Meet The Bloggers: Chris Terry
Marginalia: The Graduate Blog
Columbia College Chicago
Tell us a little bit about what you were doing before you came to Columbia.
Words are a big deal in my family. My mother was a children’s librarian who always encouraged me to read, which backfired when I would spell things out while speaking (“C-a-n w-e g-o t-o t-h-e p-o-o-l-question mark?”). Yes, it was obnoxious.
English was the easy A in high school, so that’s what I studied in college. I got a BA from Virginia Commonwealth University, then left Richmond for New York so that I could use my degree for something besides making lattes. In New York, I did Production and Editorial work for a couple of publishing houses, and also worked as a corporate Proofreader for advertisers, websites, translation firms and banks. My longest-term job was fifteen months spent editing catalogs for a makeup company. It wasn’t bad, but as a lover of creative writing, proofreading felt like looking through the window at an awesome party. I’d been doing some music writing and publishing zines, and started taking continuing education writing workshops at night to get a portfolio together so I could apply to grad school and follow my dream of becoming a published author. I also hoped for more career options than just makeup catalogs and am now feeling good about my future.
Why did you choose Columbia for your graduate study?
In The Creative Writing MFA Handbook, Tom Kealey says that location should be your first concern when looking into schools. I agree. I liked the idea of moving somewhere with the specific intention of going to school. In a new city, I would be free of distractions, and be able to focus on writing. I’m originally from Boston, and like big, cold cities. There is no doubt that Chicago is a big cold city, and my girlfriend agreed to move here with me if I got into school…
…Columbia College’s site emphasizes diversity, which is important for me, a half black/half white guy. I also got the feeling that Columbia is a very down to earth place. That appealed to me, because I come from a humbler background than your average art student, and was intimidated by the idea of being in workshops with a bunch of snobs. My gut told me that wouldn’t be the case at Columbia. I’m usually a logical dude, so on the rare occasion that my gut tells me something, I listen.
Finally, I liked that Columbia College’s Fiction Writing program encourages writers to draw from their own experiences for stories. I tend to write realistic, autobiographical material, so I hoped that my writing would be a good fit…
Read the entire article here.