On Wednesday, July 15, three authors will gather at New Day Craft as part of The Downtown Writers Jam, Vol. 4: Storytellers (RSVP). In this iteration of the Jam, the authors will tell the audience the stories that inspired their work, and then give a few selected readings. It’s a night of literary narration.
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Meanwhile, meet one of our opening authors for The Jam: Storytellers: Amber Peckham
For me, the writing profession as a money maker has meant becoming a journalist, something I swore to myself I would never do. The journalistic voice is not my voice, but in the interest of survival I’m learning to assume it more each day. I fell into my current freelance gig as a real estate reporter thanks to a receptionist position I held while completing my graduate thesis. That’s where I met my client. Mom always said answering phones would never lead anywhere, yet here I am. That role consumes most of my time, but I’m always trying to find dreamers who want ghost writing or editing services to keep my long-form sensibilities sharp. And of course, eke out time for my own wordsmithing sometime each day.
I’ve used writing to cope with reality since those days I spent as a girl, composing stories about being stranded on a desert island on loose leaf notebook paper, binding them together with the twist ties from our bread bags. I almost killed my creativity with law school after undergrad, but decided to chase the rabbit running in my head instead. (When I catch it, should I kill it, cage it, or let the chase continue?) Anyway, passing up law school ended up being a good call–the law students couldn’t find jobs after graduating either, so what would the point have been, really?
Still, that kind of leap into the unknown was a big risk for a working class girl from the Indiana cornfields. The litany of questions always continues: maybe I should have been a doctor, an accountant, a stripper, anything which would bring in more money than these shouts into the void. Self doubt, others assure me, is part of the creative process. This Jam is a way to defy those voices, to assert, and to speak.
At The Downtown Writers Jam
What’s the name of the piece from which your DWJ story comes? The overall project is about 100 pages long and is titled “Clark Summer.”
Give us a hint: What’s your best “behind the scenes” story about? It’s about the behavior and habits of our neighbors growing up in a poor rural Indiana neighborhood. Some of those antics were humorous: others were not. We’ll talk about both.
Where can people find or buy your work? Do that at her website, please.
What should the audience expect from your storytelling at the Downtown Writers Jam? Expect beautiful images, swift and sometimes scathing humor, a sense of self-perspective, and a fair amount of gumption.
Get to Reading
Best book or long-form writing we should read, but probably haven’t? And why? I’m in a rest period right now between the third and fourth books of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. While it’s quite an undertaking, it’s definitely worth the read (and I hear the last book is the best of all).
No other writer I’ve read possesses quite the same ability to bring the reader to the point of desperate ambivalence and boredom toward the subject (usually the conversations in French salons), and then with a single sentence turn the whole situation on its ear. He can illuminate dozens of pages of scenes with a single sentence. He’s a master of finding the infinite in the minuscule, and vice-versa. He really comes up with some great insults too!