Great Lakes Writers’ Festival

It’s been an eventful last few days. This past week I had the pleasure of being a featured writer for the Great Lakes Writers’ Festival at Lakeland University in Wisconsin. For two days I was able to immerse myself back into writing culture. As you might have guessed, my attention over the last few years has been divided and I haven’t really had the time to sit down and dig into the writing life. My time at Lakeland allowed me to do just that. The students who attended were sharp, interesting, and without exception, talented. My fellow featured writer, the poet Cathryn Cofell, was truly inspiring and her work walks a knife-edge of funny, insightful, wrenching, provoking, all while remaining deeply human. 

Coming to Lakeland has been a long trip—and not just because of the VW. My very first publication was in their literary magazine, Seems. I was 21 when the editor (and Great Lakes Writers’ Festival organizer), Karl Elder called me up to say that my short story, The Return of the Limerick Kid would be published. (That, by the way, is the first and only time I have received a phone call directly from an editor. Karl and his Seems staff are a class act.) What followed was the most intensive and personal editing I have ever received in the publishing world. The student editor at the time, Jodie Mortag (a helluva writer, by the way), is now a faculty member at Lakeland and we had a chance to finally meet in person. It’s a nice reminder that writing is very rarely a solitary endeavor; the books you read, the journals you subscribe to, even the blogs on this page are a group effort. There’s a lot of people behind each written piece—far more than the author. So, thank you to Lakeland University and thank you to the editorial team at Seems. I literally would not have made it to this writers’ festival without you. 

We also had a little bit of time to take in the student art gallery on campus and I gotta say, Lakeland is a hotbed of talent. If you’re there, make time to browse the gallery.

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