Elizabeth Roldan took a Feature Writing course with Susan Hartman at NYU SPS. Susan Hartman subsequently wrote a moving feature story in the New York Times about Elizabeth and her husband Rafael Ramirez as they negotiated the tricky journey toward reuniting as a couple after deployment.
Elizabeth wrote this update for the CALA blog:
“I took a feature writing class at the Center for Applied Liberal Arts at NYU SPS with Susan Hartman. During my time in her class, my husband was in Afghanistan as a Lieutenant in the army. Each week we had a writing assignment. In a practice interview another student focused the interview on my diagnosis of epilepsy. I wrote a personal essay about mother’s death. For the main feature story, I wrote about my husband’s deployment to Afghanistan. I explained the major differences in communication and how it affected our relationship. For example, the last deployment was 10 years ago and we had to go through great lengths to communicate. This time around, technology made communication easy. We were able to speak and see each other every day. Ms. Hartman combined all these stories and wrote a beautiful article about me and my husband. She tells our personal histories and challenges.
It’s been almost a year the since story was published. The article highlighted issues in our relationship including the fact that we both travel separately. We still haven’t gone on a honeymoon but did buy a house. This was a huge process that took 7 months. It brought us closer together. However, we continue to travel separately. I went to Miami for an art festival and to the Bahamas for a girl’s trip. Rafael continues to visit his mom in the Dominican Republic, and next month I am going to Cuba on a cultural research trip and Rafael to Colombia for yet another bachelor event!
The article also mentioned my epilepsy disorder. Within the last year, I had another seizure in a NYC restaurant which required me to be admitted into NY Cornell. But of course, Rafael was by my side by the time I regained consciousness.
Many people reached out to us after the article was published. I think people enjoyed reading about our story. It was a raw look at our relationship.”
Read the full article here
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