November 20, 2009
Writers Institute event lets seniors read works
The seniors were Emily Leighty, Steven McQue, Kelly Meier, Aaron Santory and Billie Tadros.
Gary Fincke, professor of English and director of the Writers Institute, started the event with a brief introduction.
The first reader of the evening was Leighty, who hails from Berkeley Springs, W. Va., and "has been telling stories since her kindergarten days, when she would dictate stories to her teacher," according to her section in the event program.
While at Susquehanna, Leighty focused on non-fiction, "a genre she enjoys for its long history, its honesty and its many forms," the program read.
In the introduction she gave before her reading, Leighty said she writes to make sense of the comedy in her life. She made the audience laugh throughout her work "Scutigera coleoptrata," the recounting of a childhood run-in with a centipede that turned into a phobia of the many-legged creatures.
As her fear of the centipede progressed, Leighty's mother told her people often fear what we don't understand, leading Leighty to learn about the bug.
Was it in fact a harmless bug, she wondered? No, she revealed, listing acute-faceted vision and poisonous front legs among the centipede's qualifications as a "determined killer with everything he needs to get the job done."
Leighty is a resident assistant, peer coordinator and writing assistant at the Writing Center, academic skills assistant at the Center for Academic Achievement, secretary of The Brotherhood and co-editor of Variance magazine.
The next senior was McQue, a creative writing and music double-major from Harleysville. According to his section in the program, McQue has focused on short-fiction and memoir writing at Susquehanna while also "unofficially major[ing] in insomnia."
McQue read from his short fiction piece "A Heart Should Play In-Tune," which was about Andre, Kathy and Paul, a married teacher couple and their young son.
Paul was diagnosed with two malignant brain masses, one at the center of his cerebellum and another near his brain stem.
McQue related the struggles between Andre and Kathy as they tried to deal with their son's condition, as Andre narrated, "Life after the current predicament was unfathomable."
At the end of the story, Andre reflected back on the entire experience and realized that for Kathy and him, "Paul had provided harmony between us."
McQue's music major is in trombone performance. He is a Deacon of Worship for Chapel and is involved in the Lutheran Student Movement program.
Meier was the third reader of the evening. A creative writing and Spanish double-major from Belle Mead, N.J., Meier has focused on poetry throughout her Susquehanna career.
She also spent a semester abroad in Buenos Aires, which she said greatly influenced how she writes. According to her section in the event program, she has begun to translate her poems into Spanish.
In one of the poems she read, "Esos Ojos," or "Those Eyes," she recited one stanza in Spanish.
She addressed language in the poem, asking "Why do languages, like worlds, refuse translation?"
The fourth senior was Santory, of Elizabeth. According to his section in the program, "writing is an essential part of his life that has allowed him to closely examine the world around him and enrich his view of it."
At Susquehanna, Santory has focused on "gritty, realistic fiction," according to the program.
He said that through the numerous writing workshops he has attended, he finally learned and took a particular lesson to heart: "Write what you know."
His story, "Cog," of a factory worker who realized his dissatisfaction with his job, came from Santory's own experience in high school working at a factory.
Tadros, the final reader of the evening, is a creative writing and music double major from Whippany, N.J. According to the event program, "she is most interested in creating works conceived at the intersections of poetry and music."
Tadros said in her introduction that she "only writes about sex, death and poetry. It's a problem I really need to work on."
From her poem "Drops," she read: "You are emptying yourself of me for the third time I am empty for the third time it is raining I am collecting the drops of water I am collecting the drops of myself."
In her last poem, "Revision," Tadros read, "The main difference between questions and answers is this: the space occupied by inevitability."
Tadros is a member of the symphonic band, WomenSpeak and is the editor of Serenity magazine.
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