He reached for the New Found Glory Rubik’s Cube I keep tucked in the driver side center console of my Yaris as I made a turn toward the school. I eased on and off the brake, nervous that my ability to drive somehow equated with my ability to write. I was anxiously trying to remember the carefully crafted queries I had been practicing for a few weeks as he turned and tweaked the random designs of the cube. Before I could mention my background in film and how I have always wanted to create a book-turned-film, and much before I could remember a single question regarding either, Nick Flynn offered me a pair of pieces of gum. Then he asked me about my name.
There are many more fantastic opportunities available, when a writer in residence offers a week long creative writing workshop, than the workshop. The most productive of which is the ride you selfishly offer to give the writer so that you may have 10 to 20 minutes of one-on-one mentor time. I offered three of such said rides, the first of which somehow designated me as the object of conversation.
“It’s Negean- soft “g.” I seem to always start. I became more anxious as I realized that those 20 minutes would be devoured by the incessant curiosity that propels a barrage of questions that leave me giving the same explanation so often it sounds like a rehearsed script given on a guided tour.
Conversations, no matter their recurrence, always prove to establish a connection between ideas and information. I find myself trying to shorten the explanation of my name a little more each time I tell it. I found Flynn asking me to lengthen it. For the first time I began making connections between myself and what I write.
Think of an image, any image. Write. For seven minutes do not remove your pen from the page. Slowly your mind will reveal to you, through your subconscious, exactly how brilliant you are. With another classic re-telling of my name fresh on my lobes- I wrote. And through the scratch I saw something I haven’t seen before. I saw my thesis.
Nick Flynn is an accomplished memoirist and taught Poetry as Bewilderment to a group of budding writers. With a firm process on diving into the self, Flynn’s workshop in turn kick-started the single cell of my thesis that underwent mitosis and grew exponentially in a direction of self-discovery.
Negean is finishing her final year as an MFA candidate in poetry. Her rare blend of honest humor seems to captivate people enough to ask constantly "is she serious?" or to announce an inner thought "I can't tell if she's being sarcastic." She assures you that you will never know. Negean currently teaches English Composition to college freshmen, who laugh at the same jokes she tells her elementary sized creative writing aftercare students.