Thanks for stopping by! This Q & A was featured in Inkblot back in June 2021 when I was in the hospital giving birth to my son so I missed the release date. Inkblot is Manhattanville’s MFA program’s newsletter with a Meet the Writers Series column, featuring MFA alumni.
I’ve finally gotten a little time to post the Q & A here.
Q: What have you been doing professionally and creatively since you graduated from Manhattanville with a Masters in Fine Art in Writing in 2014?
I’ve been pretty busy since graduating Mville in 2014. I have finished a few different full-form drafts of my novel, The Pace of Nature, a coming-of-age story that tells the tale of Lilly Difeo’s horrific school-yard accident and how it shapes her life. The current draft of The Pace of Nature is currently in submission for traditional publication.
I’ve also written The Jackie Chronicles, a short story series about a tenacious vigilante with a secret past who wreaks vengeance on criminals who never get caught by the authorities, or those who get off too easy. Part I and Part II have been published in Honey Suckle Magazine, and Red Fez Mag. Part III is currently in submission for publication.
In January 2020, I launched SHARE, an online literary journal that publishes fiction, non-fiction, essays, poetry and visual artwork, and features a new artist each month. It’s always been a goal of mine to create a space where people can come and express themselves in whatever way, shape and form.
Share Journal has also been actively working towards uniting with a non-profit organization & social good cause. I want SHARE to stand for something and to be a part of a lasting community, one with an aim to help children and youth who have learning difficulties and/or financial hardships find their voice through the practice of writing.
It’s my hope in the near future for SHARE to host a workshop called Finding Your Voice Through Writing, where I and other contributors will travel around the tri-state area and beyond, and pass the gift of writing onto those who need to find creative outlets to express themselves.
Share Journal is also a proud member of the CLMP (Community of Literary Magazines and Presses) where we actively network and make proper connections to further our goal of associating Share Journal to a social good cause.
Q: In what ways have you been involved with writing, creativity and/or the arts? And in what ways did your time at Mville prepare you for these endeavors?
My time at Mville has been a stepping stool, giving me the extra reach I needed to attain my goals. I had excellent teachers – award-winning authors, Elizabeth Eslami and Alex Gilvary to name a couple, who provided credible reading lists, where we actively studied the craft and style of various authors from around the world. Eslami and Gilvary also held inspirational classroom discussions from the reading lists and from their own experiences as writers, which helped pushed my creative limits when it came to forming fresh, original ideas within my own work.
Both teachers often prepped us on the harsh reality of the publishing world. What writers face through the submission process. How rejection is a huge part of our lives, and boy is that the truth! But I was encouraged to never give up, taught that publishing is subjective, that it’s a numbers game, to keep submitting no matter what because someone will eventually connect with your work and share it with the world. These lessons I learned during my time at Mville have always stuck with me, and because of it, I was able to develop a thick skin when it came to criticism and rejection. And due to the education and knowledge, I’ve attained at Mville – and since leaving, my confidence in my work continues to grow. Most importantly, I stay true to myself as a writer, and true to the integrity of the stories I wish to tell.
While earning my MFA at Manhattanville, my final year, I was granted a fellowship and had the chance to work as production editor for The Manhattanville Review literary journal. In general, while attaining my MFA, I not only studied the craft and style of amazing authors, but I also learned how to become an editor, due to constantly workshopping my classmate’s stories/poems. I was proofreading, line editing, and writing detailed editorial letters, describing what worked in the story/poem for me and what didn’t. I’m a strong believer that having an outside perspective on your work is beneficial, allowing you to see things in a manner you may not have recognized prior to, ultimately helping you grow as a writer. Sure, there were times during my workshops when the “help notes” didn’t really apply to my intentions within my story. But during those times, there was always the teacher and a classmate or two who truly understood my project and vision. Those were the notes I listened to when going back into my work for revision, which indeed helped make my story stronger.
During my final year achieving my MFA, I was lucky to have taken on more editorial responsibilities while working for the Manhattanville Review. I not only read content and corrected writers’ work for errors in grammar, but I also evaluated submissions from writers and decided what to publish on the journal site. I learned HTML code and administered space on WordPress for text, photos, and illustrations that helped make up a writer’s story, and so much more. All of which provided me with the foundation I needed to build and run SHARE.
From time to time, I hear or read about MFA writing programs getting bad reps. It’s usually from someone who knows little about the program, claiming that they heard the platform is a waste of money, which is simply not true. My time at Manhattanville has prepared me for a career in writing, editing, publishing, and when the time is right for me, teaching at a college level.
Britt DiGiacomo is a New York-based writer who earned her MFA in writing from Manhattanville College. She is certified in Digital Marketing from the University of Vermont, and is the editor-in-chief for Share Journal. Her poetry and short stories have been published in various literary magazines such as Woman Around Town, Honeysuckle Magazine, Red Fez Magazine, Boulder Magazine, amongst others.
More on Britt at brittdigiacomo.com & Instagram @britt.digiacomo
Sharejournal.org & Instagram @share.journal