I’ve been told more than once that if I ever sat down to write about my childhood, it would be a bestseller.

And if they ever made a movie out of it, it would air on Lifetime.

My name is Hunter Goddard, and I’m a writer in Denver, Colorado. Born and raised in the Mile High City, I graduated from the University of Denver in 2022 as a Master of Arts in Professional Creative Writing with a concentration in Nonfiction. In 2015, I graduated from Colorado State University Fort Collins a year early as a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Media Communication, with a concentration in Publications Writing, Editing, and Production, as well as an interdisciplinary minor in Film Studies.

As for my professional career, I first produced award-winning content while an underclassman in high school, when my submission to the 2009 Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition earned honorable mention in the Genre Short Stories category. From there, I landed my first job as a Student Blogger and Social Media Intern at the CSU Department of Public Relations in 2013 before becoming an Arts and Entertainment Reporter for The Rocky Mountain Collegian that same year. In 2014, I would go on to be one of six students in the four-state area to receive the Colorado Society of Professional Journalists Helen Verba Scholarship for Print Journalism, in addition to the Clyde E. Moffitt Memorial Scholarship. Around that same time, I volunteered as a Disc Jockey at 90.5 KCSU FM, and also worked my way up to Features Editor of College Avenue Magazine. The following year, College Avenue placed regionally in the SPJ’s Mark of Excellence Awards, in addition to one of my personal essays running in CSU’s literary journal, The Greyrock Review.

Then – in the interest of full transparency – I took a personal hiatus from writing between 2015 and 2019.

During that gap in my career, I found a licensed professional counselor who diagnosed me with borderline personality disorder, bipolar I disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Indeed, when I was twelve years old, my parents succumbed to their respective substance use disorders within three weeks of each other. They’d battled the symptoms of their addictions my entire life, which meant a childhood’s worth of trauma for me to cope with.

I can still taste the burnt popcorn I microwaved on the nights they were too inebriated to cook dinner for us, because it was all I knew how to make. The smell of vodka is still enough to hurt my head and my stomach.

Maybe that’s why, in the years after they died, I developed such a passion for storytelling. After all, I haven’t forgotten the feeling of playing my favorite video games, watching my favorite movies, lounging in front of my favorite TV shows, listening to my favorite music, and reading my favorite books until my parents stopped screaming at each other in the basement.

Either way, I rediscovered my inspiration in 2019, when I finished first in the Print or Online Articles category of the 88th Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition. Such recognition empowered me to close my resume gap and apply first for my Staff Writing position with MovieBabble the next year, then graduate school, which opened the door to my Contributing Writer role at the Arts & Life desk of The DU Clarion. That same year, I claimed honorable mention in the Memoirs and Personal Essay category of the 89th Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition, and the subsequent year, I secured my internship as a Social Media Coordinator with the DU Division of Marketing & Communications from 2021 to 2022.

Since then, I have enrolled in a dialectical behavior therapy group to treat my BPD, where we are expected to write diary cards journaling our respective mental health recoveries. In my approach to aestheticizing these weekly assignments into dramatic narratives, where all the conflict in my life resolves itself in a rousing climax, I am able to simulate a more beautiful reality – one that’s worth fighting for.

My hope for my life’s work is that it’ll mark a celebration of the capacity literature has to change lives.

As you can see, it’s certainly saved mine.