Leadville Liberal Arts: An Inspired Experience

Leadville Liberal Arts: An Inspired Experience

Leadville Liberal Arts“Zach Vazquez recently submitted his final portfolio in my Creative Writing class, a screen play he has been working on for a couple of semesters—at well over 100 pages, it represents the culmination of our time working together as teacher and student, a time characterized by his consistency, maturity, and perseverance.  Zach challenged himself in every class he took from me, and he stunned me with his careful, germane work in composing short and long academic essays, in reading, discussing, and writing about literature (ranging from ancient epics to contemporary American forms), in studio creative writing formats as well as in structured approaches to formal versification.  Zach not only took full advantage of our classes together but also spent his out-of-class time reading more, writing more, and studying more.  His screen play and final essays for literature class represent, as they consistently have, a full synthesis of his studies.  Often blurring the line between undergraduate and graduate levels, and always exhibiting self-motivation as well as intellectual curiosity, Zach deserves our fullest accolade. ”  — Professor Jeffrey Runyon


“This experience was, and still is, beyond anything I had initially anticipated”


Leadville Liberal ArtsZach Vazquez has a story. He’s been persistently writing this story for the past two years, dedicating his free time to a 100+ page screenplay. “I write to tell a story that I would enjoy, even if no one else reads it, and it’s a liberating and reflective process, albeit, on occasion, time-consuming and frustrating; it’s also a practice of self-management.” 

Sometimes I write in the coffee shop, like every other jerk, charging a MacBook and stealing Wi-Fi, but I usually write in my room—alone. Wherever I write, I treat it like a job, as any passion should be treated, extrinsic benefits to the fire!

Zach’s screenplay, currently titled “The Puppet King”, is a blend of fantasy and science fiction. Two siblings, Dawn and Sam, are uprooted from their lives and forced into the unknown, caught between struggles of memory, faith, power, and perceptions of reality: An Epic journey into the lives of the protagonists. 

“Most of what I know of Epic storytelling comes from Joseph Campbell, a prominent scholar of mythology, who I’ve been exploring since taking Epic Literature at CMC–an uncommon part of the standard curriculum! It was because of student interest that Jeff Runyon offered the course; with lingering reservation, it was my favorite class and the most influential to my story, and Jeff made it an incredible experience!”

Leadville Liberal ArtsZach credits liberal arts in Leadville for inspiring him as an emerging writer, specifically faculty members Dave Chimovitz, for philosophy and communication, and Jeff Runyon, for composition, creative writing, and literature Without reservation, it’s the liberal arts and humanities at CMC Leadville that have sharpened my writing skills,” remarks Zach, “CMC is a self-help book; its liberal arts chapter in Leadville is usually skipped, which is unfortunate because it’s worth reading into. It helped to inform my basic competence as a writer, a craft that I had not entirely intended to improve, but I did—and there’s still much to learn.”

As his time with Colorado Mountain College in Leadville comes to a close, Zach hopes to be accepted into the CalArts Character Animation program, returning to his southern California roots. “I am applying to CalArts so I may be immersed in a jungle of artists who share a similar drive and passion, whatever that art may be. I have known the intoxication of being round impassioned individuals and the fantastic influence that interpersonal engagement with such people can have, especially with professors.”