The Asterisk

Interview with Annie Rus

Annie is a sophomore student double majoring in English and History, with minors in Creative Writing and Japanese. We asked her some questions about the writing life, and her hypothetical pet walrus.
What kind of creative writing activities are you involved in? 

I live in Writing House. I go to Lit Soc. I am usually an editor on the staff of the Lantern. I was on the fiction staff last year and this year I’d really like to work in the poetry section…and I really would like to start a small scale online literary magazine which anyone, like not just Ursinus students, can contribute to, just so that we can be more accessible to the community. But that’s still a work in progress. That hasn’t happened yet. It’s probably going to be people at an undergraduate level. Not, like, toddlers. 


When did you first become interested in writing?

Um, that’s hard to say because the first time I ever wrote anything…it was a story that I wrote in second grade for this state contest. It was the Maryland Young Author’s contest. I won for the state in my grade level. And so when that happened everyone was really excited and they put me into this, like, special little group of people with this one teacher who thought that she was gonna have us all as collector’s items because we were all gonna make her famous or something. And so then I decided that I hated writing and I didn’t do it again for, like, years. The next time I wrote anything just for myself and enjoyed I was twelve or thirteen. And so that’s when I actually started writing. And without hating it. 


Who are your favorite authors and/or books? Why?

I was really influenced by Ray Bradbury when I started out…cause he has this sort of intersection of magic and science fiction and I loved his short stories. Kurt Vonnegut. Cat’s Cradle was the first book that really I read over and over, that wasn’t a kid’s book, I guess. I also really love Watership Down and Lord of the Rings…and that’s all, like, fiction authors. I mean, I really like David Sedaris, who is kind of an outlier in that group. 


What has been your favorite Creative Writing class at Ursinus?

Intro to Creative Writing with Dr. Volkmer, because it was my first time in a college workshop setting. And in high school, workshop was basically like, our teacher gave us Oreos and then we would read and then nobody would comment on anything. Except to say, like, that was a really nice line you had there. We weren’t allowed to critique anyone else’s work. If we didn’t like something, all we could say was “I think you should extend this.” So now if anyone says that to me I get jittery because I’m like, oh my god, they’re just saying they hate it. So yeah, I enjoyed that transition to a more, actually helpful environment, and the chance to work with all these different mediums. I didn’t really write poetry until I came to college. Poetry was the first thing I had to push myself to do.


What are you passionate about, besides writing?

My first impulse was to say I like to…I’m gonna try to find a way to phrase this that doesn’t sound creepy. Insects is the answer, I’m trying to find a way to…bugs! Bugs! I like to go hiking and biking and I like to go out into the woods and take pictures. I actually do a lot of photography but I don’t really show it to anyone. And I like to try to find wildlife and I take pictures of flora and fauna…I record stuff in my nature journal, instead of a diary. It’s a really nice, relaxing exercise. 


What would you name your pet walrus? 

I guess I would name my walrus Lady Neptune, because she’s the princess of the seas.


If you could have anything in the place of your non-dominant hand, what would you choose?

Oh man, that’s a tough one. Hm. Probably a grappling hook so that I could climb stuff.


Do you have anything else you’d like to share?

If anyone has any tips on growing sage, I would really appreciate them because my sage isn’t doing very well. Wait, I’m still thinking about the walrus question. I mean, Lady Neptune is a good name, but is it too regal?