The process of writing is a lot like the premise of a joke: A man riding a horse rushes by another man who asks where he’s going. “I don’t know,” the rider replied. “Ask the horse.”
“Sometimes we’re on that horse and we’re on a mission that we don’t know about yet,” Wisconsin writer Dale Kushner said. “As an author, it’s so important to trust the horse, the process of discovery.”
Kushner and well-known Columbia author and artist Gladys Swan kicked off this year’s Writers on the Edge Series at Stephens College. The series brings guest writers to campus to talk to English/creative writing students about their careers.
Yesterday’s event also drew more than 30 community members to the Penthouse at Hugh Stevens Library.
The authors spent more than an hour talking about the writing process and reading selections from their respective books.
Kushner was an established poet before writing her debut novel, “The Confessions of Love.”
“Being a poet greatly influenced my fiction,” she said. “But it’s also why it took forever. Every word has to count—not only count but sing.”
The book, published earlier this year, traces the journey of a girl from childhood to adulthood as she navigates family ties, friendships and relationships.
Swan described her first novel, “The World of Carnival,” as a comic fantasy.
“After my first novel, I didn’t think I’d write a second because the book included everything I knew,” she said. “I was empty.”
The book, however, would go on to spawn four more. Swan also has several collections of short stories.
“My stories have, in some ways, created me,” she said. “They allow me to articulate the things that are important in my life.”
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