Q: Can you talk about how you’ve spent your time since graduating from K?
Kelsey: When I graduated last spring, I was planning on taking off for France after the summer to spend the next year teaching English. I then had a sort of existential crisis and realized that wasn’t actually what I wanted to do. I spent some time as a writer-in-residence at Art Farm in Marquette, Nebraska to refocus a little. Then, I moved to Spartanburg, South Carolina. I got a job at Hub City Bookshop and spent a whole lot of time writing and talking books and learning about the South. I did end up taking off for France in the end, but for a completely different purpose. Since early March, I’ve been a writer-in-residence at La Porte Peinte in Noyers-sur-Serein, a tiny village in Burgundy.
Q: How have you been adjusting to your post-grad life?
KD: I feel so silly every time I say this, but I miss the library so much! Maybe that’s why I ended up working in a bookshop. As soon as I left K, I really missed the structure of it. Ambiguity really stresses me out, so I had a rough time finding a purpose, at first. I think it’s been really good for me to take a year between K and grad school.
Q: What do you do for work now?
KD: Right now, I’m a writer-in-residence! When I first arrived in France, I spent a week researching a statue called the Vierge de Bizeux in Saint-Malo, which is in the north of France. I set up shop in Noyers-sur-Serein, where I’ve been doing a lot of writing about the statue, working on my French, and living in community with other artists.
Q: How did you get into your line of work?
KD: Last spring, I wrote an essay in Dr. Marin Heinritz’s Advanced Nonfiction Workshop about this statue called the Vierge de Bizeux. Marin pushed me to do some digging and figure out why the statue interested me. I ended up getting pretty obsessed. At one point, I covered one wall of my apartment in South Carolina with little bits of news Saint-Malo historians had sent me about the statue. The French historians encouraged me to come to Saint-Malo to research in person, so I applied for a residency to give myself the time to write and then I found my way here!
Q: What advice do you have for graduating seniors?
KD: Follow your gut! And also, if I’m allowed to pass on advice from Marin and Jan, follow your curiosity as closely as you can.
Q: What’s next for Kelsey?
In a little over a week, I’ll go back to Saint-Malo to finish up some research, stop by Clermont-Ferrand, where I studied abroad in 2013-2014, and then head back to Michigan. In September, I’ll begin a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.