Filled with nervousness but encouraged by her professor and peers, senior professional writing major Alexis Stella introduced author John Jodzio for his fiction reading. She was not alone in her anxiety, Jodizo also said he felt a bit nervous speaking in front of the crowd of approximately 140 people for the first event of the Kellogg’s Writers Series. Jodzio read from a variety of his works, including “Knockout: Stories,” “If You Lived Here You’d Already Be Home: Stories,” and “Get In If You Want To Live” on Oct. 3 in the Trustees Dining Hall.
Students in English courses at the University of Indianapolis read some of Jodzio’s work to prepare, and six of the pieces he read came from “Knockout,” which students have been assigned. Jodizo said he picked readings based on what he thinks the audience will respond to. He also said that undergraduate students are his favorite audiences, because there are aspiring writers in each crowd whose experiences he can relate to. He said that one of his favorite things to do when coming to talk to undergraduates is to give advice about making dreams of writing a reality because he remembers struggling to make it happen himself.
“The best piece of advice is to continue writing, that’s the one thing that I learned over time. I’m sure that when I was in my undergraduate program that there were a ton of other people that were way more talented than I was, but I just sort of diligently kept at it,” Jodzio said. “The best thing is to just sit down in the chair and do the work when you need to do it.”
Stella, who got the introductory position via recommendation from her professor, said she is not very fond of public speaking but is fond of Jodizo’s work. Stella said that because she does not typically enjoy short stories, she originally had low expectations for Jodizo’s book, ‘Knockout.; wever she said she was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed the book. She was also given the opportunity to have dinner with Jodzio and have some of her questions answered.
Regarding the attendance, Stella said that she was pleasantly surprised by how many people came to hear Jodzio read. She and other students enrolled in the Kellogg’s Writers Series classmates had been working hard on advertising for the event since they heard Jodizo coming to read was a possibility.
“I was kind of surprised with how many people turned up. The last couple years it [Kellogg’s Writers Series] has gotten bigger, which I’m excited for,” Stella said. “My freshman year I went just to get LP credit and there way maybe 13 people there. Going from 13 to [around] 100, I’m just excited to see where it goes.”
One of the attendees was sophomore elementary education major Nicole Baldwin, who said she initially heard about the event from a friend. Baldwin also said that her interest was piqued because she enjoys fiction readings, and Jodizo’s were no exception.
“I kind of see how [the stories] could happen in real life, when something really weird happens and there’s just no explanation ever, you just kinda have to move on,” Baldwin said.
The next event in the series is Nov. 7 at 7:30 in the Trustees Dining Room, where Angela Palm will do a nonfiction reading of her book “Riverine.”