"At The Willows, I learned to… question everything."

Grace Fetterman ’08 graduated this spring from Reed College, where she majored in English and completed her senior thesis on the work of Irish playwright Martin Mcdonagh. She is pursuing a writing career with a focus on humor and creative nonfiction.  Grace recently won first prize in the Big Brick Review’s 2015 Essay Contest, with a piece called “The Turn of the Century,” based on an experience she had as a student at The Willows. To read Grace’s essay visit:
contesthttp://www.bigbrickreview.com/essays/fetterman_turn.html
Grace is headed to Dublin, Ireland, this summer, where she will participate in the University of Iowa Irish Writing Program.

When did you start at The Willows?
I first came to The Willows in 1999, and graduated nine years later. I could have stayed another 99.

When did you first become interested in creative writing?
I started writing things down when I was five. I remember composing bug verse in first grade for Poetry Night and loving the process. Now I primarily write about vertebrates.
 
Is there a Willows teacher that inspired you to pursue creative writing?
The teachers I had in middle school, especially Steve Futterman, Kyle Christopher Smith-Laird, Lil Mingail, Brian Tousey, Doug Klier, and Bobby Hamm were all incredibly supportive of my writing.

Did your experience at The Willows prepare you for high school or college?
Absolutely.

What is your major at Reed? Favorite class?
I major in English Literature. My favorite class was called “A History of Rhetoric and Literary Theory,” where we looked at the development of persuasion, rhetorical systems, and lingual tropes, beginning with Aristotle and concluding with James Joyce.

What memories do you have of your days at The Willows?
Spending the night at Sea World with my second grade classmates and teachers, the non-Newtonian/Seussian fluid Ooblek, and in the eighth grade, misinterpreting the softball coach’s directive—“Get out of your box—“ as spiritual and metaphysical guidance. He really just wanted me to get off the pitcher’s box.

What book are you currently reading?
I am currently reading “Theatre and Globalization: Irish Drama in the Celtic Tiger Era” for my undergraduate thesis on the playwright Martin McDonagh.

What is your favorite book? And why?
The Velveteen Rabbit, because it is the best book in the world, and you can’t read it without crying.

What are your hobbies, interests etc.?
I enjoy hiking, gardening, the occasional dinner party, and exploring the trivia night scene in Portland.

Name your 3 favorite movies or television shows?
My top three favorite films are Waiting For Guffman, Ordinary People, and American Beauty.
 
Any special travel, internships or experiences you would like to share?
A year and a half ago, I interned at the Ojai Playwrights Festival, where I learned about new play development and worked with talented and generous dramatic writers.

Any plans after graduation?
I hope to do something with the written word after I graduate. I have applied for a few creative writing grants, and am working towards a MFA program in Ireland.

What advice would you give to this year’s graduates?
Practice ergonomics now, read, read, read, breathe, and when there is an opportunity to nap, seize it.

 
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