Page 23 - WCM 2023 Winter Flip
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 essays. I don’t recall the topic, but I won a contest for a free 10-day trip to upstate New York to compete on the national level. It was
my first time out of New England, and we were maybe at Schooner Lake? My grandma drove
me down in her camper, and I read my essay out loud in front of a huge crowd. I didn’t win, but my passion for writing definitely blossomed from that experience.
“In high school I started writing fan fiction. By my 20s, I was publishing blogs before blogs were a thing, but I became more and more interested in women’s rights, so my focus shifted.” Her fan fiction began
to move toward essays with a political agenda. This occurred during a period in her life where she was
in flux, between the ages of 18 and 26, not knowing how to explore options and feeling stuck in a retail job at Walmart. “At 26, I applied to Central Maine Community College (CMCC) to become an English teacher and got a 4.0, which led to scholarships to the New Hampshire Institute of Art (NHIA) for a BFA in creative writing. I did my senior thesis on short fiction stories that were loosely based on historical events around the state of Maine. Place was a huge focus for me – I wanted to connect the world to the state of Maine’s history. Place forms us, and it forms characters in literature as well.”
After graduating from NHIA in 2015, she focused on an MFA at Stone Coast, a highly competitive low- residency graduate program at University of Southern Maine. She began her masters with the intention
of writing literary fiction, but soon discovered that her natural bent was writing creative nonfiction in the form of essays and op-eds with a political lens.
In addition to a series of essays on nannying, she’s written short stories, and recently her 10-minute play, Five Things To Do When You’re Running Out of Gas, was produced by Pump House, a theater in Georgia. “I also had a collection of short stories, By the River, published in 2015.”
Presently, she is an adjunct faculty member in creative and technical writing at CMCC, and remains
most interested in writing for social change. She’s particularly committed to the plight of Maine’s low- income residents, and is on the Board of Directors of Maine Women’s Lobby.
Ray-Saulis ends the interview with this: “I write because it’s the best way to find out who I am. I unearth my realities, and when I do that I have a better chance of doing the same for society. It’s also
a way to locate my truths about myself from others, and that helps me write ‘not me’ characters with more
depth. We can best find our truths in the works of people completely different from ourselves. You know, it’s about connection.”
Stowe’s Rowland Creitz
A former Marine who served active duty for three years during the Vietnam conflict, Creitz is the product of 1950s suburban New Jersey, just south of Newark, with easy access to New York City. “It was hot and sticky with blah winters in my industrial home town. We were all about conformity – the message was ‘don’t get out of your lane.’ My dad was a production analyst for the electric company, and my mom was a teacher and guidance counselor. I was the middle child of two sisters, and graduated from high school in ‘62. We were not a hotbed for cultural revolution; in fact, we were shielded from it.
“I became a bio major at Western Maryland College, and when I graduated in ‘66 and joined the Marines, I learned a valuable life lesson: It’s necessary sometimes to make major decisions on minimal information. I was part of the Marine school, and discovered I liked teaching, so in ‘69 I got a Masters of Education at Rutgers, and that life lesson was very helpful in my teaching career. My first job was in Rindge, New Hampshire, but the school wasn’t open to new ideas, and I’d become a rebel. School structure increases problems in learning – some kids fit the mold by accident, but the ones who don’t have big problems. Teachers were understanding the better methods, but supervisors were not necessarily willing to go the new route. I drifted until I found a more simpatico system in North Conway, and stayed for 30 years before landing here in Stowe.”
Creitz explains that his foray into writing began with his nonfiction book espousing new ideas in education, Time and Timing in the Classroom, published in 2007 by Infinity Publishing. He wrote this book
to inform those interested in education how crucial the structure of a school is, and how vital paying attention to the biology of a child can be. “It was my intention to keep writing in the genre of nonfiction. I chose my dad’s travels in the depression. Between 1933 and 1938, he and a few others made six trips across the country in two-week intervals. After 18 months of working on it, I quit because I thought the manuscript was boring. My uncle told me to fictionalize it and turn it into a novel, and so I did.” To Touch the Earth Again was published in 2020 by Maine Authors Publishing, a hybrid cooperative in Thomaston, Maine. Creitz’s third novel, The Money Lake, is slated for a 2022 debut. 23

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