Continuing Education

Epic Win: Elizabeth Kennedy Talks about Her Love of Writing

Elizabeth Kennedy is a Continuing Education (CE) writing student with a tremendous love for the written word. It’s an affection that dates all the way back to her earliest recollection. “I began writing as a preschooler on Sunday, October 20th when my mother was paying bills at Imageher desk and wouldn’t play with me during naptime,” she recalls. “I found a green pencil and wrote my first story. I was learning the alphabet, and I painstakingly formed the words from what I understood to be the sounds of the letters. I walked out of my room and asked my mother to transcribe my spelling of the words, the correct spelling of the words, and to write the date on my story. I was a stickler for documenting details even at the age of 4.”

Of all writing genres, Kennedy says she feels most drawn to non-fiction, particularly vignettes and short memoir. Therefore, it comes as a surprise to learn EPIC Group Writers recently awarded her First Place in Adult Poetry for her piece, “Boys and Bands and Broken Hearts.”

“I’ve written a series of vignettes about individual, but rarely overlapping phases of my life,” says Kennedy. “Writing is a way to relive the experiences, and to create pieces of artwork by carefully, mindfully painting pictures with words. I have no talent for fiction, and I prefer to document real life events in such a way that others can experience what I encountered when they occurred.”

Through her life, Kennedy has amassed a wide range of influences and inspiration. “As an adolescent, my favorite piece of writing was James Joyce’s Dubliners, and my favorite poem was Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen” she says. “I’m a religious writer, and as a college student I was influenced by historical accounts of the women mystics in Europe. I learned of their tradition while I was a student of Medieval and Reformation History at Trinity College in ImageDublin. I continue to be influenced by the theological works of John Dominic Crossan and Amy Jill Levine. Despite recent events, in my earlier adulthood I was inspired by Sherman Alexie’s The Toughest Indian in the World, Ten Little Indians and The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.”

Kennedy says her development as a writer is in part thanks to the encouragement of several gifted teachers, including Christine Dubois. “My first writing course through CE was about a year ago, and all of my classes have been with Christine,” she says. “The practicality of her style is very appealing to me. She encourages everyone in the class equally, and her stories about her experience as a journalist are very useful. She is my first teacher to demystify the publishing process and make it seem achievable.” Kennedy says to date she has taken nearly every class DuBois has offered. “Next, I’m going to take a class at NSC CE in Proofreading.”

Kennedy admits submitting her work for professional consideration is outside of her comfort zone, but not beyond the realm of possibility. “I loved writing so much that I kept at it until I no longer needed encouragement from others to know my own voice,” she says. “This was invaluable to me, and within a year finally sensing that I was good enough without external validation, I received the honor of winning the EPIC Group Writing Contest.”

For those wondering if they have anything to gain by exploring their writing talents, Kennedy has only words of encouragement and heaps of praise for DuBois’ courses in particular. “There’s no such thing as being too much of a beginner,” she says. “There are many great Imageinstructors, and Christine Dubois is amazing. She is very encouraging, experienced, and she’s a relaxed, funny person. She creates an open mic experience at the end of her classes, which was a first for me. I never would have had enough confidence to enter a poetry contest without her encouragement, and without her letting us know the contest existed. This was definitely a formative experience for me. With the instruction and encouragement I received from NSC CE I will be seeking publication for the larger body of my writing. This has been a dream since I was a little girl. I didn’t think it was possible for me, and now I know that it is.”

Learn more about CE Writing classes.