Presidential Community Enrichment Series kicks off Sept. 16 with BWH author
“I hate writing, but it’s an addiction. I can’t not write.”
These are the words of Jesse Waters, director at Elizabethtown College’s Bowers Writers House, who will discuss, Wednesday, Sept. 16, his literary achievements over the past years as a poet and novelist.
Waters’ lecture, held in the Susquehanna Room of Myer Hall, kicks off the College’s Presidential Community Enrichment Series. The forum, “My Own Strangelove: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Write the Novel,” begins at noon. Cost of attendance is $15, which includes lunch and a 15-minute Q&A.
Waters’ poetry, fiction and non-fiction writings have won contests, have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes, and appeared in countless literary journals. As a visiting assistant professor in the English Department, writing for Waters is not a new territory. But writing his first novel, “Saving Face,” is.
I hate writing, but it’s an addiction. I can’t not write.”
“When I work on a poem, it’s small. It’s more focused and easier to reform,” said Waters, in a recent interview in the College’s Blue Bean Cafe. “But writing a novel is like doing a triathlon without seeing the other competitors.”
The journey to write his novel has taken more than two years, but the dream of completion is something Waters believes is crucial for all writers. As he described, every novel is a “little dream” and novelists must wake up every day and believe in that dream, “that you can do this.
“I’m not trying to be Fitzgerald,” Waters said when asked about the pressure of writing his book. “I’m just trying to write a novel I think people would like to read.”
In his Enrichment Series on Wednesday, Waters discusses the ups and downs to writing a novel and the strategies he uses to undertake the feat. Since he was six years old, Waters has been writing. Short stories and poetry called out to him as a way to create something purely his. And, later on, in his own story, Waters designed the programming of Bowers Writers House from the ground up as a venue for other writers, performers and artists. Now, Waters is up to his shoulders in projects and stories he has started. But “Saving Face,” is taking the spotlight on his desk.
The novel is a fiction piece involving a couple headed to Las Vegas and into a series of events that will change their lives. With the book still in process, Waters will discuss the truth about writing something as demanding as novel.
Competition, the desire for excellence and the overwhelming weight of completing a novel is “like plate spinning,” said Waters. “You are 150 pages in, and you are trying to be engaged, but you can’t forget that you have all these other energies to be spun at the same time.” One strategy the writer uses is avoiding any expectations that could pin him down in completing “Saving Face.”
“I have the whole book mapped out, and I know where I want it to land,” he said. “But if you stay too much on the plan, there isn’t an opportunity for the unconscious to breathe.”