I Am

A Writer

As a bloodhound with its nose to the ground, I was on a trail to find and committed to explore what my strong intuition was telling me about Suffolk County Community College (SCCC). Now, it was time to do the real work of completing the credits needed for my degree, though I stayed a part-time student. I worked with the honors director to pick out a set of classes. Some of these classes were just degree requirements, but I found one to be particularly meaningful: Autobiographical Writing.

My muscles twitched sitting in class. My teeth would chatter behind my lips if I even slightly released the tension in my jaw. I could not find a comfortable position to rest my legs and arms. I told myself, “I have nothing to hide and I had nothing I did not feel comfortable writing about,” but, nevertheless, I was nervous.

One day at the end of Autobiographical Writing, when everyone else had left, I walked up to Professor McGorry as she erased the whiteboard. After a moment, I spoke aloud: “I just want to tell you that all I want to do after your class is write, and write, and write.”

She turned away from the board. “Good! Good!” she exclaimed.

“That’s all I want to do,” I continued.

Professor McGorry shared encouraging words with me that I wish I remembered, but my emotions got in my way. I do remember asking, “So, I could have a future in this?”

“You can’t live off of being a writer, but you can make it part of your life, write for yourself. It’s tough to be even a journalist these days,” she responded.

Professor McGorry packed her books in her bags. “There is a school in Iowa where you could do your undergrad or even masters in creative writing. If you don’t want to go that far, there are plenty of schools out there.” She said these words with enthusiasm.

“It’s very exciting.” I softly said, trying to find my voice. My body trembled. We walked toward the door. Then I stopped and turned to her. “It’s crazy what this class makes me feel…” Professor McGorry looked at me with warm eyes and smiled. We paused in the direction we were heading. “I feel like crying.” My eyes welled with tears and my lip quivered. She pulled me close and hugged me, allowing me to cry over her shoulder. “It’s crazy.” I cried as she still hugged me.

“It’s not crazy.” Professor McGorry responded softly. I released from her embrace and collected myself.

“I think I have been trying to ignore this for a long time. I’ve tried to suppress it, make it go away and not feel it.” Professor McGorry’s face lit up as if I said the magic words to unlock a chamber to a secret passage.  

“How old are you again?” She asked in amazement.


“Do you know my writer friends and I say to each other, ‘If only we knew this when we were young.’ For you to know this at your age is really great… It may be painful or hurt now, but there is a whole world out there. It’s hard getting there, but once you’re there, you’re there.”

I desperately wanted to get “there,” a place where I could finally exercise who I am in the midst of trying to gain confidence in my identity. I am a young woman who loves to write and who has dreamed since she was six years old to become an author. Discovering my calling as a writer was an arrival, the first step.

I understood that to continue writing, I had to continue reading. Just like the saying goes, “Reading is writing and writing is reading.” I decided to pursue being an English Major with a concentration in Creative Writing.

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Megan Cahill-Assenza with Professor Carol McGorry at SCCC’s Creative Writing Festival in April 2013. Megan submitted her personal essay, “Blue Trees,” that she wrote in Prof.McGorry’s Autobiographical Writing class to SCCC’s annual creative writing contest. She received honorable mention in creative nonfiction.

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