If NYU student Marie Southard ever writes an autobiography the title will be, “Wandering Through the Grays and Blues.” Southard has spent her life in a seemingly constant state of flux, as a child moving back and forth between New Jersey and Colombia. She experienced two entirely different cultures, and, slowly, she shapes her own identity through the interaction of her two worlds.

Southard received a startling blow this summer when her sister died. But she remains optimistic and has used the experience to reappraise her ambitions. As she finishes her last year of school, Southard plans for a bright future, one in which her engagement to fiancé Patrick McClave will turn into a wedding celebration and a marriage, and her career as a creative writer will commence.

A Startling Shock: My sister committed suicide. It was just a really intense moment. It shook everyone up and it was so unexpected. She was only 28, so it was pretty big. Since then I kind of spent the summer trying to figure out what I really want to do, and I kind of went on this big road trip and just cleared my head.

Reflect and Reevaluate: After my big trip of reflection, I was just like, ‘I don’t think I want to do [journalism] anymore. I think I’m going to lean more toward creative writing. I want to focus on writing my own stuff. I took a break of creative writing in college just to focus on journalism, but I want to get back to that, because it’s initially what I’ve always really loved and what I see myself doing.

Flying into Fantasy: I think I like being able to create other worlds in it. It is kind of really good escapism. You can write anything you want, whereas, in nonfiction, it’s all relative to what’s going on, and I like being able to kind of drift in to the fantasy side of things.

Her Life in Fiction: If I could be any fictional character, I think I’d want to be Spock from Star Trek. He was half-human, half-Vulcan. Vulcans were supposed to kind of suppress emotion and just live life through reason and logic, but he’s never really sure of which side to hone in on. I think I’ve always gone through that confusion as to whether associate with the Hispanic side or American side.

Nomadic Tendencies: I’m really bad in staying at one place for really long. Even with New York. I love New York but I can’t see myself staying here. I think I’m going to be one of those people who just hops a lot.

Struck and Stilled: But I think I will relocate to northern England in May to be with my boyfriend. I guess I should tell you he’s now my fiancé.

The Proposal, With a 21st Century Twist: It was minimalistic. It was really cute. It was my birthday and we were just hanging out at the house and we had kind of talked about the possibility of getting married or moving in together in passing but not in too much detail. So he had written a little speech on his iPhone, and I think he tried to memorize it but was too nervous, so he had to read it off his phone!

In Five Years Time: I would be working independently doing creative writing. I would be living with Patrick, maybe in Spain. I really love Spain. I’d love to be there and have a nice house on the beach. He’ll probably be doing production work and I’ll have my writing and things will be good.


Written by Mackenzie Gavel