What this is all about

Based on the WMRA show "The Spark", hosted by Martha Woodroof, this project looks at the creative passions of college students in the Shenandoah Valley area.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Julia Skinner, the Intern

At a JMU Rugby game

         So here are the basics: I’m a twenty-one year old senior at James Madison, and I like experiencing new things. During college I’ve played rugby, joined a sorority, explored Europe, and sampled everything from Shakespearean plays to self-defense. 
I grew up in Hawaii, a redhead with a constant sunburn. I danced hula competitively for eleven years – in spite of my naturally clumsy nature – and developed an appreciation for culture and music. Spending so much time performing made stage fright an impossibility, plus I got play dress-up well into my teen years. My parents signed me up for a variety of things, from ballet (which I was kicked out of), to Tae Kwon Do, to various choirs and musical instruments (I was first chair French horn in band, but I was also the only French horn). Hula, however, was the only one that stuck.
When I got older and left Hawaii, it became more difficult to keep up with hula, and I began to look for other things to do. And this is where my restlessness kicked in. I did track, rugby, and kickboxing, tried my hand at crochet, piano, kayaking, and even started waitressing because I loved the idea of eventually being a bartender (and what college student couldn’t use some extra money to help pay the bills). Most things didn’t stick, but my passion for novelty continued. Anything unknown tempts me; I am in love with un-experienced adventure.
In Barcelona
         I started writing in the fifth grade around the time that the Lord of the Rings films came out. I was so blown away by the story that I immediately read the books and decided I wanted to create something as brilliant as Tolkien’s work. My early stories usually branched off from Tolkien’s and may have involved his male characters falling in love with a heroine who may or may not have resembled me, but eventually I created my own stories and ideas. Although I admit, I still have a bit of a crush on Orlando Bloom.
My writing has developed over the years, but my love for the unexplored and novel has long affected my work. I tend towards brevity, resulting in short stories based on an idea that engages me but never quite leads to a novel. I go after the moment, the sudden adventure, the potential within a single event or experience, and then quickly am distracted by the next. My works are numerous, but they have yet to come together into a single piece.
So, now that you know who I am, I’ll let you in on what exactly I am doing here.
In this column I hope to find other students who have a special inspiration that gets them going. Creativity can be found to all aspects of life; it has certainly driven me, and I hope to discover how it drives other people. To borrow from the show’s title, I hope to discover “The Spark” that drives others in their ambitions.
Stay tuned, so to speak. My first web conversation – with Mary Baldwin's Rachel Ratkowski – will be posted with next week’s show.