Late in the winter of my senior year of college, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do next. I was about to finish a history degree and knew I didn’t want to do what you are supposed to do with a history degree. I had a sort of inkling I maybe wanted to write things, or find some job that allowed me to read books for a living, but I wasn’t enjoying most of the adult books I was reading. I had had a similar experience when I was in high school—as soon as I hit an age where I felt I was supposed to start reading grown up books, I stopped reading. So I decided to check out the young adult section of my library to see what they had to offer. And I read enough really awesome young adult books to realize that the problem wasn’t that I didn’t like reading, the problem was that I wasn’t reading things I liked.
And that’s when I applied for my MFA in children’s literature.
One of the books that I picked up in the YA section was Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. This book was so lovely. It helped me realize what is important to me in a book—beautiful writing, vivid setting, and an atmospheric and imaginative world. This was the last book I read before I sent in my application to Simmons.
A year ago last November, I was sitting on a mattress on the floor under bare light bulb in my very first grown up apartment in Boston. I was feeling a little overwhelmed, both by the adultness of it and by the fact that I had no furniture or things to call my own. Just a suitcase of clothes, a box of books, and a city full of strangers. So I picked up Days of Blood and Starlight, the second book in Laini Taylor’s series that had just been released, and lost myself in the story. Because books are safer than people.
Last week, the third book in the series, Dreams of Gods and Monsters, came out. Through some strange voodoo magic, the third book in this series that was such a big part of me being where I am right now ended up coming out just a few weeks before I finished the MFA it inspired me to pursue. And by some stranger bout of luck, Laini did an event last week in Brookline, where I live in that once-bare apartment, and I got to meet her and tell her thank you, because she was a large part of me being where I am, and I love being here.
If you’ve hung around here at all, you know that I like things to be symmetrical. I like signs and symbols and when things come full circle, it feels like confirmation that I’m doing something right. The weird symmetry of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series with my MFA life felt like a confirmation, a nice feeling to carry with me as I head out into the real world with my degree.
Maybe I read too far into things. But that’s what grad school taught me how to do.