Best Emerging Writer Couple Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach 1999 - Jesse and Lyn Millner
She writes on a laptop at a spare, scratch-and-dent-sale desk in a walk-in closet filled with boots, blouses, and suits; he composes before an oversize screen in a separate study, surrounded by photographs, poetry books, and a cartoon starring Walt Whitman. She sets aside her muse from nine to five, shifting to accounting software; he is constantly crafting stanzas in his head and teaches composition at Nova Southeastern University and Florida International University. When they met three years ago as graduate students in FIU's creative writing program, Lyn and Jesse discovered they shared an affection for Wrigley Field, a Southern Baptist upbringing -- she in Mississippi, he in Virginia -- and a therapeutic preoccupation with their prior experiences. In a poetry manuscript, The Last Dance of the Once Wicked, Jesse is revisiting what he calls "the neighborhoods of my past sorrow," including the tin-roofed farmhouse where "the night rose up on grim haunches/And crickets raised their sharp and dry bodies." That same unflinching lyricism marks his memoir, A Temporary World of Light, a short version of which won the 1998 Alligator Juniper national competition for creative nonfiction and will be published in an Arizona literary journal this year. Lyn, whose nonfiction has appeared in the now-defunct Tropic and on Public Radio International's Marketplace, is also writing a memoir. In Accounting For Myself, the CPA connects money and identity with precise, vivid prose, evoking a child's guilt as her parents squabble over finances. On paper and in person, the Hollywood pair is paving a future with the painful lessons of the past.