Finalist in the 2021 Nick Adams Short Story Contest
Read the story: I Left My Phone
“‘I Left My Phone’ impressed me for its seemingly effortless movement.”
– Final judge Sandra Cisneros
More about Samantha Stagg:
- Senior at Grinnell College
- Major: Health Science Writing
- Hometown: Carver, MN
ACM: Do you have plans after graduation?
Stagg: Since most application and interview processes are now online, I’m going to take this opportunity to travel around the country and visit friends while looking for journalism work remotely. I’ll also spend time with family in Minnesota.
ACM: What sparked your interest in writing, and how did you get started writing fiction?
Stagg: I’ve kept journals since I was seven years old and would write with an illegible combination of pink gel pen and orange highlighter ink. It started as a necessary precaution to protect moments in time from my forgetful memory, but I kept with it because it was a way of thinking more slowly and deliberately. In my second year at Grinnell College, I started trying out other forms of writing. I’d occasionally write a poem, and that led to snippets of stories written in notebooks or on index cards. It felt nice to explore my own thoughts in the context of a different life.
ACM: How have you developed your writing while you’ve been at Grinnell?
Stagg: Though my focus is more on creative nonfiction, I’ve had a lot of fun with fiction during my time at Grinnell. I wrote little scenes every so often my second year, but I had no clue how to write a whole story until I forced myself to do it by taking a craft of fiction class third year. Reading helped the writing process a lot—we used a fiction anthology for that craft class, and I think we were supposed to read about seven stories from it but I ended up reading 25. I took a fiction seminar the year after, learned how to workshop, and attended guest author lectures hosted by the college, all of which helped make the fiction writing process a little more transparent.