The first and most important thing I’ll say in this blog post is that Literati is pretty cool and I will definitely be going back there. So underrated!
Upon finishing summer school and my internship this summer, I promptly made it a goal to actually read novels recreationally and to finish a couple before school started. I finished a couple exactly (Limitless by Alan Gwyn and The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett) and I loved them both. I even started on a third (Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler). What I love about these books and what I loved about the short stories and the personal essays I browsed through while at Literati was the use of storytelling to create philosophical questions, achieve somewhat complicated (or maybe simple) conclusions, or to just generally reach out to the reader with a story they can connect to and whose lessons they can profit from.
At Literati, stories were told through different frames, categories, lenses:
- There were autobiographies, and also biographies
- Fictional stories reflective of personal experiences
- Diaries, journal entries, and more carefully constructed letters
- Satirical pieces
- Straight up nonfictional accounts of events or things, but also personal accounts of people who had lived those events or things
- Comedies, tragedies
I read some Rebecca Solnit. I read from a book called “Sex and Death” (not by Rebecca Solnit) which featured a collection of submitted stories about sex and, yes, death — two themes the curators of the book found to be universally important to our lives on earth, no matter our backgrounds. Each essay would open up into a scene and then a conflict, painting a picture for the reader and then hooking them with the issue to be solved. I love that. I think that if I am going to write about myself and publish it, it is not enough to assume that anyone will find it interesting! I have to personalize my story (in this case, my evolution as a writer) but I also have to universalize it in some way so that my readers, whoever they are or will be, can find their own personal value through reading my piece. That was my most important takeaway from my visit to Literati (and an idea that I really came to understand last semester during English 325). I think the content will come as I continue to look through artifacts I will use and as I reflect on the last few years in relation to the writing I have done. For now, I have an idea of the form I will try to emulate — or the forms I will hybridize to create my wonderful, lasting, relatable “Frankenstein.”