Tag Archives: reading

Attending a Literary Event

Okay, this is something that has been a long time in the making, because, frankly, I didn’t like the way is sounded when I first wrote it. But anyway…

About a month ago, the English department at my University put on several literary events, including a Grad School Panel and one on one (well, one on twenty really) sessions where local authors would come in to talk to students.

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One of the best events put on this semester was the In Print Festival (this event takes place annually at Ball State University). It’s a two night event – night one a reading, night two a Q&A session – where local emerging authors visit the campus. This year there were some pretty colorful character there, including:

1) Eugene Cross with his book Fires of Our Choosing, (Interview)

2) Marcus Wicker with his book of poetry Maybe the Saddest Thing, (Interview) and

3) Elena Passarello with her book Let Me Clear My Throat. (Interview)

Each author was extremely talented and interesting to talk/listen to. However, there are certain things you want to do before attending a literary event.

1) Do research – Just like when you’re getting ready to query or pitch a story, you want to do a little research about the guest authors attending the event. You don’t have to go nuts, but read up a little about them, and if you can’t find the information, don’t worry about it then.

2) Bring a copy of the authors’ work(s) with you – When the reading is finished, if allowed, go up to the author and ask them to sign your book. It’s a great time to talk to the author real quick about their work. I talked with all three guest authors at In-Print, and it was extremely rewarding.

3) Read a little of the work – You don’t necessarily have to read the entire book/collection, but it’s a good idea to read a little to get a feel of the author’s style. You may discover a new favorite author/book, plus you will have more to say to the author than: “I liked your book.”

4) Pen and Paper – Now, I’m not saying you should sit there and actively take notes like you’re in a seminar, but it’s a good idea to have a pen and paper tucked away somewhere so you can jot down any advice you find helpful.

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These are the more important things to keep in mind when going to a literary event, especially if you’re going for more than just the reading. In all my time at college, I’ve never experienced a group of authors quite like the ones at In-Print this year. It was extremely entertaining and something I wouldn’t have missed, and neither should you.

Look for literary events going on in or around your town. There aren’t any? Get some people together and put one on yourself!

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10 Things…

…I Hate About You. Just kidding!. Love the movie though. No, but really: 10 Things I Learned About Being a Writer… This week.

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This week my university hosted quite a few literary events. 1) the Grad panel about MFA programs for creative writers. 2) In-Print Festival Round 1: Readings. 3) In-Print Festival Round 2: Q&A Panel. Not to mention various classroom visits by all four of the talented In-Print authors – Marcus Wicker, Eugene Cross, Elena Pasarello, and Sarah Wells. But anyway…

What have I learned?

1) Build a writing community OUTSIDE of school. Writing is a very solitary activity, and once you’re out of school, you don’t really have that community anymore.

2) Give your manuscript draft to people you trust. While you’re still in the editing process, ask someone you trust to take a red pen to it. It makes the process a little less daunting when you know that person won’t take your work for granted.

3) You can’t call yourself a writer if you don’t write. Enough said. – Marcus Wicker

4) Don’t be afraid of rejection. I know, easier said than done. Trust me, I know. I cringe away at the thought of possible rejection, but without rejection there can be no progress. And if that one publishing company or literary magazine rejects you, they’re probably not right for you. Go back, edit, revise, reread, resubmit.

5) Don’t let life get in the way of writing. It’s all too easy to let everyday things like bills, work, family, and everyday stress get in the way of your writing. Set time aside each day or week to just sit down and write. Find yourself stuck – read, and read a lot, until something jostles lose in your brain and then return to that blank page.

6) Don’t be afraid of the blank page. Write. It doesn’t have to be perfect the first time around. It doesn’t even have to be good, it just has to be written. So write!

7) Don’t be afraid of “The Abyss.” That long dark emptiness between projects. Every author faces it. Just push through it, even when it seems difficult or impossible. -Cathy Day

8) Be open to the idea of change. During editing, always be open to the idea of change, maybe there’s an idea you never considered. In the end, it’s usually up to you, but at least hear others out.

9) Grad School, it’s not for everybody. If you decide you want to go, you don’t have to become a professor when you’re finished either.

10) Write. Write. Write. Write. Write. It’s the only way you’ll get things done. But don’t try to set impossible deadlines, like completing a book by the end of the year. Because you will get discouraged and not want to return to the project all that soon.

I wish that flowed as smoothly as Kat’s “10 Things” poem in the movie “10 Thing I Hate About You,” but alas. I do not write poetry, couldn’t if I tried. It will always allude me – the 11th thing I learned this week.

El fin.

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Pink is for Girls, Blue is for Boys

Pink is for girls, blue is for boys…something we’ve all heard or thought at one point or another, right? I’ll admit I used to think that, until I had a blue room, then I thought I was a rebel. But what is with these stereotypes, that certain things are for boys only and others are for girls only? Currently, one of my classes is dealing with the idea of stereotypes when it comes to reading (specifically, when it comes to reading comics), and it got me thinking: How many people actually fit into these stereotypes?

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We were assigned a couple of readings about manga comics and throughout the entire reading, the idea kept coming up that comics are for men. Then, one of my classmates explained that because it’s written mostly by men, mostly men read it. But is that really true? In my head this explanation translated to: comics, adventure, horror, etc are for boys and girls should stick to romance. It’s thought that I’m supposed to be reading romance, instead of secretly snuggling up with horror books. Where do we get these ideas, anyway? Just because most romance books are written by women means that women are supposed to read them?

Some of my favorite authors are men (Stephen King, JM Barrie, Michael J Fox, etc) and my favorite female authors wrote books with male leads (JK Rowling, SE Hinton, etc), so what does that say about me? Does anyone actually fit into these stereotypes? I know I sure don’t.

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A Sudden Hunger

Thirst. Hunger. Need. Want. All words associated with the sudden desire to devour more books than would seem humanly possible. Recently, my hunger for books has seemed insatiable. Ever year, my mom asks me to write up a Christmas list – a list of ideas for Christmas gifts so she’s not bumbling around in the dark and so I can still be surprised Christmas morning, not fully knowing what will be waiting for me. Being her only child, she still enjoys this part of Christmas very much, despite the fact that I am twenty-two. This year, I received five books among my gifts. Before I returned to campus I had already read four of them. Between December 25 and January 8, amidst the Christmas festivities, my grandparents’ anniversary, New Year’s celebrations, and my mom’s birthday, I was able to become completely lost in four separate books, all over 300 pages.

Upon my return home this past weekend, I had one major project: clean up my room. My mom is getting the house refinanced and is expecting an inspector, so my room needed to be in tip-top shape. This meant getting rid of the books that cluttered up my room. Besides the extremely large built-in bookshelf that encompasses one solid wall in the basement Rec room, I have a small collection on an even smaller bookshelf in my room – a place to put my absolute favorites, just inches from my bed. So, I pulled all the books around me and embarked upon the seemingly impossible task of choosing which would stay and which would be banished to the basement bookshelves – book shelves I have to climb in order to actually reach any of my books. During this brief stay, I informed my mom to keep an eye out for a delivery for me – more books, to my delight and her dismay. Not that she doesn’t like books, we are just running out of room to stash them.

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When I told one of my friends how many books I had read, she looked at me, pure shock on her face, and demanded: “How do you do that???” I shrugged my shoulders. I don’t know. Do I graze? Do I daze off? Do I actually pay attention? I don’t know. I’d like to think I pay attention and take everything in. So, then, I began to wonder if it was the material I was reading. Was it too easy? I didn’t think so. Here’s my GoodReads, check it out for yourself.

Even now, I’m tempted to abandon this blog and pick up one of my books. Am I the only one who finds themselves reading like this at times? And not just out of necessity for work or school, but for fun? I hope not. I am reminded of a quote from Stephen King: “Books are a uniquely portable magic.” Is this what happened to me? Was I transported by the book’s magic, losing myself in it? I hope so.

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