Finalist in the 2021 Nick Adams Short Story Contest
Story: Conservatory (Adj.)
“‘Conservatory’ was a story as lean and perceptive as a poem.”
– Final judge Sandra Cisneros
More about Lily Lauver:
- Senior at Knox College
- Majors: English Literature and Creative Writing
- Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
ACM: Do you have plans after graduation?
Lauver: Immediately after graduation, I’ll be a fellow of the 2021 Bucknell Seminar for Undergraduate Poets. I can’t wait. My hope for next year is that I’ll be able to stay in Galesburg at Knox College as a post-baccalaureate fellow so I can continue my work in our letterpress studio.
ACM: What sparked your interest in writing, and how did you get started writing fiction?
Lauver: I think I’ve always had this interest or nervousness about saying the right thing at the right time. I wonder what that means — the right thing, the right time — even in how I speak in my day-to-day life. We are, all of us, writing all the time. So how can the page, of all things, help articulate our ideas with clarity and truth?
I came to fiction the slow way: through poetry. After I’d been in lockdown a few months last spring, taking college classes out of my childhood bedroom, I started writing short stories for myself to engage with longer thinking. This internet-living is full of such short thinking! So writing fiction became a salve and a challenge to the way in which our abbreviated lives reshape our thoughts. This winter, I took my first fiction workshop with Chad Simpson. This story came out of that work.
I want a story to ask me and my reader to look, then to look into. So, the work becomes meditative. Hopefully, the work becomes our minds.
ACM: How have you developed your writing while you’ve been at Knox?
Lauver: There isn’t a single thing about me that my education at Knox hasn’t affected. I feel obscenely lucky to be able to take many workshops across many genres. I’ve taken poetry workshops with four of the poetry faculty at Knox: Monica Berlin, Beth Marzoni, Gina Franco, and Nicholas Regiacorte. Each time, the room feels reinvented by the people in it. I’ve learned from my teachers that reading and writing intersect in good listening. I’ve learned that good writing practices should reflect writing’s habituality as much as its revelation.