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Sunday, November 10, 2019

 

Michelle Dwyer, 2nd Place Winner in Creative Nonfiction, Wears Many Hats Well

Second place winner Michelle Dwyer wrote an amazingly smart essay for our Quarter 4 Creative Nonfiction Essay Contest! If you haven't read, "The E is Silent," then hurry over and do so now. Brilliant ending!

Michelle lives in Cedar Park, Texas, not too far from her eldest son, whom she affectionately refers to as her Aggie graduate. Her youngest son lives at home and is completing his first year of college. She is a single parent, and has often lost her mind. She says her daily life of chaos brings out her best writing.

By day, Michelle works for Sun City’s fitness department in Georgetown, Texas, as a certified personal trainer and Parkinson’s group fitness instructor. By night, and by the crack of dawn, she writes after the world has gone to sleep and right before it awakens. She received her MBA from Texas A&M University Central Texas/Tarleton State University, and her MFA in creative writing from National University in La Jolla, California.

Michelle has been writing for twenty years, published a compilation of short stories, and is currently working on the prequel to her breakout novel, Intimate Nightmares. She writes fiction under the pen name Krymzen Hall.

Visit her at krymzenhall.com.

WOW: Congratulations, Michelle, on winning 2nd place in our creative nonfiction essay contest with your essay, "The E is Slient." I'm not giving away why the title is that--our readers will need to go check out your amazing essay and the incredible last line. Holy cow, that's one of those lines you read and think: I wish I would have thought of that. Did that just come to you? Or did you have to work for it?

Michelle: I literally changed the title at the last minute! During the time I was writing the essay, the title was different. I don't even remember what it was now, but I do know it was lame. I had read the essay one last time, and the new title just popped in my head. It fit, so I went with it.

WOW: It is a good one! I love when writing genius happens like that. Why did you choose to write in the 2nd person, you? We read a lot of essays like that now, and I think our readers would be interested to know if you started it like this or did your essay evolve into what it is now?

Michelle: The essay started out in second person, and I never thought of it any other way. I believe all women, or at least most, have that one moment when the world caves in over a significant other, and we need to snap out of it. I felt that writing the essay in first or third person would give the reader a nonchalant experience. Writing the word "you" instead of "we" or "I" gives a direct hit to the reader, a kind of tough love geared specifically to the person absorbing the words. I wanted to write something highly encouraging while giving somebody a kick in the ass, so she can start realizing her worth.

WOW: It really works with the themes in your essay. The other thing you did well in this essay is take an old universal theme--the pain of heartbreak (we have all been there) and turn it on its heels, giving it a positive spin and almost a self-help feel. Why did you choose to "continue" the story, and not leave us in agony?

Michelle: I'm not quite sure what you mean, but I think you are referring to the concept of stalking yourself. I had read an article where researchers had studied the brains of people who'd been ghosted or abandoned. The results indicated that our responses to this sudden act are similar to that of drug addiction withdrawal. That's why we act so crazy when somebody leaves us. I paired that with the concepts of self-care and self-love, two ideas that I feel have finally received more recognition. As women, we are usually taught to put everybody else first; and when we don't, we are selfish, which is a bunch of B.S. I am glad this notion is changing. What better way to love yourself than to love yourself through a heartbreak.

WOW: No doubt. I love that you paired heartbreak and self-care together. It's one of the only healthy ways to make it through a breakup. You are also a novelist under a pen name. Can you tell us about your novel and the prequel you're working on?

Michelle: My first novel Intimate Nightmares is about a woman who has to come to terms with some secrets that snowball and cause a lot of pain and grief for herself and the people around her. In order for her life to stop crumbling, she has to do some pretty unthinkable things to heal herself before she loses everything. The novel focuses on her marriage and the marriages of her friends. The prequel focuses on her as a young woman in college and how she met her husband. The trials and tribulations they go through during college set the backdrop for Intimate Nightmares. I write under the pen name Krymzen Hall.

WOW: That sounds intriguing! You also are a testament to how people with day jobs can still pursue their writing dreams. Tell us a little about your writing schedule, especially as a single mom. I know now your sons are older, but it wasn't always that way.

Michelle: Thank you! I write in the morning and at night. There is no magic formula. The sacrifices are steep. You just have to be stronger than the storm. Just like the saying goes: If you want it bad enough you'll find a way; if not, you'll find an excuse. That's really what it comes down to.

WOW: I love that--"You have to be stronger than the storm." Thank you, Michelle! You are very inspirational. We appreciate the time you took to answer these questions. Best of luck to you!

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2 Comments:

Blogger Sioux Roslawski said...

Margo--Thanks for posting this interview. I enjoyed it.

Michelle--Congratulations. I certainly went through some crazy phase(s) where estrogen was at the steering wheel and it was a wild ride.

The last line IS a gem.

I'm facilitating a writing retreat this next weekend. I usually give out goodie bags (brown lunch sacks full of stuff) and often will glue on different inspiring phrases to the outside of the bags. I (now) plan on including, "You have to be stronger than the storm."--Michelle Dwyer on the bags.

Good luck with your next novel, and congrats again.

10:51 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Thank you so much for your kind words. :-)

5:41 PM  

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