Harmony Book Reviews

Flashback: Jessica Blank

Posted on: October 27, 2009

“Flashback” is a new weekly feature here on the blog where authors write a guest blog on their teen years. Authors, if you’re interested, email me at harmonybookreviews[at]yahoo[dot]com.

Today, I welcome Jessica Blank, author of Karma for Beginners.

It’s funny–I only started writing fiction about six years ago (I wanted something I could do on my own at my computer between acting and playwriting jobs, so I taught myself!) but looking back, I can see I’ve been a writer since high school.  I was a theater kid, mostly–that was my first love, and what I knew I wanted to do from pretty early on— but I’ve loved books for as long as I can remember, and I had this one amazing creative writing teacher, Dr. Galvin, who I still remember.  He had a tweed jacket and a mustache and was the poet laureate of Maryland (really!) and he would bring other real live professional writers in to talk to us sometimes.  His class was an elective, a little haven for the artsy weirdo brainy kids, and I took it two years in a row.  His classroom had plants in it, and a tape recorder that he would play music on, and lots of posters everywhere–one of them said, “A story is a big lie–but in the middle of that lie, you’re telling the truth.”  I mostly wrote poems in that class–it took me till my twenties to figure out how to write a story–but I loved, loved, loved words, and Dr. Galvin was one of the first people who taught me that you could make beautiful things out of them. I am NOT a math or science person–like, not even a little bit—and I’d slog through geometry and trig and biology and all that, doodling on my hand, waiting till the bell rang and I could go to Dr. Galvin’s class. High school was kind of like that for me–some classes I couldn’t have cared less about and my parents had to kind of kick my butt to make sure I didn’t flunk them entirely–but other classes, the ones with the amazing teachers who told you that you could make things out of words and listen to music during school and talk about what was interesting to you and learn ways to make those things interesting to other people too–those classes were better than just about anything.  I felt kind of like a misfit in high school–like, I think, most high school kids do, even if they know how to hide it–but that creative writing class was a place where that was somehow okay, maybe even cool, maybe even something you could create something from.

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