Jessica Karbowiak was born and raised on Long Island, New York. She recently finished her MFA degree at Penn State University where she taught creative writing. She is currently working on her first essay and story collection.

In answer to our question of why she writes, Jessica responded:

“There was a period of time—three years—in which I consciously chose not to write. I attended a quasi-reputable law school, nestled into the couch at night with a thickened volume of tort case studies instead. It was perhaps the most desolate and dark period of my life.

From an older vantage point, I see my motivation to give up writing at this time as pure and unadulterated frustration, a complete lack of money, depression, an inability to write as prolifically as others. In doing so, it took me years to recoup this lost time—the confidence and belief in my own natural voice—that I so foolishly thought I could leave behind.

Years later, I understand what keeps me writing (or simply put, what keeps me from being able to walk away from writing) is what keeps most writers on task: the inability to stop. One is always finding stories everywhere one looks. Perhaps it is the writer’s inherent need to connect, truly.

As Joseph Conrad once wrote, ‘One may perchance attain to such clearness of sincerity that at last the presented vision of regret or pity, of terror or mirth, shall awaken in the hearts of the beholders that feeling of unavoidable solidarity; of the solidarity in mysterious origin, in toil, in joy, in hope, in uncertain fate, which binds men to each other and all mankind to the visible world.”’

Such lofty aspirations can depress, frustrate, and overwhelm even the most steadfast young writer. Still, if you are born to it—this terrible and beautiful writing life—there is a lovely acceptance that comes down to you through the years; it tells the writer ‘do your job, and always, always be sincere.’”







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