BIDDEFORD – A writer may have a number of places to sneak away and read or write. I certainly have spent many afternoons, evenings, and rainy days squirreled away with a book or a story, and one of the places where I feel most comfortable is the library. I’m surrounded by books, it’s quiet, and my thoughts or ideas seem to jump onto the page. It almost doesn’t matter if the library is part of a school, university, or even the local, public library. For me, it’s a creative space.
One of the nicest libraries in our area is Biddeford’s McArthur Library. Not only is it a good place to work, but it also has a great community room where writers often speak about their work. I was lucky enough to do so in December and just before I spoke, Melanie Coombs, the Adult Services Supervisor, published this story about my book and the speaking event in the local newspaper. It seemed like a good thing to share.
‘Homecoming’ and a kindred spirit
by Melanie Taylor Coombs
“Here’s a little secret. I’m easily distracted. Maybe that’s a good thing but for me, it tends to make my writing sessions a bit more painful. If I sit too close to the window, I can’t help but be drawn to the world only a few feet away from my desk. If I write in a crowded or noisy space, the writer in me begins to listen to the conversations swirling near me. I think about the way in which the discussion will end or what caused the fight in the first place. So, yes, I am easily distracted.” – David Arenstam
In Lucy Maud Montgomery’s “Anne of Green Gables,” main character, Anne Shirley, looks for people who are kindred spirits. When I first invited David Arenstam to speak at McArthur Library on Thursday, Dec. 8 at 6:30 p.m. little did I know he is a kindred spirit. I dug around a bit on his website, looked up reviews on Amazon and ordered his new book “Homecoming: A Soldier’s Story of Loyalty, Courage, and Redemption,” for the library’s collection. It was not until I read the above quote that I knew he was truly an author I could relate to … I too am easily distracted.
It is my practice to read a presenter’s book just before the talk or read a book club book just a few days before the discussion. So, you can imagine my dismay when Mr. Arenstam’s book was constantly checked out giving me no time to read it before the upcoming event. Now, I’m glad I had to wait. Here’s why.
Since I did not have the book in hand, I decided to focus on reading some of David Arenstam’s blogs and articles. I even watched a super interview on CBS 13 News, WGME with Kim Block. In 2010, Arenstam was nominated to be Teacher of the Year. He often tells students, “The world just might be the greatest classroom you’ll ever enter – take a minute and look around. You’ll be surprised at what you see and the lessons you’ll learn.” Since I had no chance to focus on one work, one novel, I have had an opportunity to get to know the author a bit better. In another blog Arenstam mentions his bicycle – yes, he is definitely a kindred spirit. We both share a love of learning and of bicycles and, of course, a tendency to become distracted.
On Thursday, Dec. 8 at 6:30 p.m. spend an evening with kindred spirit, author, educator and blogger, David Arenstam, at McArthur Library. Learn a bit more about his journey to becoming a teacher and author, and help us celebrate his wonderful first novel, “Homecoming.” As always, events at the library are free and open to the public and light refreshments will be served.