Current Creative Writing Minors

Autumn Davis

Major: African American Studies
Minor: Creative Writing
Year: Junior (’24)

Tell us about yourself!
Autumn is a rising junior in the College (Class of 2024) currently majoring in African American Studies and minoring in Creative Writing. In the future, she hopes to fulfill her love for writing as a professor teaching others about the many historical and contemporary aspects of Black life through writing and literature. For leisure, Autumn enjoys writing, playing volleyball, and watching horror movies.


I refuse to bring you into a world like this.

A world advertised with everlasting virtue and transient hostility.

I refuse to bring you into a world like this because if I do,

you will experience a world of everlasting hostility and transient virtue.

I will not have kids because my kids will not be kids;

characterized with unconditional strength and perseverance

when all you should know is tenderness and fallibility.

I will not have kids because I’m not allowed to.

I cannot care for you if I’m failing to care for myself.

A treacherous suicide turned a treacherous homicide.

I cannot care for you because the world does not care for me.

So strong is the Black of my skin that it blackens the world around me.

I must not have you in my life because I will love you too much.

But love for you and the generational hatred in myself is not enough;

not enough in a world designed to kill you.

I must not have you because instead of growing like a tree, you will be hanging from one.

I will not birth kids because if I do,

you won’t belong to me or I to you.

Elise Harwell

Major: Science, Technology, & International Affairs
Minor: Creative Writing
Year: Junior (’23)

Tell us about yourself!
Elise Harwell is a junior in the SFS majoring in Science, Technology, and International Affairs. Her favorite poetic forms are the ghazal and the duplex and her favorite poetry collections are A Fortune for Your Disaster by Hanif Abdurraqib and Lessons of Expulsion by Erika L. Sanchez. Elise has been published in Pen + Brush, Screen Door Review, and is the recipient of the 2022 Iris N. Spencer Poetry Award.

Still Life

after Erika L. Sanchez

travel light              leave a coat in the

hallway           an augury calls for snow

how bleak I find the weather        every flake

the same           I bury them in the attic

this house is my body           is my temple

I store           sin in the cupboards

learn to desecrate        this holy place

the hall is empty save for the jacket

i stare at            what silence tracks in

hear me bite down            hear me break

the delicate bones     of my tongue     always

forget to make ice     and refuse to use the snow

I drink more and more      and more warm water

enough to cover the rasping           wails

plaster my throat         paint the windows shut

the door a gaping hole          neighbors

peer through     in this temple I remain

kowtowed       ask me how long

one can kneel          watch me discover

the answer        all I for pray for anymore is

to be remembered       watch the floor pattern

my knees         watch them become tile      arrange

a pretty picture           this is how i grow ancient

Lucy Cook

Major: American Studies
Minor: Creative Writing
Year: Junior (’23)

Tell us about yourself!
Lucy is a junior (’23) majoring in American Studies. She is from the DMV and likes to let everyone know. Lucy is an editor for The Georgetown Voice and when she’s not abusing this power, she is crafting her own wretched tales of mixed-up creatures, sentient trees, and angry women. She enjoys words like “widdershins” and “crepuscular.”

Toad City (An excerpt)

It began when the little boy saved the leaf creature. They say for every action there is an equal
and opposite reaction, but Newton’s Third Law of Motion conveniently failed to take into
consideration that the Tree did not care about physics. It abided by its own rules, and those rules were about to make six-year-old Eddie Camponello a very different boy.

Not for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. Camponello had forgotten Eddie in the driveway as they
carried one of their good-natured arguments about dinner plans and proper grilling methods into the
house. It was a good house—wood shingled, stilted in the classic beach house style that littered the
eastern seaboard, and separated from its neighbors by dense coastal pines. It had a nice long gravel
driveway filled with the type of stones and prickly burrs that would attract a young ecological fanatic.
Eddie crouched behind the family minivan, inspecting a curiously hollow rock, debating whether it
had the quality to be added to his already hefty bucket of sea shells, onion grass, and interesting leaves.
As he held the hole up to his eye to test its likely properties as a magical spyglass, he spotted something wriggling in his peripheral. Now faced with the thrilling prospect of adding a worm friend (or even better, a caterpillar!) to his collection, Eddie frog-hopped closer and peered through his spyglass to investigate. There, trapped under a rather large slab of sun-bleached granite, was a spindly little creature. At first, Eddie thought it was a stick bug. He was a big fan of stick bugs. But closer inspection revealed a tiny brown face, the size and color of an acorn. The creature looked to be a bundle of sticks, with paper thin, leaf-like hair. It gazed apprehensively up at Eddie as it struggled to free its trapped and broken wooden legs from the rock.
“Hey, don’t look so scared,” Eddie said, reaching a chubby little hand out to the leafling. He had the soft voice of a boy who would always offer to share his animal crackers at snack time. “I can help you out of there, no problem.”
The leafling flinched, but held still as Eddie slowly lifted the rock and dropped it heavily into
the nearby grass. “Phew, that was heavy! You alright?” He turned back just in time to see the creature
try and fail at standing on its splintered legs. With a hissing sound that almost mimicked a sigh, the
creature unfolded its leafy hair, which began to flap wearily behind it in the still air. It rose in flight like
a great flying grasshopper, bowed its head courteously to Eddie, and flitted into the wood. “Cool,”
Eddie whispered, sending up a wondrous salute to his new comrade.
“EDDIE!” The screen door on the second level was flung open and the sleek, dark head of Mrs.
Camponello popped out. “What are you still doing out there, baby? Rinse your feet off and come in!”
She called. She waited for Eddie’s thumbs up, and then ducked back in. Eddie paused for a moment
and looked back at the wood, with its thick pine and long, early evening shadows. It felt as though something was looking back, though no eyes could be seen glowing from the green darkness. Eddie
waved at the woods anyway. He trotted over to the outdoor shower, toed out of his dinosaur sandals,
and turned the spout to wash the sand off his feet. As he stomped around the drain, happily re-soaking his recently dried swimming trunks, he noticed a fat little toad peering up at him from the concrete with glassy orange eyes, its throat bulging. Eddie almost passed out from excitement. Once more, he squatted down, and blinked glassily back at the toad, his own dimpled face warping in the reflection of its eyes. Slowly, he extended a hand to the toad, who eyed him suspiciously.
“C’mon. I’m not gonna hurt ya. I think you’re really neat,” He said softly. This seemed to be
enough convincing and the toad oozed its way onto Eddie’s hand. The little boy jumped up, grinning
and raced to the screen door, throwing it open with a bang. “MOOMMM! HEY, MOM! I
CATCHED A TOAD!” He hollered.
“Fantastic, Eddie! But for the love of God, don’t bring him in here. I’ve got Mrs. Pfieffer
coming over for dinner and she’s already mighty upset,” Called Mrs. Camponello from somewhere
upstairs. “And it’s caught,” She added.
Eddie turned to the toad in his hands, “Sorry, buddy. You have to stay out—”, but before he
could finish, he noticed the other toads. They were everywhere—on the concrete floor by the outdoor
shower, perched on top of the stall walls, on the windowsill, in the gravel. They came in all colors,
varieties, and sizes, too, with tiny black-eyed gray toads the size of a paperclip, spiny toads with brown backs and ancient secrets hidden in their golden eyes, and great big tomato toads dressed in fiery oranges and reds. It was a veritable toad army. It was as if an electric shock had run down Eddie’s spine and he began jiggling and jumping around like a madman. The toad in his hands clung on for dear life.

“For heavenssake, Eddie. Wash your hands before you come inside and quit hollering about
But Eddie wasn’t listening. The toads had begun to silently funnel into a line and hop in the
same direction. It was an oddly ceremonious procession. He scuttled along with them, out of the
shower stall, past the gravel driveway, and into the wood.

Melinda Reed

Major: Justice & Peace Studies
Minor: Creative Writing & Journalism
Year: First-Year (’25)

Tell us about yourself!
Melinda Reed is a Justice and Peace Studies major in the College with an expected graduation year of 2025. Along with her creative writing studies, she is also a journalism minor.



The Ellis Bridge hangs over dead water.

It carries the only road that goes into the town of Burnam. On one side, the road, stretching out to the highway and the rest of the world; on the other side, the town. There’s not much beyond it. At least, no one really bothers to check.

There is, however, a train that runs perpendicular to the road and the bridge, alongside the long, slinking body of water they call a river. It never rushes, though, and there’s no current, so the water sits still, dead, its surface betraying no sign of the pale, bloated fish that glide underneath. Burnam’s residents like to call the river the Creek. No one is sure of its real name, and no one bothers to consult the map to find out. If you need a map to get around, you’re not a resident, and if you’re not a resident, why are you there? Go somewhere better. Burnam is a fine town, except it also happens to be terrible. It is terrible in its fineness; it has an elementary school and middle school, two grocery stores and a high school, a town hall grander than any other building in the area, and a park where everyone gathers on the Fourth of July.

Anyone who passes through the town immediately wants to leave. Upon stopping at the Burnam station, the train’s passengers feel a sudden itch all over their skin, like an allergic reaction. They shift in their seats; they avoid eye contact with each other, all common symptoms of anyone staring down the barrel of American reality. Minutes later, as the train moves on to the next town, they go back to reading their Harlequins and playing sudoku on their phones. So the passerby keep passing and the townspeople keep living there, in that little spot with only two roads leading out, a muddy ditch where, if you don’t drive right, you can get stuck with your wheels spinning. Except you wouldn’t know you’re stuck, and you wouldn’t know that there was a road behind you or more road ahead. And isn’t that something like happiness?

Chapter 1

Most stores in Burnam close by eight, but Sam works at the gas station past the Ellis Bridge and her shift ends at nine. The town is dead quiet when she drives home after work and that’s how she likes it best. It’s not trying to be anything at this hour— that’s the most painful part, she thinks, seeing it try to act like a blossoming community when it’s really just a ghost town that has living people.

But of course no one else thinks it’s sad, and the fact that she does makes her enlightened or elitist, depending on who you’re asking. No one else seems to notice that the trees are late to bloom each year, that the textbooks at the high school still separate West and East Germany, that the people who grow up there tend to stay there. Sam blames her second sight on the fact that she wasn’t born here and neither was her mother. This was just the a place her mom came across when, struggling and alone with two kids like some travel-weary Virgin Mary, she searched for a place to stay and found all the other inns full.

And yet Sam still hates leaving. Her main theory is that she’s been brainwashed, but since there’s no evidence of that yet, all she can guess is that it’s nice to have a place you know. Even if you don’t belong there, it belongs to you. If she were the kind of person to put a Journey lyric as her social media bio, this place would be what made her a small town girl living in a lonely world. But she hates that song, because she thinks it’s grating and stopped believing a long time ago.

She goes over the slight bump, a hiccup of a pothole, and now she’s on the bridge. It’s 9:27.

Sam’s stomach rumbles. The limp turkey sandwich she had back at the store hasn’t filled her up and this feels like a personal failure. She should be full; she shouldn’t want more, especially since she’s probably already hit 2,000 calories for the day. She distracts herself by creating a plan: if she can get herself home by 9:30, she can shower and be in her pajamas by 9:45, giving her the time to do some math homework and watch an episode of The Great British Bake Off before going to bed at 11. No time to find a snack in a schedule like that.

Out of habit, she glances at the clock to see that she’s got three minutes to get home and reach her goal. It would be nice to like the drive home, she thinks— nice to be the kind of person who listens to music and lets her mind wander and enjoys the scenery instead of counting down every second until she could be in bed. Thank goodness American culture romanticizes a beaten-up car and open road, otherwise she might start to think this was depressing.

Ahead of her, the headlights cast a thin glow on the pavement. When the light starts to grow brighter, she first thinks that the headlights are working again, which would be a miracle since the car had belonged to her seven-years dead grandfather. Maybe he’s throwing her a bone from heaven. But then the light continues to grow to the point where it hurts her eyes and she has to shut them. It reminds her of staring at the sun.

That’s the last thing she remembers thinking.

Cecilia Ochoa

Major: Physics & Mathematics
Minor: Creative Writing
Year: Sophomore (’24)

Tell us about yourself!
Cece is a sophomore in the College majoring in physics and math. After undergrad, she hopes to pursue a PhD in astronomy, along with writing science fiction stories. In her free time, Cece can be found going on runs, crocheting, and exploring DC. 

The Gala

There was a buzz of whispers in the air as she entered the room.
She felt herself instinctively take a step back, ready to turn around and go home despite being told to expect unexpected attention.
The stout man next to her, the inventor, grinned from ear to ear, his large mustache stretching across his face and comically large glasses slipping from his nose. For a moment she hoped that the attention was on him, but she knew this was, unfortunately, not the case.
Despite his warnings, she had hoped his project, her, would go unappreciated, unnoticed. Maybe the general populace would not be as impressed by her as he had hoped. But the inventor knew the importance of his creation.
All around the room, there were versions of herself, a bit shorter,  who stopped and stared as well.

They’re called heels, my dear, the inventor told her as she complained about the modifications.
I’ve never seen another robot wear them
For you to fully be what you were created to be, you need to merge this gap. This includes the unnecessary and impractical customs of humanoids

The other versions of herself carried platters of…
The word escaped her.
When she had gone through the intensive reprogramming the inventor had put her through in hopes to make her more humanoid and less robotic, she had lost parts of what made her similar to her look-alikes in the room. Her knowledge storage had all but disappeared. Her first public appearance would have happened much sooner and been much, much easier for her had it not been for this loss.

She was proud of herself for regaining so much of what she had lost, mathematically she was just as capable as all the rest, and had even shown signs of…there was a word for this….the inventor used it just the other day….empathy! She had begun to show signs of empathy.
As the pair descended the stairs, the inventor gripped onto her metallic arm. Glancing down she noticed now more than ever the bags under his eyes, the burnt fingertips, the picked skin around his fingers. His dream of merging, fully merging, humans with machinery depended on her, his project that had taken five years to complete. It depended on this night; humanity’s first impressions of her, a new species in the universe, would be made tonight. 

Sarah Ong

Major: Computer Science
Minor: Creative Writing & Japanese
Year: Sophomore (’24)

Tell us about yourself!
 Sarah is a sophomore in the College and a writing center tutor at the Georgetown Writing Center. She hopes to pursue a career that can merge her interest in writing and communications with the skills she’s currently developing as a Computer Science major. In her free time, Sarah can be found writing, drawing, or playing video games with friends.

Seasons Change

Winter was waiting. She had been waiting for quite some time, actually; it seemed, more often than not, that her siblings were starting to get lazy when it came to punctuality. It was amusing at first, but after, what, three extra weeks, she was starting to get tired of holding the torch. She adjusted the white cloak draped over her back and didn’t bother to protect the flame that stood on top of the torch she held. Its blue blaze still held strong despite the falling snow surrounding her. Its flame was on its last flickers, sure, but that was because Winter let it, because it was time to pass it on. But where in God’s name was her brother?

            Ah, as if on cue.

            “What took you so long?” Winter crossed her arms, torch still in hand as she glared expectantly at the boy that came into view, snow melting off his dark hair. He gave her a sheepish smile.

            “What can I say? The flowers were too comfy to sleep in,” he said, voice easy and bright. Winter narrowed her eyes.

            “You mean in flowers that should be blooming?” she said.

            “Hey, cut me some slack,” he huffed, lightly kicking at the melting snow beneath his feet. “Your flowers are blooming too.”

            “We both know your flowers are prettier than mine.”

            “Aw Winter, you flatterer,” he tittered and stepped closer. The snow stopped falling.

            Winter held out the torch. “Try not to be late next time,” she warned.

            “No promises,” her brother said. He gently took the torch. The flame burst back to life in a vivid shade of green that resembled grass the morning after a snowstorm, glimmering and full of life.

            He held the torch tenderly, almost in a nurturing way. He took a step back from Winter and smiled. “Any words you’d like me to pass on to our dear sister?” he asked. Winter grimaced.

“Tell her she better not hog the torch this time.”

            Her brother laughed. “Did our dear youngest brother complain when he passed the torch to you?”


            “Are you playing favorites now, Winter? You don’t usually comment on his behalf.”

            “I do no such thing.” Another pause. “But he would be my favorite out of you three.”

            “Rude,” her brother said without malice. Winter hummed but said nothing. She was tired, her own nap long overdue. She had seen a particularly appealing patch of untouched snow just before she came to the usual place she and her brother crossed. She thought it was about time for her to sleep, so she adjusted her white cloak again and placed the hood over her head. Her white hair easily blended in with the hood, as it did with the snow still beneath her feet.

            The boy noticed her preparations and smiled. “Alright, I won’t keep you any longer,” he hummed, a warm lilt to his tone that Winter thought was, also, long overdue. “I’ll let Summer know you were thinking of her.” Winter grimaced again underneath her hood but nodded once.

            “Good night, Spring.”

            Spring beamed. Behind him, the sun peeked above the horizon, announcing his arrival.

“Until next year, Winter.”

Ashlyn Kunerth

Major: Anthropology
Minor: Creative Writing & Spanish
Year: Junior (’23)

Tell us about yourself!
Ashlyn is a rising Junior in the College studying Anthropology with minors in Creative Writing and Spanish. Some of her favorite authors are David Sedaris, John Irving, and Roald Dahl. Ashlyn is a part of the Georgetown Sketch Comedy Society as well as the campus’ premier satire newspaper, The Heckler. She enjoys writing short fiction and creative autobiographical non-fiction, usually with comedic tones. 


The industrial-sized blender at the soup kitchen was a rumbling monster, with blades that ran up the middle quite a bit higher than the typical blender. It was like an old Roman pillar, tall enough to hold several gallons of soup, so Lydia stood on a stool to load the ingredients in, despite her notable height. The blender was slowly failing, but Lydia knew its quirks.
She knew that if you ran it for too long, the cord would spit sparks into the air like fireworks.
She knew that the fastest speed on the blender was unusable because it made the blender shake so vigorously it would tip over.
She knew that the lid had to be secured with the full weight of Lydia’s body or the room would be painted in soup, so she laid across the blender top as she operated it, like Jesus on the lap of Mary in the Pieta.
It was in the kitchen, operating the blender that she met Grant. Grant was 8 years her senior, a deafmute who had nothing to do after passing the small town’s special education diploma program. His mother volunteered his time, on his behalf, to the soup kitchen. He was diligent and repetitive by nature, so he took to dishwashing rather quickly. For many years he was more machine than man to the old church ladies that worked on food preparation and serving. He was a brick wall, nothing in, nothing out, and so he stayed until Lydia.
Grant loved to watch Lydia use the blender. The intense vibration it caused was one of the few elements of cooking that Grant could really appreciate. He loved the absolute stillness, the lightness with which she packed in the ingredients. Those skinny arms, her slim figure perched like the sweetest finch on a branch. And then the eruption. Her, flung over the blender, an intensely focused look on her face as she wrestled the beast. And the grumbling decline as the soup blended to perfection, and the blender gave up its fight. It was the greatest of adventure tales, one he could watch over and over again. Lydia was enamored by his fascination. It was so simple and undemanding. She took a great liking to Grant. She began sitting next to him on the bus home. Sometimes his great frying pan of a hand would brush her leg. Sometimes they’d both get off at a stop all their own.
Each day, Lydia trusted him more. He developed a distinct disinterest in dishwashing, preferring to help with whatever task Lydia was willing to trust him with that day. He started by handing her the ingredients as she stood on the stool. It was nothing she couldn’t do herself, but it did keep her from stooping down. Then, she allowed him to press his hand on the top of the blender to contain the spray, a much larger job. He performed with grace and strength. Lydia was impressed. But his favorite task of all time was plugging in the blender. He loved knowing that it was him who started that great rumbling. He would break into a booming, stilted kind of gulping laugh. Oftentimes he would gulp and gurgle with such intensity that he’d fall to the ground, grabbing his knees and shaking violently. He was so reliable, and it made them both so happy, that almost every day, Lydia would allow him to repeat this routine with her.
Maybe she got too comfortable? Maybe her luck just ran out? As Lydia loaded the zucchini, basil, lemon, olive oil….into the blender for Zucchini Soup Thursday, Grant plugged the blender in before she had the chance to give him the “go ahead.” He let out the smallest of choked gasps.
The blender started immediately and aggressively, as always, pulverizing her arms from the elbow down. There were defined, deep slashes that made her arms look like meat, waiting patiently on a musty counter while the butcher fetched his bone saw to finish the job. Now the sound that Grant released was a moanful, monotone wail. It came from deep within, so deep that he didn’t even have to open his mouth to make such a sound. And he bolted out of the side door for the next bus home, leaving Lydia alone.

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