Tale of Two Passions
quite a long time, Smith sophomore Mikal Minarich has been
volleying two passions—competing
on volleyball teams since the third grade and writing stories
and jotting poetry, also since her early elementary years.
as a student-athlete, Minarich is a starter on the Smith
volleyball team—playing the position of setter/hitter—and,
as an English major, she writes mindful stories about well-developed
characters, to satisfy both her coursework and her own desire
“Writing is so much fun for me right now,” says
Minarich. “I express myself really well on paper. It’s
a passion. I can open up and say things the way I feel.”
Then again, notes Minarch, she also immensely enjoys volleyball,
especially the team camaraderie it provides.
“Everyone gets to know everyone else,” she says. “Our
team is very unified. That really helped me my first year.
And I like the fast pace of the game, and the hitting—that’s
a big part of it for me.”
a writer, Minarich prefers creating short stories—“I
enjoy getting my point across in a short amount of time”—about
people in intense situations: an Irish girl in a bygone era
who avenges her grandfather and becomes Queen of Eire; an
autistic teenage girl who cannot talk or move; a young girl
who becomes homeless.
“I like to put myself in other people’s shoes,” Minarich
says. “A lot of characters just come to me. I often
think, ‘What might they be thinking?’”
Some of the drama surrounding her protagonists may be derived
from the tales told to her while she was growing up. Her
grandmother was very forthcoming with stories about her brother,
a veteran of the Vietnam War, Minarich remembers. And her
neighbor, a survivor of the Holocaust, was open in imparting
recollections about her ordeal.
submits her work to the online Web site gather.com to solicit
reader responses. “I’ve received good
and bad feedback,” she says. “I take it into
consideration with my future writing.”
is practical about the challenges of succeeding as a writer. “I’m a little nervous about the future,” she
says, “because I know how hard it is to become a writer.
Maybe I’ll just have a job and write on the side.”
For now, she is happy to be at Smith, for all the support
and encouragement she gains here and the knowledge she reaps
from classes on Shakespeare and What Jane Austen Read.
Meanwhile, she continues to immerse herself in her two passions—writing
stories, hitting the volleyball.