MOUNT AIRY — Mount Airy native Sarah Wright is a published writer, eager student and teacher.
Wright often tries to reassure her students and fellow writers to keep going when they’re frustrated with their writing because it’s a learning and growing process.
“I think people should be life-long learners (and) open to continuing to learn, whether or not they’ve completed their formal education,” Wright said.
With her own work, Wright said that she wants to make her characters have certain traits like being honest and flawed so that readers will be able to understand them and to also expose issues that people can relate to. She’s written many short stories and plans to publish them as a collection one day.
“Everyone has a voice (and) my responsibility is to tell stories that need to be told,” she said.
She also is not above making wholesale changes in her own life, and documenting those changes. She has been working to lose weight since March 2011, and has dropped 120 pounds. She documented her journey by taking pictures of the food she made and shared recipes with others who requested them.
Wright graduated from North Surry High School and moved to Massachusetts to work at a company called Putnam Investments.
She managed the college internship program there and helped with customer service and money management. Wright later moved back to North Carolina to attend East Carolina University where she earned degrees in political science, history, and completed the requirements for pre-med school but decided not to go. She was more interested in a career in education.
“I had always been a writer,” she said.
Lowanda Badgett, a high school instructor for many in Surry County, was one of her inspirations.
“It is amazing to teach with someone who taught me so much, from being my teacher in vacation Bible school to many high school classes, and in the last year I’ve had that opportunity with Lowanda Badgett. It is great to still be learning from her and great for the people of this area that she’s still teaching,” she said.
Wright considered going to California College of the Arts to pursue a degree in creative writing and was accepted but turned the offer down in the end because of financial, and other, conflicting factors. Instead, she earned her master of fine arts in creative writing from Antioch University.
In January of 2009 Wright began her career of teaching. She now teaches online classes at Forsyth Tech and instructs courses at Surry Community College and Yadkin Early College. She loves to teach students who are willing to learn.
Throughout her life Wright has traveled places many people only dream of visiting. She went to England in 2003, Mexico in 2006 and has been to most states in America.
New York, particularly, captured her interest.
“It’s always inspired my writing,” she said, remembering her frequent visits.
One of the things that had the biggest effect on her was the day she met her favorite writer, Dorothy Allison.
“(She) has this amazing ability to tell stories,” Wright praised her idol.
Allison gave a lecture when Wright was in grad school and told the students not to look at her if they didn’t want to be called on to share their work of writing. Wright tried her best not to look but eventually caught the attention of Allison when she saw her. Wright was made to stand and read. After the lecture Allison complimented Wright’s work and said something that has stuck with her ever since.
“Keep writing,” Allison said. “Never stop writing.”
Wright also runs the creative writing workshops at the Mount Airy Public Library, next scheduled for Aug. 21.
“Writing is a healing art,” she said.
Reach Rachel McAuley at firstname.lastname@example.org.