Writer Spotlight: Molly Tippey

The Creative Writing Process from Inside the Mind of a Writer


Molly Tippey was interviewed about her creative writing background.

Molly Tippey is currently a sophomore at AMHS who is a member of Creative Writing Club. She came to AMHS from SOA for middle school where she majored in creative writing. Below is a poem that she wrote as well as an excerpt from a short story she is currently working on. I also interviewed Molly about creative writing in general and the pieces she has shared.


Sinner’s Beloved (Sins)

—after Nick Flynn


When heaven comes


crashing down

and settling itself into earth,

ripping open the sky,

will I get to see you again?


Angels like dripping

colors kiss the ground with their

feathery wings, while sins cling to you like honey.


It was always said you sinned

because of me, but I was never to blame.

For when forgiveness wrapped itself around you


like snakes, I remained no angel, waiting

to be swallowed by the golden ribbons too.


We were always the first, so please. Slip

your hand into mine; no, wait. Grab

my hand before it’s too late.


Tug me along behind you and show me the pureness

of the world glinting in your eyes. Before

it fades away like paint bleached by the sun.


Smile for me so I can see joy sketched onto your face

before the knowledge of all the dead men

tug the corners of your mouth.


Study me like the back of your hand

Until you know every detail.


And when the Father pokes his finger at the canvas

painted by milky cosmos, the torn seam down

the middle will slowly stitch itself together


with apologies handed out like flyers

promising forgiveness as a limited time offer.


Excerpt from A Study on the Butterfly Effect by Molly Tippey

We were pressed together like wax and paper, huddling under the cover of my jacket. The rain nestled into the folds. We sat in the bed of my truck, legs tangled together under a towel. There was water running down the curves of your face, highlighting the sharpness of your features in the moonlight. You were laughing about something I said, but I don’t remember the details. I was staring at you with that melancholy kind of fondness, and realized why they call it heartbreak.


But as my grandmother tells me, we all must go back to our roots. I must go back to the summers that oozed by like molasses, lazy mosquitos circling my head like halos. Days became dust in my memories, details slipped through my fingers. My childhood was filled with dust.


My first memory is of a cloudy window gazing out over the desert. Mamá sat on her bed, holding me in her lap, my chubby fist tangled in her hair. She was murmuring sweet whispers in my ear, smoothing her hand over my head. The sun climbed steadily upward, painting the sky with a brilliance of colors.  


From that moment up until I met you, my memories become tangled. I remember voices, colors, smells, tastes, and people. The people were always the most vibrant. You fit right in, caught up in the rollercoaster that is my family. People who didn’t know what an inside volume was, where words were louder than actions. Yet, you were always the odd one out. The one who preferred to listen rather than speak. In a family where the noise never stopped, they found comfort in your silence.


You used to tell me that you wished you were more like me. Someone who made friends in bathrooms, who laughed in a room of complete silence, who danced through life like the ground was on fire. At least, that’s what you told me. You said that I didn’t just come into your life. I️ crashed.


And, while it may seem poetic, I know you meant literally. The fourth day of fourth grade, recess. I was trying to see how far I could launch myself off the swing, if Stacy Gouldbur was telling the truth. She said her brother went so high he started floating, up, up, up, and they had to use a helicopter to bring him back down. Eyes closed, feet dangling, I let go. Landed right on top of you. You were sent to the nurse, I to the principal. Later, when my teacher forced me to apologize, you looked at me like I had grown two heads. “You proved Stacy wrong,” was all you mumbled before walking away.


Hey Molly! Can you tell us a little about yourself and your interests (creative writing and other interests as well)?

Well, obviously I like writing, but I haven’t been able to do it as much as I would like. I also really enjoy art, and I’m currently learning to play the guitar and ukulele.


How’s sophomore year going so far?

Sophomore year is going pretty well! My favorite class is theatre (or focus if that counts,,, it probably doesn’t though). As always, it’s hectic and stressful, but that’s high school for you.


Do you prefer writing short stories or poetry or some other type of writing?

I probably prefer writing short stories and vignettes (those are super short stories) over poems. Don’t get me wrong, I love poetry, but it’s really hard to write, especially in form. With stories, there’s a lot more wiggle room. You can add paragraphs and even take out entire pages. It’s easy to tell what’s working and what’s just,,, not. With poetry, it’s much harder.


How did you first become interested in creative writing and how has your journey led you to where you are with your writing today?

My fourth grade teacher actually inspired me to start writing. He introduced me to the world of writing and pushed me to pursue it. Because of him, and then the continuous support I got from my fifth grade teachers, I tried out for SOA for creative writing. I attended SOA for all of middle school, so I really had no choice but to write. All of the creative writing teachers there are amazing people who helped me develop my writing into something I was actually proud of. Without them, my writing would be nowhere near where it is.


In your poem “Sinners Beloved (Sins)” you say that it is after Nick Flynn. Can you tell us a little bit about why you decided to make the poem after him and who he is?

I actually wrote that poem in eighth grade. We were given an assignment to pick a poet we admired and write a poem in their style. His style uses lots of imagery that changes at a rapid pace. He never stays in the same place, but his images are all connected. He inspires me a lot through his work and how personal it is. In his poem, “My Mother Contemplating Her Gun”, he tells the story of his mother’s suicide. My favorite poem by him is “Cartoon Physics, part 1” (definitely read it, it’s so good), which talks about how a child experiences the world. His poems are insanely deep, and I’m a big fan of his work.


Where did your inspiration for this poem come from?

I don’t really remember where my inspiration came from? Whenever I can’t sleep, I write in my head, so it probably came from some random 3 A.M. thought. I remember in my first draft the only lines that worked were “Slip your hand into mine; no, wait. Grab my hand before it’s too late.” These were the only lines that worked for the next few drafts as well. So, I guess I got inspiration for the rest of the poem from those.


You’re currently working on a short story as well; where did your inspiration for that story come from and where do you plan to go with it?

Writing is something that should always be personal. Without emotions, it is nothing. The inspiration for this story came from a friendship I had. We relied on each other too much and we didn’t realize this until she became diagnosed with depression. I tried to “fix” it by myself and she began blaming me for whatever went wrong. It was an unhealthy relationship. So, I stepped back. My story will be based on these events. A lot of the stories we read now are about romantic love, but I wanted to write something about a platonic love. The characters will basically tell my story, but through their own lives. I just hope it turns out alright.


What does your writing process look like?

I don’t have a definite writing process. I sit down and basically stare at the screen until I think of something. But, when I get even a little inspired, I force myself to keep writing. The important thing is to just keep going. If I don’t know what word or sentence to put in, I just keyboard smash in all caps, then keep going. That way I can go back and revise later. Always always always edit it after you write. If you do it while you’re writing, you lose your train of thought.


What role does creative writing play in your life?

Creative writing has always been an outlet for me. When I’m overwhelmed, I write about it (sometimes not even on paper. I do it in my head a lot too.). I’m constantly thinking, and my thoughts aren’t always the most coherent. While some people have neatly stacked and filed thoughts, mine look like a tornado wrecked the office, if you get what I’m saying. Writing and drawing help me focus.


Who are your favorite authors and poets and why?

My favorite authors as of now are David Wong (he wrote John Dies at the End) and David Arnold (he wrote Kids of Appetite). I like Wong’s writing because it is outlandish and very funny. His books are like very poorly done horror films with a side of fart humor. I love Arnold’s writing because his is very deep. He uses metaphors and references themes over and over throughout his books, and they’re just beautiful. Every time I read his writing my mind is blown. I don’t know that many poets (well, except for Nick Flynn). Though, two of my favorite poems are “Pass On” by Michael Lee and “Scratch and Dent Dreams” by Eric Darby.


Any reading recommendations for those just starting to dive into the world of creative writing?

Well, obviously I think someone should read any of the works I listed above or by the authors (DAVID ARNOLD DEFINITELY) I talked about. Other than that, I don’t really have that many recommendations. It helps to read works in the area you want to write as well. Read what you want to write, and write what you want to read.


How has creative writing changed the way you think about the world?

Creative writing has definitely changed how I think about the world. I have become much more observant about what is happening around me. It has also contributed to quite a few existential crises. Writing also humbles you. It makes you realize that everyone around you has their own unique story, their own unique life. The man you passed on the way into the gas station, it could have been his birthday, or it could have been the day he was fired from his job. You never know.

Writing also humbles you. It makes you realize that everyone around you has their own unique story, their own unique life. The man you passed on the way into the gas station, it could have been his birthday, or it could have been the day he was fired from his job. You never know.

— Molly Tippey

What role do you think creative writing will play in college and your future?

I think writing will always hold a special place in my heart. It will always be an outlet for me, I don’t think I could ever give it up. While I’m not writing as much as I would like to be at the moment, I’m trying to find time (and inspiration) to continue improving.


Thank you so much to Molly Tippey for agreeing to publish her work and giving such insightful answers about her work and creative writing in general.