AMBER EDWARDS '18
Senior recognized twice from literary journal for short stories
A college education includes a lot of academic writing—research papers, essays and reports so when Amber Edwards, a senior from Covington, Ohio, had the chance to take a creative writing class, she immediately signed up. Now, two pieces from the class are being read across the country because they were published by “Revolving Door Journal,” a literary journal specifically for college writers.
“I hadn’t done creative writing in a long time because I’ve been focusing on essays. I was nervous at first but creative writing kind of came back to me. I learned who I am as a creative writer during this process and it was really cool,” said Edwards.
At the urging of Dr. Cindy Bandish, associate professor of English, Edwards submitted two of her short stories from a fiction writing class taught by Jamie Lyn Smith, assistant professor of English.
“I revised them a gazillion times and I thought I might as well try and see if I can get it somewhere,” said Edwards. “I submitted both of them on a whim and I was really surprised and excited when they both got published.”
Edwards said it took two months and many revisions to both stories before she was ready to submit them and to fill out the application. When she sent them, the journal said they would get back to her, but as time passed Edwards began to doubt her chances of being published.
“It was kind of a waiting game. But then I got an email saying that the journal was ready for print and my stories were in it. I was excited to see the email, I wasn’t expecting to be published at all, let alone having both of my stories published.”
The two pieces are titled “Hidden Curriculum” and “Degenerate.” Edwards says Smith helped her reach her goal in many ways.
“Jamie Lyn inspires me; my first writing class at Bluffton was with her. She had a lot of helpful tips and she was always available to give feedback and her feedback was great,” said Edwards. “She didn’t sugarcoat anything and told it as it was and that’s what I needed. So she definitely helped a lot. I would say she was the main agent in my writing.”
Smith and her classes hold a lot of inspiration for Edwards, but she admits that her mom is also a major inspiration to her and her writing.
“She and I have always shared a love of literature and she plays a big role in my decision to write.”
While this is Edwards’ first time being published, she is no stranger to literary journals. Edwards along with Smith and several other students from the English department developed “Bridge: The Bluffton University Literary Journal” during the 2016-17 academic year. Edwards, along with the other students, served as editorial associates.
“Working with “Bridge” has opened a new realm of possibilities for me. Prior to last semester, I knew nothing about the business side of literature. Through my experiences with Bridge led by Jamie Lyn Smith, I now have a whole new set of skills to pursue multiple careers in the literature field. I look forward to working more with “Bridge” and helping it gain a broad national presence and learning more about myself as a professional in the literature field.”
Edwards’ love of writing began in high school and she wants to share her passion for the written word as an education major with a focus on English.
“I definitely want to integrate a lot creative writing into my teaching,” said Edwards. “I want them to be able to explore their creative side and to get inspired.”
Until she has a classroom of her own, Edwards has some advice for writers seeking inspiration.
“Just look around, you’ll find a story out there. Something will come to you and will inspire you and that’s where ideas happen. It comes from the experiences from your own life and the things around you; you just have to pay attention.”
-Jena O’Brien, public relations student assistant