Another installment in the series of posts of the WCWW scholarship contest winners and runners-up! Today’s post is written by Michelle Nickolaisen, one of our scholarship runners-up. Enjoy!
I live in Austin after moving here from rural Missouri about a year ago. I was not a big fan of the area, I hated the high school I went to (super small, mostly fundamentalist Christian, aside from the issues I have with the educational system anyways) and I was pretty much considered unreasonably (dangerously, one might say!) “out there” for having rainbow hair, tattoos, a nose ring, vegetarian, and also being a non-Christian. After high school, I went to college for fashion design for a semester, but didn’t really like it. I’m sure part of it was the college I went to, but it was remarkably like high school, except way more expensive and also totally taking the fun out of fashion. I ended up leaving after the first semester because of these factors (an unwillingness to put myself $40k+ in debt & fear of it sucking all the fun out of something I loved).
One of my future plans is starting a comic printing business. And later this summer, I want to kick off my webcomic, titled the Valkyries, about a group of women in a post-apocalyptic world trying to survive. It’ll really be more like an online graphic novel – it has a contained story arc, although I do have an idea for another, different webcomic after the Valkyries is through. Anyways – the main character in that one will be a woman as well. I think that fiction can definitely help change the world and open peoples’ minds to possibilities they might not have thought of before. Geeky example: Buffy had its downfalls, but at the same time, it was pretty groundbreaking as far as the roles of women in TV shows – not to mention, the first gay kiss on prime time television! I’m not comparing myself to Joss Whedon, but if anything I wrote gained half of the devotion his fans tend to have, I’d be one hell of a happy camper.
Another large part of my future plans is to help get more good information out there as far as pagan religions go. A lot of the stuff out there is total fluff and it can be really hard for people looking into paganism to find good information. I don’t think that’s how it should be – I think people should have tons of good information to choose from and know their options, spiritually speaking. Not that I want to evangelize (yuck!), I just want to help make good information available, and help pagan religions be taken more seriously as a whole. One of the places I think a lot of interfaith work goes wrong is saying “Let’s focus on our similarities!”, but instead of erasing our differences, I think we should learn to celebrate them peacefully. I don’t agree with pretty much anything in Buddhism, for example, but I can still appreciate the beauty of their traditions.
I’m not sure where this work will take me, but I do know that I don’t have the time or money to back to school and get “for reals” credentials that say I know what I’m talking about. Because of this, I need to make my writing the absolute best it can be. And, as mentioned, I want to write engaging fiction that addresses social issues without being too heavy handed.
My name is Michelle, and I have too many interests to condense them into a coherent and still short biography. I’m a rainbow haired geeky heathen. I have two cats that I talk to on a regular basis (which is received with baffled stares, both from other humans and from the cats). I love to write, love to read, and I write about whatever strikes my fancy (shoes are a popular topic, among many others) at Wicked Whimsy. Also, I apparently love parenthetical notes. Mmm, parentheses.