So, I finally caved in and opened a blog. I’m primarily going to use this to talk about various literary events going on in the Scranton area and discuss my own writing process.
Speaking of literary events, I want to mention that the writing group I helped create will meet tonight at 7 pm at the Vintage Theater on Penn Ave. We started this back in August, and since then, we’ve had a new member every other meeting or so. I’m especially impressed with the group because of the variety of genres we’ve had, everything from entrance exams for graduate school to poetry to fiction. The folks that show up are serious about writing and generally want encouragement and advice to improve their work. How wonderful to have something like this in this community, and I think most of us go home after the meeting feeling even more encouraged to write.
This weekend was also significant because it marked the Second Annual Pages and Places in downtown Scranton. The event brought writers, academics, and intellectuals from all across the country to our city. The most popular panel featured atheist and public intellectual Chrisopher Hitchens and West Scranton native and novelist Jay Parini. They debated everything from the Iraq War to the most important texts that shaped American life and argument. I had forgotten that Hitchens, generally a man of the left, had defended the Iraq War prior to the invasion and he still does today. He’s even good friends with one of the architects of the war-Paul Wolfowitz. Strange huh? His argument mostly rests on the belief that Saddam Hussein posed a severe threat to the region and murdered his own people.
The event featured several other panels and readings at the courthouse. I also worked with the folks at Barrelhouse Magazine to host a reading at Anthology Books that featured readers from Keystone College, Wilkes University’s Graduate Creative Writing Program, and Barrelhouse. The event was standing room only, and I hope in the future Pages and Places continues to grow and spawns other off-site readings. Scranton needs this.