Write about what you know and let your imagination go with it,” Writing Fellow in the Writing Wing Richard Fellinger said during his reading in the High Library Monday, Sept. 25 at 7 p.m.
Fellinger followed this advice in “Made to Break Your Heart,” his debut novel about fatherhood, marriage and Little League baseball. Fellinger drew from his own experience coaching his son’s Little League baseball team and added fictional characters and marital tension.
During the reading, Fellinger read the first chapter of the novel and a section of the middle, which focused on a science fair. He chose the science fair scene because he felt college students could relate to it more than Little League baseball.
Instruction and Outreach Librarian Joshua Cohen had read the novel before the reading and enjoyed it.
“It was an entertaining read, a fun read. It reminded me of my own Little League days,” Cohen said.
Junior Atikah Ahmat attended the reading and also liked the novel.
“It was very relatable and well-written. It reminds me of my relationship with my dad,” Ahmat said.
After the reading, Cohen asked Fellinger questions about the novel and the writing and publishing processes behind it. The audience also had a chance to ask questions.
One question was about the inspiration for the novel. Fellinger explained that the novel was originally a memoir. While at Wilkes University, he would tell his friends funny stories about coaching Little League baseball, and they suggested that he turn those stories into a memoir. Fellinger decided to write a novel instead because he felt his life would not make for an exciting read.
The title came from the essay “The Green Fields of the Mind,” by the late Major League Baseball Commissioner and Yale president A. Bartlett Giamatti. In this essay, Giamatti describes baseball as “made to break your heart.” Fellinger extends this to parenting, which he feels breaks parents’ hearts when their children leave the nest. He also uses a quote from this article as the epigraph of his novel.
Another question was about the writing and publishing processes. It took Fellinger eight years to write, revise and sell his novel.
His main revision was adding marital tension to the beginning and then building upon it throughout the novel.
“Tension drives a story,” Fellinger said.
The reading was followed by a book signing and an open mic for poetry.