Hiram College

“I’ve always been a writer. I think I’ve been interested in writing since the first day I could talk,” said Nick Sawatsky ‘14. “It’s a process, a catharsis, that helps me figure things out.”

Nick’s passion for writing has paid off. His first place finish in the Lindsay-Crane Center for Writing and Literature’s Ralph and Marion G. Kroehle Creative Non-Fiction Contest won him $300.

Nick will read from his prize-winning piece, “Thank You For Running From the Police” at reception to honor the winners at noon Thursday, February 23 in the Pritchard Room (second floor) of the Library. Joining him will be senior Sarah Pavolko, who claimed the $200 second place prize, with her story, “Revising,” Alex Gill, ‘12, who placed third and claimed $100 for his piece “Junkers,” and honorable mention winners, junior Michelle Allamon, for her story, “Mother Knows best,” and senior Francesca Luppino, ‘12, with her creation, “Rwanda Beware.”

Because the contest was for non-fiction, Nick’s story tied together two very different real-life experiences – setting free two laboratory mice from a pet store, and discovering a used marijuana pipe in the same suburban park – into a creative reflection on youth, authority, and freedom.

“My friend and I went to a pet store and saw these mice they were using to feed the snakes,” he remembered, “We got to thinking about setting things free, so we went to the park and set them loose. Then I found a glass pipe like the kind used for smoking marijuana and I thought about who had dropped there and why. We figured the only reason they dropped it there was because they were running from the police.”

Nick hopes to pursue writing as his life’s work, and has already begun thinking about graduate school, even though it doesn’t guarantee success as a writer.

“It would be ideal to write for a living,” he said. “I know it’s very hard, but an MFA program can make you the kind of trained writer that can succeed. You can’t teach imagination or talent, but (in a writing program) you will be sharing your passion with others who have the same passion, and you can hone your technique.”

His imagination and technique so far have carried his prize winning story to publication. “Thank You For Running From the Police,” has already been published in the online literary magazine “Stumble.”

Read the story in its entirety on the magazine’s website.