Jochebed "Jo" Smith is a senior and Riggio scholar in the undergraduate BPATS program. She currently serves as the fiction editor for 12th Street Journal. Her dog, Kershaw, enjoys crashing zoom calls and is allergic to poultry.
1. Who is your favorite villain, and who is your favorite protagonist in literature?
My favorite villain would probably be Lady Macbeth. I admire her ambition. My favorite protagonist would have to be Jo March, for obvious reasons.
2. When did you know you were a writer?
The first time I ever got published was so bizarrely unlikely that it felt like I could henceforth be known as nothing else. I was 25 and miserable, living in Los Angeles and trudging through community college. I was aimless. I was literally bagging groceries when I got the news and the idea of being published was something so seemingly impossible that when it became completely real, it felt as if being named a writer was a stamp upon me, like I had no choice but to shrug and bear the title.
3. What are you currently working on?
My thesis, I SWEAR.
4. How has your writing process changed over the years?
As of now, with the madness of the times, my process has almost completely stalled. It’s been difficult to wrap my head around anything but feeding myself, walking my dog, and finishing Ozark on Netflix. To try and get back into my typical, not-in-the-epicenter-of-a-global-pandemic process, I’ve started doing activities around writing that isn’t exactly writing but might eventually bear fruit, like making playlists and mood boards of how I want my work to look and sound and feel. It’s been fun to think about the work in this three-dimensional way. Hopefully it comes across in the writing as well, should I ever write again.
5. Describe your writing style in one sentence.
Death-related magical realist crises of the heart (I am a lot of fun at dinner parties—remember those??).
Five Questions, by Nicole L. Drayton. Nicole is a writer, screenwriter and independent filmmaker based in Brooklyn, NY. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts from The New School, and currently works for the university in the MFA in Creative Writing Program office.