Hello! My name is Liam Mayo. I’m a student at Bard College, in New York. I’m studying piano performance and written arts, concentrating on classical music, prose fiction, and journalism. I’m the research director for the Bard Free Press, Bard’s only student newspaper, and I’ve written pieces for that publication and the student news website Study Breaks. I haven’t had any fiction published yet, but I’ve written a good number of short stories, and one horrendous novella which hopefully will never see the light of day. In my spare time I like going out and getting lost in nature, as well as playing Dungeons and Dragons; I’m currently running a multi-group campaign which has taught me a surprising amount about storytelling and group dynamics.
I’ve been writing ever since I was a really young boy, and I started reading well before I started writing. Over the years I’ve really come to appreciate the power of writing, particularly fiction, to open new perspectives and new ways of seeing. Through reading stories, I’ve been able to look through new eyes and to see the world the way other people saw it. In writing stories, I’ve had to perform that act of empathy unaided. I’ve had to get inside other people’s heads and speak with their voice, look with their eyes.
This has given me a great appreciation for writing, both fiction and nonfiction, which is aware of the connective power of words, and which utilizes that power effectively. I’ve often seen this type of writing occur in fantasy and science fiction works; something about the fantastical setting convinces readers to put down their biases and approach the world with new eyes, leaving them open for the work of empathy which the writing is trying to do. I’ve also seen this happen with “slice of life” type stories, where the interest lies in how a person lives, day in and day out.