The COVID-19 pandemic forced Darryl Peterkin to slow down and consider what he really wanted to do with his life.
It would turn out to be his first step to enrolling in The University of Baltimore's M.F.A. in Creative Writing & Publishing Arts program.
"I have always wanted to be a writer, but have repeatedly found excuses to push that dream to the side. COVID-19 reminded me that life can change in an instant; and I should put time and energy into those activities and relationships that enrich my life and, I hope, the lives of others."
A friend of Darryl's pointed him toward UBalt's M.F.A. and program director Betsy Boyd. That introduction gave Darryl the encouragement he needed to apply.
He also appreciated that night-time courses and online options would allow him to fit courses around his full-time job.
Through the program, Darryl says he hopes to gain confidence in his voice as a writer and further develop a craft he's been tinkering with most of his life.
He started writing at age 10 with a typewriter his father bought for him. Television shows including Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Lost in Space and The Twilight Zone led him to focus on fiction writing. By age 13, he wrote his first series of short stories in the science fiction genre.
"When I write, I feel transported beyond my physical self. Words are like musical notes; and when the right words come together, I hear it. I feel it. There is just nothing else like it."
As he got older, he pursued different paths. He majored in American Studies at Yale University and would end up with a Ph.D. in History from Princeton University. However, he never lost his passion for writing and storytelling.
"Looking back, I suppose I became a different sort of writer than the one I had imagined when I was a child. Of course, history is not fiction; but it does require using the imagination to make sense of evidence and facts to recreate a world that no longer exists," he says.
Through UBalt's M.F.A. program, Darryl is looking to develop the discipline and confidence required of a successful writer.
"To me, success is telling the stories that I want to tell, in the ways that they should be told."