Patrick Lawler visited Bowers Writers House Thursday, March 19 at 8 p.m. A fiction writer, poet, teacher and scholar, Lawler focused mainly on his recent publication. Inspired by Zeno of Elea, he loves writing because he said, “It makes me feel part of a society so odd.” Having the power to make someone feel like a part of something not in touch with reality is Lawler’s unique skill.
Lawler read short stories in one of three categories: teaching, college and family. Most of these were based on real life events. His college experience started with him feeling confused. Being a philosophy major, he said he “craved huge gulps of experiences” and wanted to get the most out of college. His roommate was a main highlight. During this time of his life, he mainly credited the weirdness that ensued to his roommate. He described in one short story how his roommate would introduce himself with different names to different people he met around campus, so no one really knew who he was.
Some might say college is also a time of sexual experience and encounter as well as making lasting friendships. Lawler also described some of his experiences with love and romance throughout college in his short stories focusing on a girl named Ariel. The more he described her, the more beautiful she got.
A branch of his teaching stories focused on letters written in response to an email scam. The letters would always start with “My Dearest Akeem.” The speaker wrote to Akeem, “If you talk to God, you are praying. If He talks to you, you’re schizophrenic.” Lawler would pause in between each piece he read and add comments or ask questions about what he just read.
Family was the subject of the last short stories he read. Although the stories are all part of the same book, most of the stories could be read independently of each other, and they would still make sense. This was because the writings were not dependent on structured or fixed plots and characters. Lawler used the metaphor of a kaleidoscope when describing his style of writing. “It is all based around the same idea just twisted a little bit each time,” Lawler said.
He held a question and answer session at the end. Many students attending were English majors and asked for tips for furthering their writing careers. Lawler attached much of his short story and novel writings to his background in poetry in order to give students an idea of how his writing developed. “All you have to do is revolve the story around the voice of the character and put them in a conflict. The plot is minimal.”
Lawler also briefly talked about his novel “Rescuers of Skydivers Search Among the Clouds.” Being such an experienced and renowned writer, Lawler taught the importance of being open-minded. Discovering the title of each section of his book was unique. He would write down lists of words or sayings and discover what that title meant. The chapters revolved around these discoveries.