Lashon Daley

What was your undergraduate creative writing experience at UM like? 

My creative writing experience really was a breath of fresh air.  I struggled with deciding whether writing was going to be my end goal.  I changed my major from psychology to pre-med.  Then to journalism and then my senior year, I finally decided to settle into what I loved most,  which was writing short stories.  So I got a BA in English with a concentration in creative writing.  I wanted to have a practical career and I was fearful of the road that writing would lead me down. Starving artist was not my life's ambition. 
 
Throughout all my 4 years, it was those English and writing courses that made me want to go to school.  The rest just felt like prerequisites.  But don't get me wrong, I loved most of what I was studying.  They just didn't compare to writing. 

What did you do right after graduation?

I took a year off to work on my grad school application and to study for the GRE.  I remember sitting in Manette's office panicked that I wasn't going to get into grad school.  I wanted to go right after graduation and she gave me the best advice.  She told me to take a year off, relax, and work on my writing sample.  She was right and I'm in debt to her because of that.  The following year, I got accepted into Sarah Lawrence College MFA Fiction program.  I just graduated in May. 

What are you doing now?

I moved to New Orleans, LA 3 weeks ago to work for a non-profit called Student Advocacy for Equitable Recovery (SAFER), which just merged with Phoenix of New Orleans (PNOLA).  We help Hurricane Katrina victims rebuild their homes.  I'm the Public Relations Representative, so I'm writing stories, newsletters, and press releases about what’s happening here and how the rest of the nation can help. 

Did UM's Creative Writing program equip you well to get you where you are?

YES.  I feel very qualified for my job, especially because of Ileana Oroza's print journalism class my junior year.  I preferred fiction.  She taught me how to tell the truth. 

Anything else you'd like to say about UM's Creative Writing program, or writing in general? 

I learned from my graduate professor Brian Morton that a writer is a person who writes.  Without K. Snodgrass, N. Carbo, H. Maria Viramontes, M. Seaton, and especially M. Ansay, I wouldn't have found that love for writing.

Lashon Daley’s webpage can be viewed at http://www.safer.tulane.edu/lashon.php.