Personal Statement – Iowa Writers’ Workshop

Wonderful blogging community,

I'm posting this statement with two purposes.
1. It kind of summarises where I want to be going, which I want to share with you
2. I'd love feedback! They've asked me to: "Include your purpose in pursuing graduate study, any research you wish to pursue, and your future vocational goals."

Thanks for reading this - I feel honoured by your interest in my life!!

I want to write a novel, with beautiful sentences and adroitly crafted chapters. Since preschool I have read voraciously, and appreciate exquisite writing in multifarious forms. I have natural writing talent, and derive deep satisfaction from creating prose, yet I have spent my life longing to write novels and not doing so.

The work I am submitting came into existence because I was applying to attend the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Belonging to this writing community would enable me to be disciplined in producing literature. The tutelage and mentoring I would receive is something I yearn for and need, if my work is to take wings and soar. The teaching staff would be excellent for me, I believe. I am reading Marilynne Robinson’s writing, and see in her novels the kind of aesthetically beautiful minutiae I would like to develop, along with perfected weaving of overarching themes. There is much for me to learn in becoming the kind of author I aspire to be.

I gently feel Earth’s heartbeat, in the stories and sorrows and hopes of those with whom I interact. My childhood experiences of bereavement and abuse have grown in me a compassion which is reflected in my writing. Following the birth of my daughter Cosette, I experienced postnatal depression. Literature is healing for me in illuminating and comforting my struggles and pains. I would like to write books which explore the difficulties of being human and being a parent, and make it easier for people to accept themselves.

I participated in a therapeutic story group, where each person read their writing aloud, and the group responded to what had been shared, focusing on remaining emotionally present as the writing relived painful emotions. This experience was life-changing for me, and a technique I would like to research and emulate.

I have lived and travelled in Third World countries, and felt estranged from the Western world ever since. Fiction addressing issues of culture and poverty in developing nations have been helpful to me. My journeying around the planet enables perspective and insight in my work. In Uganda I worked as a nurse and midwife in a community striving to reinvent itself after the devastation of civil war. I wrote about Kirema in the Australian Women’s Weekly, and would like creatively to delve further into issues of collective powerlessness.

Professional work as a journalist writing and photographing feature articles has taught me to write concisely and to use words which communicate clearly and effectively, a helpful foundation for being a fiction writer. My work has taken me to forty different countries, and helped me engage issues of culture, injustice and marginalisation. My dream to become a novelist has been further aroused in dissecting and analysing novels as a freelance book reviewer for

I have worked as an educator for underprivileged people in many different contexts, including youth detention centres in USA, services for drug-addicts and prostitutes in Germany and in outback Australia. I enjoy teaching, and would find instructing writing students fulfilling, and filled with possibility for building self-esteem in my students. In reading about poverty, it seems being able to write and speak with excellence is a gift which empowers people to leave cycles of generational poverty.

I began my first novel aged seven on the top bunk-bed of our little cottage in northern Tasmania. Fortified by the community and teaching of the Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop, I anticipate finally completing my debut tome, and a whole lifetime of novels. Thank you for offering this excellent program! I look forward to hearing from you regarding my application.

Yours sincerely,

Megan Ann Jones Ady

PS If you would like to, I'd be honoured if you were to read my work-in-progress


Jenny said…
Good for you.
I will call Ian soon and find out information for you.
Megs said…

You rock. I hope all your dreams come true.

Per your request, here are two brief edits:

1. "Egress" is a noun. You can't say "to egress". I mean you can verb the word, but as Calvin said, "Verbing wierds language" =)
2. "Oeuvre" doesn't work as a plural in the way you've used it. It conotates the totality of one author's work, so referring to one authors "oeuvres" makes it sound like perhaps they have lived multiple lifetimes, and had an oeuvre in each, or perhaps you have discovered a way to jump between simultaneous universes in the multiverse (whose existence, apparently, is required by the maths), and you are referring to the oeuvres of this author in various iterations of herself. Or something.

These are the two that went "clunk", anyway. And clunk can of course be a good thing, if that's what you're aiming for. But not in this case methinks.
Anonymous said…

Check 'faces': facets?
Instead of 'oeuvres' (sic), how about just 'writing'. Often it's a good idea to scale back to simpler words; then the dramatic ones have a bigger bang when you use them.
Anonymous said…
Thanks for not being offended by my comment -- I thought you might be. I'll try to explain; I'm going through a phase of paring back in my own writing, trying only to use big or unusual words when no smaller or simpler one will do. I am more and more convinced that the most beautiful writing is that which aims at a simplicity and clarity that are almost transparent. If the reader has to worry about the words themselves, then they are not doing their job. I don't know if this ramble makes much sense. Let me know what you think.
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