Nicole Testa is the newest intern here at Figment! Based on her love of dead authors and obsession with the Lord of the Rings, we think she’ll fit in just fine.
Well, it’s a little bit of a funny story. Last year, while wasting time on Facebook, an ad appeared in my sidebar for a Figment poetry contest to be judged by Billy Collins. Being an ardent admirer of Billy Collins, I clicked the link, created a Figment account, wrote a poem about a band with a crazy name, and entered the contest. Afterwards, though, I stuck around and started exploring the Figment website—and realizing how awesome it is. As a young poet, it was so exciting to have found an online community where I could share my work and nerd-out over the work of my fellow writers. Also, getting creative writing into high schools and providing accessible venues for creative writing to high school students, are two things I care a whole lot about—and I think Figment is a great resource for young people to share their work and be inspired. When I saw that they were looking for interns, I immediately couldn’t think of a better place to work, and I’m so excited to have been selected!
What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
Be honest. I was in a writing workshop last year, writing (because I am a stereotypical poet-type) break-up poems, and was really struggling. I wrote this one poem and read it to my teacher. She obviously didn’t know any details of the situation I was experiencing, but she was still able to tell that I wasn’t being entirely honest in my poetry, that I didn’t completely believe in what I was saying. It was so interesting to realize that, when I write, my reader is aware of the amount of confidence (or lack of confidence) I put into what I say, and that if I don’t believe fully in what I’m saying, if I don’t feel good about something I’m writing, it’s noticeable.
You get to invite three authors to dinner. Who do you choose and why?
This is simultaneously my favorite and least favorite question – it’s so hard to choose! I think I would invite Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe, and Amy Gerstler. Though I don’t know if Emily Dickinson would accept my invitation, I would love to talk to her about her writing. She has recently become one of my favorite poets, and I often find myself awkwardly tearing up in library corners because of how amazing her poetry is. I know Edgar Allan Poe has a bit (a lot) of a reputation, but I think his life story is so interesting, and sad, and mysterious. I think he would be such a fantastic person to meet and just listen to. Amy Gerstler is one of my absolute favorite contemporary poets, and I would love to invite her to dinner and embarrass myself by effusively confessing my love for her poetry for the entire length of the meal.
What mythical creature would you most like to have as a pet and why?
I’m not sure if I’d like to have one as a pet, but I’d love to at least be friends with an ent, from the Lord of the Rings. I just think it would be nifty to have a tree friend to carry me around, show me his favorite scenic overlooks. Plus, they would probably have a lot of exciting tales and bits of wisdom to share.
Which literary character are you most like and why?
Because I am clearly on a Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit kick (it’s becoming a problem), I’m inclined to say I’ve been relating a lot to Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit lately. I’m not sure if I’m insulting myself or not. I guess, it’s just that I can relate to being comfortable. Changes, adventures – they’re exciting in theory, but difficult, and sometimes downright frightening when they’re staring you right in the face. I relate to Bilbo’s hesitancy, his thought process of “but I’m comfortable where I am, so maybe I don’t need to make a change.” But then he does change, he does go on an adventure, he does realize that staying in Bag End is nice, but there’s a whole lot of world to see. I think I admire his very realistic and relatable hesitancy, and ultimate decision to be bold and explore. Plus, I’m a big fan of second breakfast.
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