Libby Howe, a senior majoring in English, wrote a prose piece called "How to be a Whore" that was chosen for publication in the fall 2015 magazine. Read below to see what Libby has to say about her story.
Q: What was your inspiration behind this piece?
A: I think it was…like when I wrote this it was at a time when a lot of my girlfriends were going through hard breakups and I was like, as harsh as it sounds, tired of watching them not get back up. And in thinking about actual, rational, helpful things to tell them, I came up with really bad advice to not tell them and that’s where this came from. It’s the bad advice to not tell them.
Q: Did any of your friends have experience with some of things you had mentioned in your piece?
A: I do have a vivid imagination, but it’s not that creative. So, a lot of it is pulled from like things I’ve heard or personal experiences and taking those experiences and taking them one step further than most people would take them.
Q: Why did you choose to write your piece in second person?
A: It was actually a creative writing prompt for Scott Sanders's class to break the rules or like cross lines or something, so we had to write something that was kind of not something we would typically write--so not a cut-and-dry creative writing piece. So I chose a kind of a sketchy subject matter and wrote it in a form that was not typical creative writing form.
Q: How many drafts of this piece did you have?
A: There were three. The first one I was told the main character came off as too much of an asshole to be believable. So, a lot of the more emotional stuff where you kind of get a vibe from her that the reason she’s like this is because someone hurt her. It was like painful for me to put that stuff in because I was avoiding revealing any weaknesses in this character. But I was told straight up that an emotional background is what the story’s missing.
Q: Follow up: Do you agree with that your speaker needed some more emotion?
A: I think yes. My personality was resisting because I’m one of those tough-cookie type of people that denies that humans have emotions. Um, but it did. It made it more relatable. A lot of people can’t relate to a character that's a stone-cold bitch, but many people can relate to getting dumped or being heartbroken and not knowing what to do afterwards.
Q: Do you think the advice you wrote about in this piece is advice people should take?
A: Carefully. There are some things that you could get in a lot of trouble for.