M.A., The Johns Hopkins University
M.F.A., University of Texas, Austin
B.A., Brown University
You know the popular catchphrase too much information? (I get that a lot.) Recently, I've come to associate this notion—that we typically shouldn't utter the utterly personal in casual conversation, especially at length—with the process of putting down on paper early-stage fictional and nonfictional material. Finding the elusive subject, naming it. Both as a teacher and as a novelist, I am interested in writing because writing, when we do it regularly, enables us to release the chaotic and complex information buzzing about our brains (and our bodies) and occasionally to decode and transform such difficult data into highly imaginative concrete work.
Flannery O'Connor famously said, "I write to discover what I know," an idea to which I wholly relate. As a fiction writer, screenwriter and creative nonfiction editor, I write (and read) mainly to understand better my own story, my way of seeing the world and my place in it. I sit at my desk and tell myself my version of too much information—the details stuck in my mental craw, the questions too heavy to hurl at my hairdresser or too ambiguous to aim at my husband. In turn, when things go well, I hear my newly born characters blab their hearts out at length to me. When I'm really lucky, this translation from emo automatic writing into fictional revelation equals something I could never have spat out simply whining over the phone to a friend who's groaning to herself, "OMG, TMI, Betsy Boyd, TMI."
Betsy Boyd's fiction has been published most recently in Sententia, Shenandoah and Verb: An Audioquarterly. She is the recipient of a Maryland State Arts Council award, an Elliot Coleman Writing Fellowship, a James A. Michener Fellowship and residencies through Fundación Valparaíso, the Alfred and Trafford Klots International Program for Artists and the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. Her short story "Scarecrow" received a Pushcart Prize.
Listen to her read an excerpt from "Scarecrow" on WYPR's The Signal. Read her latest creative nonfiction at The Huffington Post and her new microfiction, published alongside several other UB contributors at One Image: One Hundred Voices. Check out "My Real Life Modern Family," the creative nonfiction series she edits at Baltimore Fishbowl.