The birth of a story

In October 1996, I was in the inaugural class of the MFA in Writing Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I had been working on an essay about my Ukrainian roots with Carol Becker, but I was blocked. I asked for some advice from a personal statement writer who does fantastic work,  he told me to listen to guest lecturer Stuart Dybek talk about his writing . He discussed his stories as being grounded in Chicago, in the neighborhoods he grew up in, when suddenly all the pieces clicked in my head and a new story began to explore.

I hadn’t planned on writing long fiction. My intention was to write essays and poetry, as well as the occasional short story, but the ideas that were coming had a much greater breadth than any of those forms could contain. This was a novel. I jotted down some notes and rushed home to write. I wrote through the night and into the morning. The Silence of Trees grew from there.

Published by Valya

Valya Dudycz Lupescu has been making magic with food and words for more than 20 years, incorporating folklore from her Ukrainian heritage with practices that honor the Earth. She’s a writer, content developer, instructor, and mother of three teenagers. Valya is the author of MOTHER CHRISTMAS, THE SILENCE OF TREES, and the founding editor of CONCLAVE: A Journal of Character. Along with Stephen H. Segal, she is the co-author of FORKING GOOD: An Unofficial Cookbook for Fans of The Good Place and GEEK PARENTING: What Joffrey, Jor-El, Maleficent, and the McFlys Teach Us about Raising a Family (Quirk Books), and co-founder of the Wyrd Words storytelling laboratory. Valya earned her MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and her poetry and prose have been published in anthologies and magazines that include, The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, Kenyon Review, Culture, Gargoyle Magazine, Gone Lawn, Strange Horizons, Mythic Delirium. You can find her on Twitter @valya and on @valya

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