A longtime audience member will become one of the featured readers at New Visions Studio and Gallery‚??s (201 Vine St., Scranton) Writers Showcase this week.
Barbara Taylor, a Scranton resident and English teacher in the Pocono Mountain School District for the last 26 years, will share pieces of her novel during the event on Nov. 10 at 7 p.m.
Taylor will be joined by Scranton resident and playwright Kait Burrier; Misericordia University instructor Erin Delaney; Elizabethtown College writing fellow Richard Fellinger; Yardley resident and 2006 Bucks County poet laureate Marie Kane; and Vestal, N.Y. resident and English teacher Grace Persico, according to a release.
‚??I have been going to the readings at New Visions since the series started,‚?Ě Taylor explained. The event is one of several she regularly attends that were started by fellow Wilkes creative writing alumni, including the ‚??Prose in Pubs‚?Ě series founded by Amye Archer.
Taylor said she‚??s excited to share new pieces of her first novel. ‚??Providence Square‚?Ě has been in the works for two years, she explained. It is set in Scranton in the early 1900s ‚??during the time of Vaudeville, evangelism, and coal mining.‚?Ě It follows the tale of a young girl blamed for the tragic death of her sister and is inspired in part by a true incident, she said.
‚??My grandmother‚??s sister was burned tragically on the Fourth of July,‚?Ě she explained. ‚??No one blamed the sister, but it‚??s a story that always stuck with me. It was actually the day of her baptism. She survived for three days, and she sang hymns. When she died, people all over the city came to see ‚??the little girl who sang hymns.‚??‚?Ě
Mentor Kaylie Jones has helped Taylor through the revision process a great deal. The Wilkes University faculty member is a novelist and screenwriter in her own respect and the daughter of James Jones, author of ‚??From Here to Eternity.‚?Ě
The writing process often brings surprises to the aspiring novelist.
‚??I really enjoy finding out what‚??s going to happen. I don‚??t outline, so I‚??m not exactly sure where the story is going. When I go upstairs to sit down and write, I‚??m finding out for the first time. I let the characters tell the story,‚?Ě she said.
‚??I‚??m surprised by the stories that come to me at the time I need them, and characters come out of nowhere. They pop up and take it in a whole different direction.‚?Ě
Taylor said she was drawn to fiction after being introduced to all of the creative writing genres, adding, ‚??The story (in ‚??Providence Square‚??) was too big to tell in any other way.‚?Ě
‚??Novels are what I know and what I read,‚?Ě she said. ‚??It was the place where I felt most comfortable.‚?Ě
Participating in readings like the one set for Saturday changes writing from a very solitary practice to one that a community can share. It‚??s also something she does with her sophomore students at Pocono Mountain.
‚??I love to read and write, and I just try to bring that enthusiasm into the classroom. When I get the nerve up, I share my own writing with the kids, and they share with me. I try to build a safe space to create that way,‚?Ě she said.
Taylor, who earned her master‚??s degree in creative writing in 2008, is currently working with an agent to pitch ‚??Providence Square‚?Ě to publishers, and she has started assembling the framework for a second novel.
New Visions Writers Showcase feat. Kait Burrier, Erin Delaney, Richard Fellinger, Marie Kane, Grace Persico, and Barb Taylor: Nov. 10, 7 p.m., New Visions Studio and Gallery (201 Vine St., Scranton). Free.