Julia Wang, Interview & Writing Sample
In Capital Letters (ICL): What do you want remember about the program in 10 years?
Definitely the people—the mentors and friends I've gained. The community is incredible, and I would love to stay connected after graduation.
ICL: From being part of the program and participating in workshops and the Visiting Writers series, what do you think are the most important things you have learned about your own writing? How has your writing changed?
Creative writing is mathematical. Mary Kay Zuravleff mentioned this idea during my first AU workshop, but it wasn't until recently that I understood what she meant. This program has made me much more aware of story structure. Sure, beautiful dialogues and descriptions are always a treat and are also useful in relaying information, but structure is something that I hadn't known to study before this program, and, in many ways, I feel that it is the carcass of the story.
ICL: What is your favorite quote or line from a book?
"The snow fell deeper that Easter than it had in forty years, but June walked over it like water and came home." —Louise Erdrich, Love Medicine
ICL: What have you read most recently that inspired you?
Amy Bloom's short story, "By and By." I've read her work before, but this story in particular I only encountered at the beginning of the semester. It is currently reigning as one of my favorite short stories because it feels so clean and simple and elegantly structured. Some of my other recent favorites are Alice Munro's "Child's Play" and Louise Erdrich's novel, Love Medicine.
ICL: Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know.
I do like poetry....
ICL: If your life had a theme song right now, what would it be?
"It's The End Of The World As We Know It" by R.E.M.
From “Go Big”
At Orson Upper School for Young Women, there was a rule where if anyone over five-five fell below a hundred pounds she would be required to attend Healthy Living after school on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. There was a sliding scale of acceptable heights to weights, but in the January of my last year at Orson I was five-six and floated just above ninety.
To be branded a Healthie was synonymous to wearing too many diamonds—it was flaunting, and at Orson there was a unified contempt against Healthies that even at the time we knew was powered by envy. It was also embarrassing, not because people thought we had eating disorders, but because Healthies were the ones who got caught. There were ways to avoid getting tagged. There was this Theater geek, Tracy, who was Orson’s anorexia queen but always managed to weigh in just over a hundred.
Weight had never been an issue for me; I had always been thin. But that semester I was training viciously at the tennis club, hoping to finally seed first in varsity singles in March. Ever since seventh grade I’d dreamt of Wimbledon, the grass court beneath me, Serena opposite me, the crowd anxiously shifting in their plastic seats all around the stadium.
Which was why when I was tagged for Healthy Living my heart sped up, and I almost puked.