cheesecake and climbing trees. You can read her story ‘How Much They Miss By Leaving’ in Issue 4 ‘Transitions’ which you can pick up here.
‘Transitions’ is such an evocative theme, what compelled you to submit for this issue?
The journey between places or times of life is formative and I love to see how change impacts people as they move into an unknown. As a college (and now graduate) student I am in a transitional period myself. I am no longer a child, but I am still learning what it means to be an adult and finding how I can contribute best to the community and society I live in.
Do you have a routine for writing? If so, what is it and how has it evolved?
I aspire to have a writing routine. I wish I could say I got up and wrote every morning at 5:30 am. I tend to write sporadically within the week as I feel a story or poem or observation weighing on my mind. I savor the moments of waiting for people who arrive late to meetings or the afternoons of canceled class that make way for writing.
But, when I do steal away that writing time, I make a hot beverage (if possible), gather an idea of what I want to say, and focus on putting that idea down in any words that come to mind. In the revision process I’ve found it more and more helpful to get a second opinion. I take time to digest what my classmate, professor, friend, or roommate say and step back from the piece for a while. It tends to a love, hate, love, hate, like relationship with a new piece.
Do you find that CNF comes easy to you as a writer and/or what is challenging about it?
I love the way CNF adds levels of meaning to life events. Sometimes I can easily see connections and sometimes they come through the writing process. For me, the most difficult part of CNF is seeing my life stories a worth taking the time to write. I have not had a dramatic life, so it’s easy to devalue my experiences. How could anyone else be interested to read about me climbing a hill for a week? And yet, even the smallest events (in my life, in your life) can reflect profound truths.
4. What is song is on repeat for you right now?
“The Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel