Michael Martone speaks at UIndy for Kellogg Writers

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Writer Michael Martone visited the University of Indianapolis to a reading from his fiction as a part of the Kellogg Writers Series on Oct. 7. Martone has written 12 novels and is a professor of English at the University of Alabama, where he teaches creative writing.  Although the event was a late addition to the calendar, many students attended. Christian Blanco, a sophomore creative writing major, was one of the students.

“I really enjoyed it [the reading],” Blanco said.  “Michael Martone was a very cool and funny person. So as a result, his reading was cool and funny, too.”

One of the fiction pieces that Martone read was inspired by a section of the website nerve.com. The website has a section where authors write erotic fiction on topics never before been explored. Martone’s piece was centered on someone and a thermostat. He had explained that he decided to write the story after stumbling on the site.

“I thought it was cool that he just had this attitude that was like, ‘You know what? This will be funny, so I just want to write it,’” Blanco said. “Even if he wasn’t 100 percent sure, he just did it. That was the lesson that he ended up teaching us at the end.”

Zachary Lee, a senior creative writing major, was part of the team that organized the reading. He explained that Martone, who was born and raised in Fort Wayne, Ind., sets many of his stories in Indiana. One of his books, entitled “The Blue Guide to Indiana,” is a series of fictional stories that are presented as a travel guide. Most of the supposedly true stories are meant to shed light on the state and its culture, while simultaneously satirizing the popular “Blue Guide” series that gives sightseeing info for every state.

“He really shows people what you can do with living in a terrible place like Indiana,” Lee said.  “Almost everything he writes is about Indiana.”

Lee explained that Martone has a unique writing style.

“His writing style is very humorous, but they [the stories] are sincere at the same time,” he said. “He isn’t afraid to reach certain boundaries and go really far over them. It is kind of like giving someone a cupcake, then pulling them close and stabbing them in the heart at the same time.”

Lee considered the event a big success.

“Almost every single seat in Schwitzer 010 was filled,” he said. “People were laughing all over. He was very funny and a great people person. He wasn’t afraid to go on tangents to make sure that everyone knew what was going on. It was just a great environment.”

The next event in the Kellogg Writers Series will be on Nov. 5, when  Jeffrey Condran will read.

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