Despite my adding a couple of new readings to the AuthorsAloud collection recently, it’s been a while since I posted in this space. My reason, or excuse, is that I was looking for a theme, something that linked our new authors together. I think I’ve found it.
The commonality shared by the three newest contributors to AuthorsAloud — Farzana Doctor, Jessica Hiemstra and Shari Lapeña — is the breadth of life
experience that they bring to their work. Not to say these are women who’ve lived a long
time; they’re all quite young. But they’ve lived working lives beyond the keyboard or the pen, which isn’t something every writer can say. Farzana Doctor
, who gives us a reading from her newest novel
, Six Metres of Pavement
, has another existence as a psychotherapist, working with clients across a broad range of issues, from trauma to drug addiction to gender identity. She sees the stuff of authorial exploration every day, up close. Jessica Hiemstra
is a poet (reading here
) who brings to her writing an eye developed by her own successful career as a visual artist, not to mention the years she has spent in lands most of us would consider exotic, including Sierra Leone and Melbourne, Australia.
And Shari Lapeña
, the author of the novel Happiness Economics
) has brought the experiences gained as a teacher and a lawyer to the fictional lives she creates.
Each of these writers has given us something true and real in their written work, and in the readings they’ve contributed here. I’m not going to say that it’s their life experience that makes the difference — there are no absolutes in art — but it’s at least as good as an MFA.