Friend Files is a new feature I’ve added to Away With Words, this being just the fifth installment. I will be interviewing a friend of mine and showcasing why they are a friend to me and what I like about them, and also a mini-interview (five questions) that detail what they think of me. It’s a way to acknowledge my friends out there and what they’re up to and also introduce them to my larger group of friends, acquaintances, and anyone else who might be interested in reading.

Today, I will be talking about Shawna Borman (my first lady interview!). Before I get into what I think of her, here is my mini-interview with Shawna (exchanged over Facebook) where she jotted down just a few thoughts:

 

 

Shawna Borman, Writer and Otaku

Shawna Borman, Writer and Otaku

 

SHAWNA BORMAN’S FRIEND FILE INTERVIEW

ME: Give me some details about your life.

SHAWNA BORMAN: Let’s see… I’m currently in Maine, getting my MFA from Stonecoast.  Literally getting it, not just working my way towards it.  As of January 17th, I will have my diploma in hand (it’s January 8th as I type this).  I live in Texas, the Dallas area, though I wish I could say I didn’t.  My Dad and my chihuahua, Chewy, keep me company.  I pretty much have no life, so I make lives up and write them down.  As far as hobbies go, I adore all things Japanese (anime, manga, music, etc.).  Actually, music keeps me sane-ish, and it’s not just the Japanese kind of music.  It’s ALL kinds.  Also, I’m a lover of too many fandoms to even get into.  So yeah, that and a strange obsession with food about sums me up.

ME: How exactly did we meet?

SHAWNA BORMAN: It was my first residency at Stonecoast (some time in January 2013), and I was sitting in a corner, trying my best to be invisible, when you walked up and introduced yourself.  Apparently my superpower was broken.  In Texas, invisibility is easy.  In Maine, not so much.  Maybe it’s the cold.  But yeah, you can blame Stonecoast for being stuck with me!

ME: What is one good memory you have involving me?

SHAWNA BORMAN: Just one?  I guess my second residency, when we sat outside during afternoon presentations and had an actual talk.  We talked about horror and writing and probably a bunch of other stuff.  People don’t usually get the darker side of my personality, but you did and that was nice.  Plus, I’m pretty sure we disgusted Trevor (a fellow Stonecoaster, for those who don’t know him) at one point with gore-talk, which was awesome.

ME: Why exactly are we still friends?

SHAWNA BORMAN: Because, when my initial reaction to someone is “Hmmm… Could I put that in a dress?  Yes, yes I could,” I tend to keep them around.  I kid, I kid (kind of).  No, it’s probably more the fact that I can say that kind of stuff and you don’t get offended.  We’re both creepy, disturbed/disturbing people, so we get along well.  At least, I think we do.  Wait a minute… Why DO you keep me around?

ME: Anything you want me to plug?

SHAWNA BORMAN: Ummm… I have a pretty little website people can check out.  http://shawnaborman.wix.com/official  There’s a blog and everything!  I’ve had it two months and it hasn’t died yet.  It’s a miracle.

 

First of all, I need to congratulate my friend Shawna on graduating from the Stonecoast MFA program this January. She was just a semester behind me and graduated with a good group of people. She was also chosen to give the speech for the popular fiction group and she did a great job, making everyone cry in their seats.

I did indeed walk up and speak with Shawna when I first met her. I noticed her in her chair, and a large man was walking next to her. Both of them were smiling. I can’t recall everything that was said, but I know I introduced myself and made small talk with Shawna and her dad (the large man). It wasn’t a very long talk, as there is always something happening that students must attend during Stonecoast residencies, but she and her dad both seemed like people I wanted to keep talking with.

To my surprise, I worked with Shawna in one of my workshops in the summer. Her story that I helped workshop involved a GPS system which led people to their dooms. (I don’t want to give away all the details here) While that is just a brief synopsis, the GPS story is what solidified my friendship with Shawna. I thought to myself “Anyone who thinks this about a GPS is my friend already.” She has a knack for writing horror and the macabre, and it’s no wonder she was chosen as the speaker for the pop fiction crew in her graduating class.

The other moment is indeed the one that Shawna described where we were all sitting out talking about horror writing, and she and I both laughed together as we grossed out a fellow Stonecoaster, Trevor Gulley – basically because we were trying to one-up each other with gore stuff.

Shawna is a rare person in the sense that no matter what happens, she has a positive outlook. She and her dad drive basically cross-country to get to Maine for Stonecoast residencies and she always posts about their journey, putting a positive spin on things like terrible hotel rooms and bad food. She also puts a humorous twist on things as well, which makes you root for her.

Aside from all that, Shawna is delightfully twisted, showing an appreciation for the bizarre and the creepy. My kind of friend! I’m glad that I was fortunate enough to have worked with Shawna and see her grow as a writer while at Stonecoast, and even more glad that I was fortunate enough to keep her friendship.

And now, I leave you with some relevant photos of Shawna:

A photo I took of Shawna at the Stone House, where Stonecoasters formerly went for workshops, etc. She's in the chair, speaking with her father and a fellow Stonecoaster.

A photo I took of Shawna at the Stone House, where Stonecoasters formerly went for workshops, etc. She’s in the chair, speaking with her father and a fellow Stonecoaster.

Shawna and her dad.

Shawna and her dad.

Shawna and I attending a lecture in the Stone House. Photo by Jim Kelly.

Shawna and I attending a lecture in the Stone House. Photo by Jim Kelly.

Sharing a photo op with Shawna and a fellow Stonecoaster during a Stonecoast dinner.

Sharing a photo op with Shawna and a fellow Stonecoaster during a Stonecoast dinner.

Shawna giving her speech during graduation.

Shawna giving her speech during graduation.

Shawna and I grossing out our friend Trevor with gore talk.

Shawna and I grossing out our friend Trevor with gore talk. Photo by Helen Peppe.

Shawna showing her love of music with a cool Mudvayne hat. (She insists it's not the best band ever, but she loves the skull design)

Shawna showing her love of music with a cool Mudvayne hat. (She insists it’s not the best band ever, but she loves the skull design)

Shawna attends anime conventions (and that shirt gives you a glimpse of her sense of humor). This is her at A-Kon 2007

Shawna attends anime conventions (and that shirt gives you a glimpse of her sense of humor). This is her at A-Kon 2007

Shawna and I share a moment after she graduated.

Shawna and I share a moment after she graduates.

 

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Graduated from Saint Joseph's College Of Maine with a Bachelor's in Fine Arts - Creative Writing as well as Stonecoast, a low-residency MFA program through University of Southern Maine. Has several screenplays, a novel, graphic novel and a memoir all in development.

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