Efroymson Center launches speakers series

(From Schrag's 2008 Potential: The High School Comic Chronicles of Ariel Schrag)

No doubt that the Vivan S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series — which kicks off Feb. 8 with a visit by poet and Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics co-founder Anne Waldman — is excellent and well-tenured and adventurous and such. But there can always be more.

And thus we have the inaugural series of visiting writers and speakers coordinated by the Efroymson Center for Creative Writing, the newly-constructed home for all things creative writing on the Butler campus. The series includes visits by novelists (graphic and otherwise), a local game designer and a literary blogger. All events, free and open to the public, will take place at the Efroymson Center, 530 W. Hampton Drive. Here's the lineup, with possibly out of context quotes from each writer:

Feb. 15, 7 p.m. — Karen Maezen Miller: Memoirs of a Zen priest

"The view that there is higher ground apart from the place we occupy is based entirely on ignorance. It perpetuates fear and, worse, enlarges it. There is only one place. The one you’re in. You can never leave, but you can turn it inside out. Do you want to live in friendship or fear? Paradise or paranoia? We are each citizens of the place we make, so make it a better place.

At the grocery store, give your place in line to the person behind you.

Ask the checker how her day is going, and mean it.

On the way out, give your pocket money to the solicitor at the card table no matter what the cause.

Buy a cup of lemonade from the kids on the sidewalk stand. Tell them to keep the change." (from Miller's 2010 memoir, Hand Wash Cold: Care Instructions for an Ordinary Life)

March 6, 2 p.m. — A conversation with novelist Nicole Krauss

"Where are you, Dov? It’s past dawn already. God knows what you do out there among the grasses and the nettles. Any moment now you’ll appear at the gate covered in burrs. For ten days we’ve lived together under the same roof as we have not for twenty-five years, and you’ve hardly said a thing. No, that isn’t true. There was the one long monologue about the construction down the road, something about drainpipes and sinkholes. I began to suspect it was a code for something else you were trying to tell me. About your health, perhaps? Or our collective health, father and son’s? I tried to follow but you lost me. I was thrown from the horse, my boy. Left behind in the sewage..." (from Krauss's 2010 novel, Great House; Krauss will make a more formal presentation March 6 at 7:30 p.m. in the Atherton Union Reilly Room as part of the Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series)

March 22, 7 p.m. — Ariel Schrag and the graphic novel

  • (from Schrag's 2008 graphic novel, Potential: The High School Comic Chronicles of Ariel Schrag)

March 28, 7 p.m. — Maud Newton and the art of the literary blog

"Of course, Wallace’s slangy approachability was part of his appeal, and these quirks are more than compensated for by his roving intelligence and the tireless force of his writing. The trouble is that his style is also, as Dyer says, 'catching, highly infectious.' And if, even from Wallace, the aw-shucks, I-could-be-wrong-here, I’m-just-a-supersincere-regular-guy-who-happens-to-have-written-a-book-on-infinity approach grates, it is vastly more exasperating in the hands of lesser thinkers. In the Internet era, Wallace’s moves have been adopted and further slackerized by a legion of opinion-mongers who not only lack his quick mind but seem not to have mastered the idea that to make an argument, you must, amid all the tap-dancing and hedging, actually lodge an argument." (from Newton's 2011 New York Times Magazine article "Another Thing to Sort of Pin on David Foster Wallace")

April 3, 9:30 a.m. — Q&A with Maile Meloy

"I was seven and living in Los Angeles when Japan surrendered at the end of World War II, and my first vivid memories are of how happy and excited everyone was. My parents took me to a parade on Fairfax Avenue, where my father hoisted me onto his shoulders and sailors kissed girls in the streets. In school we made little paper flags to wave and learned that an evil force — two evil forces — had been defeated. We weren’t going to have wars anymore." (from Meloy's 2011 YA novel, The Apothecary; Meloy will make a more formal presentation April 3 at 7:30 p.m. in the Atherton Union Reilly Room as part of the Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series)

April 14, 2 p.m. — Book club: Jhumpa Lahiri (a faculty-led discussion concerning Lahiri's work; Lahiri will read April 16 at 7:30 p.m. in the Atherton Union Reilly Room as part of the Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series)

"After her mother's death, Ruma's father retired from the pharmaceutical company where he had worked for many decades and began traveling in Europe, a continent he'd never seen. In the past year he had visited France, Holland, and most recently Italy. They were package tours, traveling in the company of strangers, riding by bus through the countryside, each meal and museum and hotel prearranged. He was gone for two, three, sometimes four weeks at a time. When he was away Ruma did not hear from him. Each time, she kept the printout of his flight information behind a magnet on the door of the refrigerator, and on the days he was scheduled to fly she watched the news, to make sure there hadn't been a plane crash anywhere in the world." (from Lahiri's 2008 novel, Unaccustomed Earth)

April 27, 7 p.m. — Narrative in a virtual world: John Gosney

We are quoteless for Gosney; here's the official description for the event: "Local game designer and cultural theorist John Gosney will discuss the intersection of technology and contemporary storytelling. Gosney is the author of Beyond Reality: A Guide to Alternate Reality Gaming and Blogging For Teens. He received an M.A. in English from Butler University and currently is faculty liaison for the Learning Technologies Division of Indiana University."


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