Courtney Kersten

Class of 2010

Courtney Kersten's essay Let Me Ripen appeared in Thoreau's Rooster, a creative non-fiction journal from Assumption College. Courtney first wrote this piece in a Creative Non-Fiction Writing 308 class at the University of Evansville. She spent 2010-2011 in Riga, Latvia studying theater on a Fulbright.

"One of the most significant and difficult courses I took at UE was a William Faulkner course taken during my senior year. By having to understand and respond to Faulkner's work, the course challenged me to consider a perspective and history different than my own and to examine how his work was a reflection of this. A few months later, I was in Latvia and overwhelmed with culture shock. I investigated Latvia's history in order to understand the predominant cultural attitudes, just as we had done with exploring how the culture and history of the American South is represented in Faulkner Not only did this course help me engage with Latvians, but it has encouraged me to openly attempt to understand different perspectives.

"A course that greatly affected my writing and creative outlook was Creative Non-Fiction. Through studying creative non-fiction essays and by hearing my fellow students work, I began to see the creative inspiration in places I had previously considered mundane. That semester was one of infinite mental expansion; suddenly, potential stories and essays were everywhere! The course challenged me to look at my life as a work of art waiting to be recorded; the course inspired me to better engage with my surroundings and commit to my experiences.

"At UE, I was challenged to explore the meaning and impact of written material in my writing and literature courses. Rather than taking text at face-value, professors helped us to look beyond in order to examine a text's inspiration, goal and result. For me, it was exciting and still is fascinating to see how word choice, style, and structure can affect a work's impact. Beyond strengthening my own writing and editing skills, I gained insight into the power and effect of words; I feel my education has helped me to better dissect and critique the ever-changing face of not only contemporary literature, but the use of words in social networking, advertising, and speech."

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