Yesterday, I had the tremendous privilege to participate in Chemeketa Writes, a program at Oregon’s Chemeketa Community College where writers speak to students about the craft of writing and read from their work. I was the first reader on the Yamhill campus in McMinnville, so it was a double honor for me!
The poster for my reading was designed by students in a Chemeketa design class, and I love their final draft! (One correction: the caption under my portrait claims I’ve won an Oregon Book Award, which I haven’t — I’m an Oregon Literary Fellowship recipient.) But when I arrived for my reading, I was thrilled to discover all the other prototypes the students put together — they’re all so impressive! I would have been happy with any of them!
I read from my novel Hagridden, the book that earned me an Oregon Literary Fellowship, and talked about how I came to write that novel and the kind of research I did for it. I wasn’t sure going in how that part of my talk would go over, but it’s something I love talking about, and the audience seemed interested in it.
Then I read a few selections from the novel, which also went over exceptionally well!
During the Q&A, people asked great questions about how I captured the inner lives of two women in the Civil War and what symbolic functions the rougarou serve in the novel.
Of course, yesterday wasn’t just about my novel — it was also the release day for my chapbook, Box Cutters, from sunnyoutside press. So I got to talk that up a bit and, while I haven’t yet received my copies and so didn’t have any on hand to sell, several people in the audience came up afterward to sign up to receive a copy as soon as they arrive!
Overall, it was a fantastic day, and I’m thrilled to have been invited. Thanks to all my colleagues and students at Chemeketa Community College for putting the reading together and attending so enthusiastically! Special thanks Jan VanStavern, who organized the event; to the students who designed all those amazing flyers; to my wife, who helped me prepare the research talk and made a stack of very cool cards to hand people who wanted more information about how to keep in touch; and to everyone who bought my book yesterday.