A Christian Liberal Arts University, Est. 1846

Workshop #4 - Robert Stofel


"The Power Of Words." I want to speak about is how, at the psychiatric hospital, we use our patient's words as a way to lessen their self-destructive tendencies. Words can control actions. Elizabeth Strout, winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, told an audience at Queens University of Charlotte that fiction is her religion. She believes fiction helps her feel compassion for other people. It allows her to wear the shoes of the characters and feel their fear. She said it makes her swell with their hope and lose a little something of herself by writing fiction, and by doing so, it becomes a religion to her. Strout’s comments have me thinking in a new way about the role of fiction. I immediately thought of my writing class at the psychiatric hospital where I teach creative writing to suicidal adolescents. Does fiction have this kind of hold on them? Can words fix their problems? Can the act of writing redeem them and help them make sense of their lives? Does it help them understand compassion, even if it is compassion toward themselves?

  • When
    February 27 2015 2:00 PM - 2:50 PM
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