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Established writer shows his literary ‘Goods’ at Rat

By Jen Lombardi

The Rathskeller moonlighted as a coffeehouse this past weekend as ink hosted The Goods — a showcase of the College’s talent culminating with contemporary short-fiction writer Ben Loory, on Saturday, Dec. 3.

Performer Lou Klein, senior statistics and sociology double major, plays with his band A Major Triad. (Photo Courtesy of Alicia Cuomo)

A series of 24 student musicians, poets and writers preceded Loory was preceded to the stage however, and kept the creative juices flowing from noon until night in this all-day celebration of the arts.

Headliner Loory was welcomed with applause and excitement.

The 40-year-old author and Harvard grad, whose work has appeared in the New Yorker, took the stage armed with his book, “Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day.”

A compilation of fictional accounts that include everything from Big Foot to a man that finds a snake in his throat, “Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day,” highlights ink’s motto — “Dare to create.”

Loory shared eight short stories from his book, including such fan-favorites as, “The Duck,” which tells the tale of a duck who falls in unrequited love with a rock and, “The Knife Act,” a story about two friends who spontaneously decide to play catch with knives.

While the absurdity of Loory’s tales left the audience in laughter, each story also presented heart-warming morals ranging from the bonds of friendship to the power of confidence and the importance of acceptance.

Jacob Cafaro, sophomore history major, captured the hopefulness that coats Loory’s stories in a short quesion-and-answer session after the reading when he asked, “Do you believe in miracles?”
Loory smiled and answered, “Yes, absolutely.”

Yet, while Loory’s numerous fables always come full circle, the author admitted that when he begins a story, “I never have any idea at all” where it will go or what it will be about.

As a room packed with English majors and writers listened closely, Loory disclosed his creative process, paralleling story writing to “an investigation, a discovery.”

“There’s always a story,” Loory said, “I firmly believe that any first line you can write, that’s a story. All you have to do is follow the premise to the end.”

So, what’s the secret to Loory’s success?

Travel the open road with simply a pen and paper, no GPS, no map, and just get in the car and see where it takes you.

“Before I became a writer, I had ideas of things that I wanted to say and I would stress over what things meant and I couldn’t write anything,” Loory said. “Then I said,  ‘Fuck it.’”

It wasn’t until that point that Loory was able to make his start as a screenwriter and then become a successful author of short-fiction.


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