The Durability of Writing in a Fast-Moving World with an MCLA Alumni

Tonimarie Basil, Staff Writer

Writing is most commonly used as stress relief or entertainment worldwide, by people in many different occupations and from all walks of life. Cassidy Rotigliano is a recent MCLA alum, having graduated in 2022, who currently works as a substitute teacher at Bellingham High School in Massachusetts. However, they have exciting plans in September that will help inform the future of their writing, as they will be starting graduate school to earn their Ph.D. in English at Northeastern University.  

Rotigliano started writing when they were in high school, but of course, no one starts out amazing immediately; so, they started with “mostly short stories and pretty bad poetry in high school, but my work evolved a bit when I started to lean into more autobiographical kinds of writing, creative nonfiction, and whatnot.” 

Most of their work currently happens to be somewhere in between autotheory and the hybrid essay form. Their biggest dream for their writing right now is to be able to maintain it as an important practice in their life, they want to “capture some feeling or experience or opinion in a way that feels genuine and real” so that they can retain a feeling of release in their lived experience. 

Now, one tends to start writing for a variety of reasons, one might be the stress relieving qualities, and other might be for public entertainment, but in Rotigliano’s case it was because “I felt like I had more to say than people were willing to listen to me talk about, so writing was a way to filter all that out.”  

Writing is so powerful because it is not just a form of thinking that can be read by just yourself, but by millions of others as well. Rotigliano wants “to uncover something with my writing, I want to open the door for someone else to uncover something like so many doors have been opened for me through reading.”  

MCLA, they said, was a huge influence on their writing not only because the Berkshires “was just the best stimulus for writing” with this “powerful motivation force”, but because the people they were around made writing feel important. Their Professors from the English and Communications Department, namely Caren Beilin and Zach Finch, created an environment where they felt free to openly write, while their classmates were influential in aiding the growth of their creative drive. 

Rotigliano said that the main thing that has kept them writing over the years is the amount of joy it brings to them. Though they note that there are times where they hit a “drought”. During times like these, Rotigliano has had thoughts about throwing in the towel and about giving up on their aspirations, but something always manages to draw them back. 

“The process of sitting down, doing research, finding the right phrase, and really being honest with yourself and your subject as a writer is the kind of challenging work that I find truly energizing and that keeps me coming back,” they said. 

In their opinion, if people weren’t allowed to write they would be very isolated from one another, but if they themselves weren’t allowed to write, “I would be much more distant from my own emotions, from my critical opinions, from my identity, and from my personal perspective on life in general.” 

Rotigliano believes almost every single person has encountered a piece of writing, no matter the medium it took form in, that caused them to think about either themselves or the world differently. Overall, writing is a part of what has helped their views, personality, and identity grow; without writing and the aid of MCLA, there may not have been this opportunity that Rotigliano has.