I had the pleasure of visiting Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, PA last week at the invitation of the English Department and its writing program. Gettysburg is only about a three-hour drive from here, and my route took me right through the battlefield on my way into town. (A visit to the battlefield will have to wait for another trip.)
Shortly after I arrived, Fred Leebron, a former teacher of mine and a Professor at the College, picked me up at my hotel and took me to a coffee shop, The Ugly Mug, where I met with a number of writing students. For about an hour we talked about my path toward writing and publication. I wish we’d had time to chat longer, but we had to head off to the next event.
On campus, in a beautiful event room called The Lyceum, I gave a reading from The Shaman of Turtle Valley to an audience of about 50 people—students, faculty, and others. Fred wanted me to read for about 35 minutes, which is a good deal longer than I usually read, so I did a combination of talking about the book and reading different sections to give a flavor of the different voices. One question I got afterward was which of the voices was my favorite. I’d never thought about that before, but off the top of my head—probably the best answer—I said it was the main character’s cousin. Why, then, Fred asked me later, did I not read one of her sections? Excellent question, Fred, and I won’t make that mistake again.
There were book sales and signing and then we went off to dinner at a local Irish pub with another faculty member.
The next day, I had to rush back home (so no time to visit battlefields or wander around Gettysburg’s quaint downtown). But I loved the visit and would welcome the opportunity to read at other colleges.