Friday, February 26, 2010

#60 Kim Chinquee: Fully Formed

Kim Chinquee was three weeks late being born and she was a big baby when she finally arrived. She started reading before anybody else in her class and was the salutatorian of her middle school, but her parents divorced when she was 14 and Kim stopped studying in high school. She preferred sports, boys, and parties. When she graduated, she didn't go to college. She couldn't afford it and nobody had told her about financial aid. She was going to join the Navy, but the recruiter wasn't there, so she joined the Air Force instead. She didn’t want to fly planes, but she didn't really want to be a medical lab technician either--it was her 10th choice. She married another lab tech and they had a son a little over one year later. Technically, they were married for 7 years, but they were separated for the last 4 years of their marriage because her husband wouldn't sign the divorce papers. He couldn't believe that she actually wanted to leave him. The divorce finally became official and Kim left the Air Force too. She joined the Reserves, but the next few years were a difficult time. She was a single mother working multiple jobs, taking classes toward her college degree, and paying for food with food stamps. She took her first creative writing class because it filled a general education requirement and has been a writer ever since--though she never admitted that fact until she won the Henfield Prize and the 5K dollar award that goes with it. Now she is a creative writing professor at Buffalo State College and has published a great book of tiny stories called OH BABY. She may have started her writing life a little late, but she has arrived fully formed.

[Update: Kim Chinquee's beautiful second book, PRETTY, is now available. Kim Chinquee also recently became the fiction and creative nonfiction editor at elimae.]

[Also: Kim Chinquee's blog. And: Kim Chinquee's OH BABY.]


LitPark said...

Michael, I love these postcard life stories! And thanks for featuring one of my very favorite writers.

Michael Kimball said...

Thanks, Susan. I love Kim's writing too and am excited whenever she has new work out. And congratulations to you on your book coming out this fall. Best, M

Kim Chinquee said...

Thanks for the plug and nice words, Michael. And Susan! (Hello.)