Author panel provides helpful advice to aspiring writers

Bianca Martinez

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“Jack didn’t come for the gas, he came for the food”, Ashton Politanoff read compelling from an excerpt from his piece entitled, “Open End and Aim”

Politanoff, writer and adjunct professor here at Cerritos College, was the first author out of five panelists present at the author question and answer panel for the book, Golden State, an anthology of “a kaleidoscopic portrait of life in California, recent fiction and nonfiction by major and emerging authors.”

Politanoff explains his piece and provides advice to potential beginning writers, “It’s more of just experience, I want my readers to have a little glimpse to this little world that I try, to the best of my abilities, to create… Keep writing, don’t be discouraged and writing may not be what you think it is.”

The lecture hall was a packed house as students, many of which found out about the event via their professors, filled each seat with their own free copies of Golden State in hand.

Speech and Pathology Major Karlos Ramirez, who was present at the reading, shares his thoughts about the event, “I think it was great, since it was inspiring for students like us, aspiring authors, to say that we’ll be able to talk to them and ask them, is more inspirational for me to keep writing and trying to get out there.”

The reading followed by a Q&A discussion was held in the Fine Arts and Communications Building 134 Thursday, May 4 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm.

English Professor Ja’net Danielo, who coordinated the event, expressed what she wanted her students to learn from this event, “Really what I want them [students] to learn is that they shouldn’t give up on writing, if they are passionate about writing, all they have to do is work on it and they have the potential to get better and be good and be published so I want them to see that writing is hard work and you just have to keep at it, developing passions.”

The five panelists at the event are all featured in the Golden State anthology and each provided insight to the different writing styles and genres of literature by reading an excerpt from their featured piece out loud to the audience.

Rebecca Baumann, writer and editor, whose piece “Craftsman Kid” was featured in Golden State explains an obstacle she faces while writing, “I think finding people that you feel comfortable enough reaching out to them and asking them if they might be willing to look over your piece because that’s a whole different level of just having self discipline but feeling guilt over wanting to ask somebody else to take the time out of their busy schedule to look at your stuff can be a difficult step”

During the question and answer portion of the event, students were able to ask the panelists any questions or concerns in regards to the writing process.

English major Kimberly Salazar, who viewed the event as motivational and inspiring, states, “As students, I feel like we are always afraid of trying to reach too far because you don’t want to get rejected because what if they don’t like it and when you listen to authors and they are saying we’ve gotten rejected plenty of times, we’re still pushing through.”

The panelists present provided advice and personal accounts from their experience as a writer in hopes to help aspiring writers.

Ron Gutierrez, author of the piece, “The Chain”, expresses a piece of advice to aspiring, potential student writers, “Learn how to take criticism, because whenever I talk to teachers who teach writing to undergraduates, I like to ask them this questions, ‘do you find that the students think they know everything?’ and they always say ‘yes’. They don’t. They don’t take criticism, they think they know everything, and that they won’t fail the class and, you know what, there’s probably a lot of that going around”

Gutierrez goes on to express that if an individual is serious about becoming a writer, that individual should allow others capable of providing positive and constructive criticism evaluate and “rip up” your work to help improve your story and ability as a writer.

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