Author Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman came to Pitt State as part of the Distinguished Visiting Writer series to read her new memoir “Sounds Like Titanic.”
The Distinguished Visiting Writer series invites different authors to the university to read their writing. On Sep. 26, Hindman’s book reading was held in the Overman Student Center.
“One thing I’d like them to take away, that especially for young people who are in college, that you might fail a lot, that’s okay, that it’s normal,” Hindman said. “The high expectations that society places on people, are not always obtainable right away and that’s not your fault.”
Hindman read aloud from her new memoir “Sounds Like Titanic”, which detailed her life working with a fraudulent orchestra.
“I used to play with this orchestra that played all over the world, at Carnegie Hall, and other places, but the microphones were turned off, and a CD recording of other, better violinists was being blasted out towards unsuspecting audiences,” Hindman said.
Hindman’s memoir also discusses issues with reality in society.
“I thought it was really fascinating the way she blends together the main premise of the book of playing violin in this fake orchestra, with a lot of different aspects of her life and the times she was growing up in,” said Chris Anderson, associate professor of modern languages.
Anderson also said that Hindman touched on aspects of worldliness and different cultures.
“She got into issues of American culture, and the experience of girls growing up in the 1980s and early 1990s, kind of drawing all that together, based on this one narrow experience of playing violin for this fraudulent orchestra,” Anderson said.
The visiting authors such as Hindman also visit creative writing classrooms for a chance to talk to students.
“It’s especially nice when a writer like this talks about her writing process and how the ideas for the book developed, and things like that, so students see not just the finished product, but what goes into writing it, and all the life experiences that blend together to tell the story,” Anderson said.
During her reading Hindman talked about her writing process and style, such as how she uses the second person pronoun “you”.
“She talked a lot about writing in the second person, and how that is something teachers say
not to do,” Anderson said. “But when she was reading, it really struck me how well she did it. it made it more personal for me because I was putting myself in the place of someone else but not thinking it was about me.”
Afterwards the reading, a reception was held where guests could eat, purchase her book, meet Hindman, and discuss the book with her or ask questions.
“I like travelling to the different colleges and meeting different students, and different professors and seeing new places, and getting questions about the book from people who’ve read it,” Hindman said.
The Distinguished Visiting Writer series brings several different authors a year to campus for students to listen to.
“It’s really wonderful for our students especially, because it gives students a chance to listen to and meet professional writers who are publishing books, and experience something they might not otherwise experience here in rural Kansas,” Anderson said.