Andrew Farkas and M.O. Walsh, alumni of the University of Tennessee's undergraduate creative writing program, read from their own published works Monday night, at this semester's first installment of Writers in the Library. Recently initiated into the book publishing world, these writers represent just two single threads of a million-count weave of struggling artists.
According to UT's website, Writers in the Library started as a "venue for students in UT's graduate creative writing program to present their works." It was initiated in 1999 and has since inspired many undergraduates in their own creative writing endeavors.
These guys were good enough to make me want to quit. At the same time, they put in my heart something to be aspired to. Bob Boyd, freshman in creative writing. "These guys were good enough to make me want to quit. At the same time, they put in my heart something to be aspired to," said Bob Boyd, a freshman in creative writing. For Boyd, this experience creates the tension between the intimidation and the inspiration of good art.
Competition is essential to the artistic process. Seeing others produce work triggers in us an automatic response to match or outperform. This instinct can be considered either despair or motivation.
We are discouraged by the high probability of failure but are driven by a second-nature instinct to create in reaction to the world. Too often fame is upheld as a measure of the ultimate success when our focus should remain on enriching our art, ourselves, our community and our world.
For Farkas and Walsh, Monday night's prose reading was a homecoming. Their success has led them right back to to their alma mater, where they began the rat-race of seeking publishers for their writings. This full circle hands us the old cliché that "the journey is the destination."
The Writers in the Library series will continue through the fall and spring semesters at the Hodges Library Auditorium and will feature a variety of literary voices, both world-renowned and local.