Writing is part of life. At times it can be fun, at others rather monotonous, but it is a necessary and valuable skill that is worth learning and cultivating. Because of the importance writing possesses
in academia and the professional world, Penn State Abington held an event to look more deeply into what it means to be a writer.
On Oct. 20, Penn State Abington participated for the first time in the National Day on Writing, an annual nationwide event that celebrates, teaches and examines the art of writing. Dr. Liliana Naydan organized the event, which took place in Lubert Commons and was attended by a number of students and faculty.
The event included a question-and-answer session with some local writers, and a discussion on what writing is and how it affects and informs our lives.
As the crowd came together and took their seats, the panel of speakers settled in their place at the front of the room. The panel included poet Laura Bernstein, professor Frank Quattrone, science writer and professor Tom McGuire, professor Roxanna Senyshyn, and students Seongjin Lee and Janeen White.
The event opened with an introduction given by Naydan, who explained the reason for the National Day on Writing and why Abington participated. She also gave a short plug for the new writing minor that Penn State Abington now offers and why and how it might benefit students looking to pick up a few extra specialized classes.
Following this, senior student Cassandra Modica took the microphone and began the Q&A session.
She asked questions of all the panelists, inquiring about favorite books, admired authors and their individual writing processes. The panelists answered with tips for writing, how to manage time and the benefits and pitfalls of being a writer.
The panelists responded to questions that students might find intriguing, or ones with which the students themselves may be struggling.
When asked how he manages to keep his writing organized and on track, Penn State professor and journalist Frank Quattrone answered, “If I didn’t live by deadlines, I wouldn’t get the paper done.” He also made it clear that if one wants to become a good writer, it is necessary to “read good writing.”
Poet Laura Bernstein, in response to a question regarding the nature of writing and why it is done, said that “good writing is having a question and not knowing the answer before beginning. If you know the answer before you begin, what are you learning?”
After the Q&A portion of the event finished, Naydan announced that there would be a short interactive creative writing session for everyone in the room. Index cards were handed out to the people seated in the audience, with the instruction to write something about “how or why you write.”
The index cards were then taped on the walls outside Lubert Commons to showcase the various reasons and inspirations to the rest of the student body.
This little project marked the end of the National Day on Writing panel, and the audience dissipated, with some students lingering for a chance to speak with the panelists about their writing.
Overall, the event went smoothly and students seemed to be well engaged and interested in the discussion. Abington plans on hosting future events on the National Day on Writing with the hope of giving more attention and even greater prominence to the craft.