I hope you’re all staying warm out there, hopefully the warm weather will return soon! Having just returned from spring break, there are several events through the School of Liberal Arts coming up within the next few weeks and I was so excited to have the opportunity to attend the English Department’s Greyfriar Living Literature Series reading yesterday, which featured novelist Pamela Erens. Ms.Erens is a highly accomplished author, with several short stories under her belt and three published novels, all of which have become incredibly successful. The Understory, The Virgins, and Eleven Hours have all won major awards and most recently, Eleven Hours has been placed onto the “Best Books of 2016.” During the reading, Ms. Erens read a large excerpt from Eleven Hours, which take place during one woman’s entire labor process and how she copes with the incredible, yet terrifying prospect of childbirth. As someone with a passion for writing and literature, it was fascinating to have the chance to hear Ms. Erens read her own work out loud and to see what her thought process was behind the characters and the overall idea of childbirth.
The audience was able to engage in a Q&A session after the initial reading and I was curious about what her greatest challenge is as a writer and novelist. She said that to be a novelist requires a lot of risk taking and that the business can be very uncertain at times. If someone is working on a piece of writing for a year and a half, but then is forced to abandon the project because the ideas stop coming, then it seems as though all that time was wasted. Eleven Hours took Ms. Erens three years to write and she began the novel a multitude of times, trying to figure out the best direction to set the characters and plot it. This, however, is incredibly normal for anyone who has ever tried to write a longer creative writing piece. Great ideas come with thought and they come with practice and they come with mistakes. No one ever completed a novel perfectly on the first try and this is something that I have tried to keep in mind throughout my years of writing. I am constantly watching different authors, whether they are my favorite authors or whether they be guest speakers in some of my classes because they have gone past these obstacles to become incredibly successful.
Ms. Erens is going to be on campus again today to give a craft talk and writing activity in the Boland Room (Father Benjamin Kuhn House) at 4:10pm. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend, you do NOT have to be studying English or Writing and just remember to bring a notebook and something to write with!
Julia Lowney (Student Intern)