Thursday, November 13, 2008

Visiting Writer: Jeremy Sayers

Being a former carpentry student at Central Hower High School (class of 1977) Jeremy Sayers could appreciate the building trades wing of our school, and it was obvious he held a special appreciation for the animal care and management barn. Thanks to Jeremy, this city slicker now knows that piebald describes a horse of two colors.

The purpose of Jeremy’s visit today was to give a reading and hold a Q & A session with my fiction class at the Medina County Career Center. Jeremy read the short story “Consequences” from his thesis—a collection inspired by family histories. “Consequences” was taken from his father’s involvement with the Civilian Conservation Corps. “Five dollars was a lot of cash then,” Jeremy said, regarding the opening scene in which CCC members are receiving their pay, the wrinkled dollars green as Christmas candy. The Civilian Conservation Core “was one of Roosevelt’s more optimistic programs” that encouraged vocational training. It was downright spooky how the vocational atmosphere of the Career Center helped to conjure the spirits directly off the page—suddenly we found ourselves walking down a mud path, barely discerning the names on headstones in a ramshackle cemetery.

Jeremy, when asked what inspired him to write, responded, “I grew up around storytellers.” To hear Jeremy read is to know you are in the presence of a true storyteller. The students were dazzled by the dialogue in “Consequences” and marveled at how he was able to get it “just right.” When asked the question, “How did you know you wanted to be a writer?” Jeremy responded that he had held stories in for so long they had just needed a reason to come out. Jeremy praised the NEO MFA as being one of the reasons he decided to put his stories to paper. The students appreciated the transformative power of the language, and admitted they felt as if they “were really there.”

(No one was ready for this picture-the best of the series.)

Thanks for your reading at the Career Center, Jeremy!


Mr. President said...

Oh wow, what an experience for your class! I’ve been biting my finger bitterly from making the decision to join Economy instead of your Fiction class… Casey told me though that this fiction class is only offered first semester, is that true?

John said...

Fiction is a senior elective; it's only offered first semester this year. If it were possible I'd gladly teach the class all day, all year : )

Mr. President said...

Ha, and if it were possible I would be taking it next semester!

DeadDollKitty said...

...can you photoshop me out of the picture? I am NOT photogenic... but yeah i enjoyed that reading, even if it isnt exactly my type of story.

Bob said...

Wow! Jeremy is truly a natural story teller! His stories dazzle me as well. What a great class.