college of dupage courier

Leigh Stein visits campus

This event is part of the College’s “Writers Read” series, which brings authors to COD’s campus for readings and discussions.

Stein has been writing poems since she was 13 and she says “Eventually the poems I wrote when I was about 20 to 25 naturally found themselves in larger collection that I tried to get published as a book.”  Her poetry collection is called Dispatch from the Future.

In her novel, The Fallback Plan, the main character is a babysitter who lives at home with her parents.

“One of the characters attends community college, and though I don’t name it, it’s obviously COD,” said Stein.

Although she did have to do some research on SIDS, the psychological ramifications of losing a child, she said, most of the novel just emerged from her imagination.

Stein doesn’t write full time but on a typical writing day, she will start in the morning, and stop once she’s reached about 1,000 words.

“On a bad day, ill only get about 500. I write in my apartment, unless my cat is jealous, and then ill go to a coffee shop,” said Stein.

“[The hardest part of writing is that] the editor in my head can be rally mean and judgmental. I vacillate between thinking I’m a total genius and a total failure, but hearing from people who really connect with my work makes it all worth it.”

Her next endeavor includes a non-fiction project about death and the internet. She wants to explore how growing up online “affects how we socialize and handle every part of life and death, even coming together on Facebook to mourn the loss of someone we love.”

Stein took writing classes at the college and attributed success towards the programs.

“The poetry classes I took at COD with Freyda Libman definitely improved my work as a poet,” said Stein.

Some of her favorite poets include Bob Hicok,  Dorothea Lasky, Vera Pavlova, and Jennifer Denrow while some of her favorite books include Anagrams by Lorrie Moore, Little Children by Tom Perrotta, Chilly Scenes of Winter by Ann Beattie, Jonathan Franzen’s novels, and anything by Elizabeth Crane.

“Find your true love reader, by which I mean find someone you can share your work with who will give you honest, loving, constructive feedback. You don’t have to be enrolled in a writing program to find this person; you just have to be creative,” said Stein. “Practice reading your work aloud so you can develop an ear. If you want to get published, read literary magazines (there are free ones online) and see what’s out there before you start submitting.”

**Published in the College of DuPage Courier, 2012.

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