Category Archives: Uncategorized

“Skin” in The Roadrunner Review

It’s been too long since I’ve posted, but it’s also been thesis season, and so I can’t apologize.

I’m excited, though, to have recently been selected for The Roadrunner Review’s Nonfiction Prize! This is the journal’s inaugural issue, and I’m so pleased with how this flash nonfiction looks on their website.

Read the rest of “Skin” here.

It’s a short piece, so visit INTERVIEW WITH HANNAH FORD if you’d like to read more about it/me/mostly me.

a few thesis notes

pexels-photo-414691.jpegA confession: This blog post is a stall tactic, written during my thesis hours at a small table in the corner of a coffee shop. A friend, also a writer yet a far more disciplined one, just sent me his notes on a piece I’d convinced myself was finished. I read through his critique, thought dammit, he’s right, and hopped onto WordPress to explore potential design changes (see: the new banner photo, just added).

I also noticed that I’ve gained a few followers in the past week–not a clue as to why–and so I felt I owed those new friends a hello.

My plan: To finish this post and to get back to editing a story I’m both proud of and tired of looking at. Sometimes the thrill of accomplishing a small goal gives me the momentum to roll into a larger task.

So, some notes on thesis hours: I’m not sure there’s a right or wrong way to do it, but I’ve found a few things to be necessary for me. Here they are.

  1. Leave home. My apartment is always moderately clean, yet when I’m mulling over the phrasing of a sentence for what feels like eons, I suddenly notice the shoes that escaped the shoe basket,  the half-load of laundry that could be done, the bag of frozen peanut butter cups that I need to eat. Get away so that you don’t have a choice but to sit on your computer.
  2. Have a plan. I usually sit down with a goal in mind: edit this story from last spring’s workshop; get a few pages of that new second-person narrative drafted out. Today, I didn’t have a plan. See: this blog’s opening sentence.
  3. Make your plan attainable. By the end of these three years, I’ll have a 60,000-word thesis (Lord willing). If I sat down thinking about that, though, not a thing would get done. I’d stare at my notebook and wonder who I should ask to be on my thesis committee, what I should wear to my defense, how heavy the manuscript will be when printed.
  4. Find a way to hold yourself accountable. For some, this means writing out a strict schedule and sticking to it. For me, this means sending my story to trusted readers, as well as meeting every few weeks with my adviser. I’m extrinsically-motivated, and that’s important to recognize.
  5. Allow yourself to go off-track. I just finished a story that might be one of my strongest pieces, and it has nothing to do with the linked set I’d planned for my thesis. The great thing about choosing a linked short story set as my thesis is that I’m able to go off-track–after all, any story I write will be linked by author, if nothing else. Still, even if I were working on a novel, I think an occasional tangential trip would keep the juices flowing.
  6. Get the heck off social media. I’ve avoided Facebook the past few months with this in mind; I found that mindlessly scrolling fogged my brain to a crippling degree. How is creativity possible when the news feed assuages me with advertisements, stories, videos that have been specifically chosen based upon my interests?
  7. Do it. On that note, I’m off.

 

an interview with saw palm journal

AWP is fast approaching; it occurred to me today that I might meet a few editors who have chosen to publish my work. As a Co-Editor for Yemassee, this is exciting on various levels. While going through old publications, though, I realized I’ve not yet posted the following interview with saw palm. Without further introduction, then, here it is (or, rather, was).

 

Short Fiction: Pickup

foothills

It’s been half a year since I’ve written here; the demands of graduate school, teaching, and wedding planning will do that. Over the summer, though, a short fiction piece of mine was published. My now-fiance and I hiked the Foothills Trail in January (2017), and while I drafted a post about the hike, I did not finish it. My apologies; perhaps I’ll unearth it one day and post it retroactively.

This flash fiction piece, accepted by Jonah Magazine, was loosely based on our trail shuttle driver. But no, we did not get engaged on the trail, thanks for asking.

Pickup

He’s been driving trail shuttle for nine years, ever since his wife took her kitchen appliances and smoking habit and left. Their dog had howled after her for a week or so, then he’d forgotten about her, curling up on her rocking chair like it’d always been vacant.

His sons check in once in a while, but it’s mostly just him and the dog now. It’s not a bad life, maintaining the trail during the day, picking up hikers when need be, getting home in time to watch the sun set over Lake Jocassee.

The couple called three days ago, having found his number on the Trail Angels website. The boy asked about getting picked up at the end of the hike. I mapped it out, the boy said, and we should get to the end seven days after starting. But Trip has been around the Foothills for a while and so he says no to that plan, because nobody finishes when they think they will, and many don’t even finish.

He picks the couple up at the trail’s end, where they’re standing next to their car and holding paper coffee cups, the girl leaning her head against the boy’s arm. The boy is skinny with a wide frame that he’ll eventually grow into. The girl is small, barely to his shoulder, her hair brushed neatly into a ponytail and her hiking boots stiff and new. She’s wearing makeup. Just looking at her, Trip knows she won’t make it.

Continue reading here.

Interview with The 3288 Review

I was interviewed. Couldn’t figure out how to post a live webpage, so click here to check it out.

3288 has published three of my pieces–one nonfiction, two fiction. They recently accepted another fiction piece, which will be coming in February (Issue 2.3).

[The 3288 Review is a project of Caffeinated Press. They are a quarterly literary journal focused on discovering and showcasing artistic talent from West Michigan and beyond.]

 

 

One Year Ago: “All the Difference”

Almost exactly one year ago, I wrote an essay for the Vienna Scholars Writing Competition. I’d just returned from a month studying in Vienna, Austria; my world had been expanded, and I had, I thought, the perspective of a world-traveler.

In the year that has passed, that excitement has been diluted. I’ve traveled more and experienced more and been molded into a different person, yet I’d still hold to much of this essay.

“All the Difference” — First Place Winner of Vienna Scholars Writing Competition

h alpsI’m sometimes troubled by how quickly we adjust. How quickly we forget, move on, proceed. We take a class about economic injustice, we cry over the statistics and the living conditions of millions of innocent victims of the system, we say I’m going to make a difference, and then we get our final grade in the course, register for another semester, and are soon too consumed by our new class load to think about third-world poverty. We read an essay that inspires and enlivens us, we declare to ourselves This is it! This will direct my life!, but then we lose the essay in stacks of papers. We see children living in Mexican orphanages who have more selflessness than we have ever mustered in our own privileged lives, and we say to ourselves I’m going to remember these kids and their hearts; I’m going to share and grant grace as they do, but within a week of being back in American we’re scowling at our sister for borrowing our car without asking.

Maybe I’m saying “we” to take some of the focus off of my own irresolution. Me. I do, have done, these things, and have committed countless similar acts of regression.

It’s been two months since I’ve returned from Vienna, and already I feel cavernously distant from the photos that I took, photos now archived at the bottom of my social media page. I look at my travel journals, at the slanted handwriting that indicates that I wrote quickly, invigorated by lessons I was being taught by inspiring individuals, and I realize how little I have done with their imparted wisdom.

Some has impacted me, surely; I have taken risks in love since returning, roused as I was by the advice of two vivacious women who followed their hearts across oceans and encouraged us, too, to follow our own. I’ve been further solidified in my higher education aspirations, encouraged by a speaker who told us to think of what we’d do if we never had to work a day in our lives and to turn that into work.

Yet I’ve also forgotten so much; I’ve also slipped so seamlessly back into my life here, with my family and my bookstore job and my friends and my young-adult baby-step attempts at planning for my future.

I’ve always prided myself on my ability to change, to adapt. I didn’t struggle with homesickness when I went off to college; when friendships fade because of distance or differing personalities, I’ve accepted easily that relationships have seasons. The change of seasons always excites me – the colors of leaves, crisp snowflakes, tender flower buds. New is exhilarating.

But I sometimes fear that I move on too quickly. That I lack sentimentality, that I do not make enough of an effort to maintain relationships when distance or circumstance presents difficulty. I fear that this could result in my forgetting things, like lessons learned, that could–should–affect me forever.

When I close my eyes and breathe, I can picture the peace I felt atop the Alps, looking over the European countryside and thinking over my life, filled with gratitude, overwhelmingly thankful for my blessings and similarly overwhelmed at how insignificant any past trials now appeared at so great a distance.

I wish that this feeling were permanent, that it could imprint on my soul. But our lives, moods, interests, urges, desires–they are fluid, ever-changing.

I know this of myself. It’s why I collect–words, moments, journal entries, photos, anything to remind myself of experiences, people, wisdom that I don’t want to forget. Just as, for classes, I study subject material, I try to record and study significant moments and realizations of my life. I frame quotes, mount photos, write and write and write, attempting to archive what deserves to be recollected. I hope for impacts to last. I’m disappointed in myself when I look back and realize that they haven’t. But each time someone crosses my path who should change my life, each time I’m reminded that the human condition is my passion and I’ll be fulfilled if I strive to uncover or adequately portray it, each time my breath is stolen by a view, a glimpse of true kindness, a crashing wave, I think, this time. I’ll remember this.

I’ll keep doing this. I’ll keep seeking to be impacted, keep exploring and wandering, keep meeting new individuals and hearing their stories, keep opening my mind to be changed for the better. It won’t all stick. But hopefully enough of it will that, when this too-short life is coming to a close, I’ll look back and say I climbed a mountain, met a person, went to a place, and it changed me, and I’m better for it. I chose a path, and that has made all the difference.

Introducing: Ford, Hannah

Welcome, welcome, welcome, to my official website! I’ve edited and designed countless blogs and domains in the past few years, but this is the first that is a) entirely mine and not corporately affiliated and b) not a _____.wordpress.com free site.

It’s about time I got official; now that I am resolute in my decision to pursue writing, I’ll need a personalized, professional, digital portfolio. It’s the 21st century, after all. Gotta get with the times.

This blog will, however, remain informal — per my usual blog tone. (In the Writing tab, I’ve provided links to former blogs or websites that I have written for or contributed to.)

Basic “about” information will be available on the About page. For now, I’ll just offer the short current events:

Since January, I’ve been working at an environmental education camp on the South Carolina. I’ve loved every minute of it, even the exhausting minutes, and I’m loathe to see this season end.

If you’d like a summary of my time at Saint Christopher, check out the most recent posts on my shared-with-boyfriend blog: “March updates,” “learning,” and “settling in.”

I have officially committed to the University of South Carolina’s graduate school. Come September, I will be pursuing my Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, Fiction.

This summer will take me back to Michigan, where I’ll be fitting in as much time as possible with family and friends. I’m also participating in a few weddings and attending quite a few others, so I’ll be busy with the marriage season.

That’s all for now; stay tuned as I live, write, explore, taste, and revel.

Cheers!