I am usually not the type who likes hearing literature being read aloud, I typically prefer to read it myself. However, I genuinely enjoyed the “Writers from Rutgers” reading session. I think I found it entertaining largely because the different creative writing pieces which were shared with the audience were so varied in terms of genre and topics. I found Professor McKeon’s love story about two young adults living in Ireland to be very intriguing and gripping. The way in which she characterized the people in her book drew me into the storyline even though she read only a very small selection of the book. Professor Wirstiuk’s poems and flash fiction story were a nice change of pace and the poem “What the Garden State Gave” brought me back to my own fond memories of growing up in New Jersey. For example, the reference of the blueberries being locally grown reminded me of my days working at a Farmer’s Market where I was always seeing these farm-fresh blueberries that customers would go absolutely crazy over! I especially liked the short story “Tinseled Twigs” because of the ways in which the image of the Christmas tree represented on a larger scale a crumbling relationship. I think using the image told so much to the reader without having to directly say that the relationship was not working out. And lastly, Professor Blaney’s novel-in-the-making about the crown of thorns was a really creative storyline. I think it was very fascinating how much he was able to incorporate within a story that all started with a simple crown of thorns hidden behind a bathroom stall.
My favorite part of the session, however, was the question-and-answer part at the end. I gained a lot of useful information about some of the processes and methods that all three successful creative writers utilize when doing their work. One of the most interesting ideas I took out of this was that a story does not have to be worked out in detail prior to writing. Often, everything can begin simply with a powerful image, and the writer will find the story developing more naturally as they continue to write. I also agree that it’s more exciting as a writer to not know how the story ends while writing it. Rather, it’s best to take the writing one step at a time and see how the story develops over time to reach the most desirable ending. I really liked hearing some of the writer’s more personal methods, such as going to a different location other than home to write, putting aside two hours where you can do nothing except write, etc. However, I think the most useful information I got out of this session was that it’s okay to realize that you may find yourself writing the same ideas but in different ways. This is something that I find myself wondering about as an aspiring creative writer. But I think hearing someone else say not only that they too have experienced it, but also that they have accepted it and now embrace it rather than fight against it will relieve some of the concern that I have with this. I took away a lot more than I expected to from this session and am grateful for all the helpful advice which the writers and professors shared with their students!