writer to writer, sorry I’m late

My excitement about the writer to writer event had me so excited… that I completely forgot to blog about it. But never late then never, right?

This event wasn’t entirely what I was expecting, because I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect. I know that I love Literati (and all the events that they host), and I love hearing from writers, so I didn’t look too deeply into what was in store.

Hearing from Heather Ann Thompson was INCREDIBLE. Without knowing much about her work, I unrightfully assumed that this was going to be an interview with some random writer that had interesting things to say, but wasn’t as accomplished and well known as Thompson. I wasn’t expecting to hear from a Pulitzer Prize winning author in such an intimate environment. Let alone, on a topic that I’m extremely interested in.

This semester I’m in Psych 211, the service learning class where I get to visit a prison to volunteer every week. Throughout the semester I’ve learned about the criminal justice system in America, so it was especially exciting to get to first hand hear the perspective of someone who is extremely knowledgable about the issues incarcerated people face.

Additionally, aside from the fact that the Attica prison uprising is a subject up my alley, her style of writing about important, nonfiction topics in a way that is appealing to any audience. This is exactly the genre I see myself working with in my future as a writer. I love learning about important social justice issues, but my style of writing is casual and informal; I don’t have much desire to write for an academic audience, but someday I would love to do what she did – become an expert on a topic and tell the true story in a way that compels all different types of readers.

Right off the bat, I loved hearing what Thompson had to say because she started off the night by saying that even though she is an accomplished and published writer, it never came easy. She still feels like she’s constantly working on her writing, and that it never “came naturally,” which is something that I have struggled with when thinking of myself as a writer. She reassured me that dedication, passion, and hard work is enough to craft a compelling piece.

I didn’t ask a question in the Q&A because I wasn’t sure if the question I wanted to ask would be appropriate for the whole audience to hear, but I asked her when she signed the copy of the book I purchased that night. I heard from a professor I know that she used some tricks to obtain documents that were important to her story so I asked her about that, and her explanation of how she did that told me a lot about how investigative journalists and authors work hard to uncover the truth.

Overall, I definitely want to attend another writer to writer event, and I learned so much.

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