CW Major Lily Goneau Discusses Kathryn Kulpa’s Visit

What was one thing that surprised you about Kathryn Kulpa’s visit?
One of the things that really surprised me about Kathryn Kulpa’s visit was how the class got a “behind the scenes” look at the revision process for one of her flash fiction stories that had won a magazine contest. It was really interesting to see the ways in which a story, that was not that long to begin with, could be condensed down to just 53 words. She had given the class a handout with the revisions she had made along the way—showing us what went behind making the final product and how it was strengthened by cutting out parts and emphasizing certain details to make the meanings more pronounced. It was overall both a refreshing and enlightening experience to see how another author revised. At the very least, it showed me that all good writing does not start out perfect, and that it is really what you gradually make of it that counts in the end.

Was there an exercise that she directed you to do that gave you new insight about your writing?
An exercise that Kathryn directed us to do after the first class was to write a flash fiction piece on a disease, weather phenomenon, and a comfort food from a list that we had brainstormed together previously. When I first looked at it, I thought it would be simple, but as I continued to think about what I would write I found that the prompt had me momentarily stumped. I had never considered writing about disease before—much less the ones that we had listed—and food was just as foreign of a topic to me. In a way, the prompt had me thinking on the spot while forcing me to leave my usual realm of thought. I must say, it was quite insightful. Through the process of coming up with an idea and connecting the three concepts, I learned how to better adapt my writing and also how to develop new ideas by thinking with an open mind.

What else did you enjoy about Kulpa’s visit?
First of all, I really appreciated the amazing resources Kulpa had given the class during the workshop. Not only did she point us in the direction of magazines and places to send our work, but she provided us with a way to contact her if we had any further questions. The gesture was very nice and the resources will surely be helpful to any of us who want to take the next step with our writing. Secondly, the new types of exercises she introduced to class were great ways to overcome writer’s block and begin writing. They got my mind thinking creatively and served as good lessons in how to possibly approach writing in the future.