Misha Darcy’s journey leads her to winning the 2015 expository writer’s award

Communications major Misha Darcy received first place in the category of expository writing for her piece entitled “Searching for an Awesome God” for the 2014-2015 Board of Trustees Writing Awards. “Searching” was written for Magazine Writing, a class taught by Chris Blake. The work looks at what it means to be reverent and into the archaic use of the word awe in terms of spirituality. Darcy was also awarded an honorable mention in the creative writing category for “The Stories We Carry Around.”

Darcy graduated from Union College in 1992 with a degree in English. After graduating, she traveled for 20 years and worked with industrial scaffolding.

Now she is finishing a self-help book, “The Bible for the Horribly Depressed,” which is about halfway completed after a year and a half of writing and editing. The book looks at what the Bible has to say about depression and, more specifically, spiritual depression, explained Darcy.

While traveling and working she was always pulled back into trying to write, which is something she’s wanted to do since she was a kid.

When Darcy was 4, she taught herself how to read, and she credited “Sesame Street” as being supplemental to her reading experience. From there, she moved onto creative writing. Often she would create stories in her head. She observes a scene, which could be as ordinary as students eating together during a lunch break and she narrates said event in her head as if it is a story.

“It’s like the writer never shuts off,” she shared.

Unfortunately, working eight to 12 hours a day leaves a person incredibly tired and drained—leaving little time to write. However, she was not without opportunity.

Aside from short stories, the first piece she was able to complete was “Amberwood,” a horror screenplay that had been started by one of her friends and his buddy. When the buddy bailed on the project, she agreed to help finish it. While writing this screenplay she and the co-author worked with a professional editor and rewrote and edited the piece so often that the process taught her how to let go of the preciousness of her own ideas and wording.  

Their hard work paid off and “Amberwood” won two contests, one of them being Clint Eastwood’s Monterey Screenwriting Competition of 2005. Landing in the top ten of the competition, the screenplay shipped around to various production houses.

During the years of 2007 through 2010 she pursued photojournalism in Denver, making $8 an hour working part-time. “That was fun,” she recollected with a smile and a nod. “I got to go to all the snobby galas and rub elbows with important people, including celebrities.”

Darcy soon found herself back at Union College. Michelle Mesnard, former division chair for Humanities and current Associate Vice President for Academic Initiatives, persuaded Darcy to pursue a communications degree with an emerging media emphasis. She enrolled at Union College and eventually transferred over to communications with an emphasis in public relations.

“The program is so much better now than it was 20 years ago because it now emphasizes portfolio work and internships. The Humanities program has tripled in size, so you now have more than three [academic] options with Humanities. Pat [Maxwell] has started reaching out to the community and being a liaison,” Darcy concluded. “There’s better support to get one employed.”  

As a Humanities student, Darcy’s taken several writing classes that stood as a platform for her to launch her expository and creative pieces that would obtain top honors in the 2014-15 Board of Trustees Writing Awards.

When her name was announced as the recipient of the 2014-15 expository writing award, Darcy flashed a wide smile, shaking her head from side to side as she approached the podium to receive her award of $1,000.

When asked what winning means to her, she simply replied that it means a new laptop. After all, “Writers need their tools.”

Other first-place winners for the 2014-15 Board of Trustees winners are Tori Severs for “Colleges and Imposter Phenomenon” (first-year research writing), Sarah Ventura for “Her” (creative writing), and Aphelandra Messer for “The Case for Diverse Dystopian Fiction” (upper-division research writing).

Stefani is a junior studying communication.