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April 25, 2014
Vol. 55 No. 22

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Alumnus returns, offers advice to student writers

"Don't waste your four years. You only get this opportunity once in your life, and it flies by faster that you can even imagine," Salvatore Pane, visiting writer for this year's RiverCraft launch, said.
Pane is a 2007 graduate from Susquehanna and now serves as an Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Indianapolis. He has published eight selected short fictions, one chaptered novel and one comic book titled "The Black List," coauthored with Mark Kleman and illustrated by Lamair Nash.
Pane attended the RiverCraft launch on April 14. He read two selections from his novel "Last Call In the City of Bridges," which was published in 2012. Pane described his novel. He said: "[It's] a coming-of-age story about sex and love and the internet and booze set against the backdrop of the first Obama campaign. It's hopefully about what being young and confused feels like these days."
The novel is centered on several individuals in their twenties, unable to communicate what they really feel and believe with each other. As a college student, Pane took notice of how often "today's generation" dissects pop culture incessantly, often using this as a crutch to avoid discussing real problems and matters in a sincere way. The novel is littered with pop culture references, including mentions of "Duck Tales," "Spiderman" and "Star Wars."
Pane said that he had come back to Susquehanna by the invitation of Gary Fincke, the director of the Writers' Institute, but that he was also very thrilled and honored by this opportunity. He used to attend the RiverCraft launches when he was a student, and he explained that the experience of headlining the event was very surreal. Pane said that it was a dream come true.
Pane has participated in RiverCraft before, submitting short stories in the editions released from 2003 through 2006. He also served on the reading boards and was editor in chief of Essay, the nonfiction literary magazine annually published by Susquehanna.
Pane gave advice to current creative writing majors. He said: "Listen to your professors. They're advising you out of experience, not out of some perceived desire to be mean. When they tell you to write every day, you better write every day."
Pane also said that aspiring writers should never be married to their work. It should always be about the next draft, the next piece that you intend to produce and not the current piece of writing. A writer should happily revise, be process-oriented and not be goal focused.


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