You can call me Melissa Hyatte. I am a poet and writer, as well as the creator of a vast universe which I call Zennis. It consists of several different planets, forms of magic, and just about anything I can imagine. (And being a fan of Peter and Wendy, I can imagine a lot.) The galaxy is the accumulation of more than a decade of devlopment.
I began telling stories when I was seven, for the pleasure of my imaginary friends alone. At age eleven, I got it into my head to write my adventures down and at thirteen, Brightland, my first country in Zennis, was born. In high school, I did competitve storytelling, as well as competing in local poetry slams. In 2008, I graduated and began school at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, NM, where I studied creative writing.
My first exposure to language play was Dr. Seuss and T. S. Eliot’s Book of Practical Cats. I didn’t know it at the time, but I loved the way these authors layered words together to invoke particular sounds. (Think of “Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat” which is written to sound like a train.) I started writing poetry when I was nine, and early one used a lot of form and rhyme. Children’s poetry was my specialty. In college, I studied linguistics, and inforporated my new understanding of phonetics and phonology to analyze poetry and write my own. I even did a presentation on sound poetry for one of my classes.
After graduating from UNM, my adoration for language (and my interest in Lithuania–where my family is from) led me to a TESOL program through LCC International University in Klaipeda, Lithuania. I am currently taking classes online while living in Arkansas and volunteering with local ESL students.
Aside from school, I am currently involved in two major projects, both Zennis related. The first is a novel about a young mage off to college, the second a webseries, taking place a couple years later, about his brother. You can read about that and more right here. I don’t know where all this is going, but I don’t entirely care, as long as there are words involved.