Language arts live– alive!

How is it already the weekend? I love Fridays because I don’t have any classes so I get a chance to catch up on work, sleep and relaxation. (Which I definitely won’t have any time for this weekend, with concerts and clambakes and what not!) But I wanted to be sure to post about this awesome fiction reading that i went to on Wednesday, which was a part of the Language Arts Live series that I wrote about last year. The series is co-curated by my advisor, and she arranged for me to meet the author for lunch before the reading. It was so exciting!

The author, Courtney Eldridge, is this amazing woman who is so full of energy that I had the most upbeat, rich-in-conversation lunch so far this year. I’d done a little bit of reading before meeting her, and checked out the website for her most recent project, Saccades. The website describes and features her process for writing a Young adult novel which focuses on communication and relationships for teenagers in the age of high technology. Basically, this book is set right smack dab in the way I spent my teen years– online and exploring and discovering. When we got to lunch, I was ready to jump right in and talk about her project… I felt like a total stalker at times, but whatever… sue me, I read the website closely! It was interesting!! She spent so much time contacting teen artist online to help with her process by contributing images and playlists, and it seems to have really shaped how the story developed. I was in awe, truly, that a non-teenager would really “get” the connection that teens feel with one another using the internet as vessel for communication, creating art, and building relationships. I’ve been there– I’ve had my parents or other adults just totally misunderstand what internet can do for young people. And it’s not their fault, it’s just that the technology is growing so fast, and the access teens have make it their tool to explore the entire world. It was wonderful to hear Courtney say that she didn’t believe what people say– that kids these days are passive, dumbed down, uncreative, numb… She saw in them art, and creativity.. and reached out for collaboration. After the lunch ended, I was so thrilled because the project seemed so ambitious and new; it reminded me of what one of the Language Arts Live speakers last year, Brian Kim Stefans, said: that with digital fiction, authors/artists are constantly reinventing the genre. So yes, Courtney isn’t exactly the same as Stefans…(check out the post here!) but what she is doing is adapting, and making use of the changes technology is making on society. AH. So. Cool. She might be my new hero..

Anyways, that night at the reading, there was a great turnout, and I got to see a different side of the author– the celebrated, published, and HILARIOUS Courtney Eldridge. After being introduced, she explained that she looks at her stories in print and wants to make little changes after so many years, but it’s in a humble, pleased way. She read two stories for us– the first, “Fits and Starts,” was about writer’s block and detailed a list of unfinished or abandoned pieces using the most delightful wandering stream of consciousness. There were many things said in that story which hit very close to home, like “I don’t have to feel alone because I have a list” (i’m neurotic about making and checking off to-do lists). A hilarious story about a bad date’s wrongful assumption that a story beginning was a threat to castrate him, her insistence that you can’t talk about cheerleading without talking about cowboys, and her sure-fire cure to writer’s block, the threat of “dancing” her story, were also included in the piece.

The second story had my entire row of students, mostly upper class, female english majors, doubled over in our seats, cracking up the entire time. The story, “Sharks,” was a go-between of a speaker and her friend about an irrational fear of sharks in swimming pools. Even Courtney started to lose it at times. I really, highly recommend reading this story, because my writing about it cannot do it justice. It’s in her collection Unkempt, pick it up! But I will leave you with this– No pool is safe.

That’s the extent of my notes on the reading– it was really lovely and I’m definitely going to get the collection and then give it to my mom because I know she will love it. (Unless you already have it, Mom…? Do you? Hi! Hope your vacation is going well!)

Have a lovely weekend!

About nbrouder
I'm a senior at Bates College getting ready for thesis and the real world!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: