Emily Nagin, PA

Junior Writer

Emily received an MFA in fiction from the University of Michigan Helen Zell Writers’ Program. She is the social media manager for Print Oriented Bastards, an online literary journal for emerging writers and artists. Her short stories have appeared in New Ohio Review and the Main Street Rag, and she is currently at work on a novel. Emily’s hobbies include knitting, thrifting, hanging out with her cat, and reading as much as possible. She used to row, but quit after sinking a boat.

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

The Weird Old Days

When I was eight years old, I made myself a sister. I am an only child, and partly because I was shy, partly because I was given to making up outlandish stories (I once told a group of neighborhood kids that the bush in front of my house was haunted), I spent a lot of time alone.

I did have two close friends, both of whom had brothers. One brother was a teenager who never brushed his long, black hair and called me Cork Nose; the other was so young that I hardly bothered to notice him. I didn’t envy my friends and their brothers specifically, but I did wish for a sibling of my own. I wanted a sister, not a brother. A twin, who had psychic powers—obviously, I would have them too—and who would make up a secret language with me. I had some girl cousins who lived on a dairy farm. They were each a year apart in age, and the two of them had a secret language.

One day, I decided to make myself a sister. I stuffed an old pair of jeans and a t-shirt with newspaper and sewed them together. My mother is an artist, and at the time she collected Styrofoam wig heads. I painted one with brown hair and green eyes and pinned it to the collar of the shirt. The final product was only slightly creepy. Mostly, the doll was cool: she was almost my size, and I’d made her entirely on my own. I strapped my sister doll to the front of my bike and rode up and down the street, so she could get some fresh air.

I think my parents still have my sister doll in the attic. Their street now houses a pack of children who ride their bikes up and down the hill. Watching them, I wonder if my older neighbors remember my dummy and me, what they made of us, and whether they’re ever nostalgic for the weird old days.

Emily Nagin kid

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