I’m Jess. In 2005, I earned a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Hollins University. (Holding for applause.) They call an MFA a “terminal degree,” which always struck me as suspicious. After graduation, I promptly found lucrative work as a poet.
After graduation, I put my grammar ninja skills to work as a professional editor and technical writer. Though I maintain the importance of great verse, odes rarely pay the bills. Fine, they never pay the bills. Even while attending graduate school, I worked as a freelance editor. Most recently, I was employed as a contractor for the Department of Defense, plying my wares at various intelligence agencies. During my time as a DoD contractor, I crafted everything from employee safety briefings to cyber security manuals to multi-billion-dollar proposals. In other words, very dry and very important.
In 2013, again feeling the siren call of creative writing, I started my own website, Welcome to the Bundle, which began as a place to share funny parenting stories. The site evolved, however into a home for essays exploring topics such as identity and motherhood, race and poverty in Baltimore, and chronic illness. In other words, very serious and very self-important stuff.
My passion for writing, though, has always gone hand in hand with a love of teaching. (Because money means nothing to me.) By January of 2017, I packed up my red pens and left the corporate world, joining Northern Virginia Community College as an English instructor. While at NVCC, I’ve taught college composition and professional writing. But this isn’t my first college rodeo. At Hollins, I taught college freshman how to write sonnets and build a story arc. As an adjunct at the University of Notre Dame of Maryland, I walked working nurses through the finer points of literary interpretation. And students at the University of Maryland sat in on my lectures about ethos, logos, and pathos. Oh, the laughs we had.
My poetry, literary criticism, and essays have appeared in a variety of publications, including Jubilat, The Potomac Review, The Establishment, The Hollins Critic, The Huffington Post, Elephant Journal, and MSN Living. I was also cast in the DC leg of the national Listen to Your Mother storyteller series.
When I’m not teaching or writing, I’m mothering a small boy, listening to Prince (R.I.P), making more coffee, wishing I had time to bake, and engaging in a very specific daydream about drinking hot chocolate while vacationing in an glass igloo in Finland.