Last Wednesday, the Greyfriar Living Literature Series hosted Rachel Hall, an award winning author of the story collection Heirlooms. I attended her Craft Talk which was held during free period. Rachel Hall teaches at SUNY Geneseo.
The topic for her Craft Talk was “The Rite Stuff: Using Ritual, Repetition and Return to Shape Stories.” She discussed how ritual is and can be an important part in shaping a story.
After the Craft Talk I sat down with Rachel and asked her two questions I had, the first question I asked was, “When did you realize you wanted to write for a living?”
Like many writers, Rachel explained that it all started in a creative writing course she took in college. She noted that, “I ended up taking this fiction writing class because my roommate signed up and I just fell in love.” I also asked her what college she went to. She went to Knox College which is a small Liberal arts college in Galesburg, IL. She explained that being at Siena that day reminded her a lot of her time in college.
The next question I asked her was, “Is there a ritual you witnessed that kickstarted your fascination with ritual that made you want to write about them?”
Rachel says that the ritual that made her interested in the idea was when her and her mother and brother went to this ceremony for her deceased grandfather. They were in a cemetery in France and they placed a stone on his grave as an act of remembrance. She learned this Jewish ritual while she was there and it stuck with her. It was after this, that she became fascinated with how rituals can shape stories and how important they can be in telling stories.
Thank you so much to Rachel for coming to Siena! Check out a few of the pictures above of the amazing event!