Alisa Solovyeva-Petersen, CA

Junior Writer

Alisa’s earliest in-depth interview took place at the age of ten years old, when she was chosen to interview a local World War II veteran for a school project. That one profound experience deepened her love of meaningful connections. Alisa received a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology from University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from Otis College of Art and Design. When she’s not writing, she’s creating her life with miraculous three-year-old twin girls, her husband, and their invisible pug named Frankly.

As a StoryTerrace writer, Alisa interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better by reading her autobiographical anecdote below.

True Love

I’d forgotten until now that it was winter and that in order to go on our afternoon group walks around the kindergarten, we’d all had to layer sweaters, jackets, scarves, head coverings, mittens and wool socks. I’d just learned how to button my own sweater and that meant helping the other kids who were still struggling with the task.

The white flowers in the trees sparkled beneath the lamps and the sounds of our feet crunching the snow were delightfully alive. The snow was too powdery for snowballs, but we tried anyway and I liked to catch snowflakes with my tongue. I made an effort to appear happy, like I didn’t care. I was too stubborn to act any other way. I saw Keril and Natalie walking together. They’d gone ahead first, and then slowed to get lost in the middle of the group while I stayed behind, wanting to stay out there, beyond the walls, for as long as possible. Natalie had walked over to the large hill of snow and motioned for Keril to follow. He hesitated, not wanting to get out of line, he was the therapist’s son, after all. Natalie didn’t like that. She ran over and pulled him by the scarf, like it was his collar. I almost laughed. But I did love him still, and it upset me to see him mistreated. He really was a wuss to allow her to do that. He walked over to the pile of snow, picked her up, spun around several times while she giggled and then dropped her in the middle of the pile. She disappeared into the cold wet snow as the rest of us gasped. The therapist’s son just dumped Natalie in the snow. Was I dreaming? She emerged from the snow shouting, but for once, we couldn’t understand her. Her eyes narrowed into brown slits as she stared at him, waiting for an apology. Everyone laughed while the teacher pushed through the crowd, and as I approached Keril, I heard him say loudly enough for Natalie to hear,“That’s what happens when you are mean to my Alisa.”

Keril took my hand and some girls said “aw,” while the teacher knelt down and brushed the powder snow off Natalie. The thing about the powder is that it absorbs quickly into fabric. For the first time since I’d been forced to live here, I fell asleep not feeling alone that night.

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