Author Encourages Students to “Be the Dream”
By Maiya Fair
Allen Eskens, author of “The Life We Bury,” came to visit Cambridge campus on October 27 to discuss his work. Many students gathered to hear Esken’s story about how he came to be the successful author we know of today.
He has been nominated for awards such as the Edgar Award and the award for Best First Novel by an American Author. The author also has a second book called “The Guys of Another”.
Eskens spoke to a full auditorium of ARCC students, engaging them with stories and humor.
He shared stories about his childhood and his path to becoming a writer. He describes his ironic struggles in his English courses saying, “I’ve always been a daydreamer.”
But those daydreams didn’t stop him. He began pursuing an interest in theater, explaining, “Theater gave me good grades, I was hanging around kids who had a positive influence on me by talking about going to college, and theater taught me to take these daydreams and use them.”
Sadly, his life took a turn when he was unable to go to New York City to dance (another dream of his) because of an ankle injury acquired from playing basketball. But, not going to New York wasn’t stopping him either. Eskens was determined and took on the challenge to write his novel. Eskens explained, “Writing creatively is a very different beast.”
Through his love for the theater, he was inspired to connect with his readers and said, “When I go to see plays and I feel all these emotions, I think that’s what I want I to do to my readers.”
Students who attended the presentation felt good about attending. One student, Dylan Schroeder stated, “I thought it was pretty cool to hear from a real author because I want to be a writer myself.”
Although he faced many obstacles, Allen Eskens managed to overcome every barrier and thrive as a successful author, perhaps inspiring Cambridge campus students to seek their own paths in a similar fashion.
Here are some additional reactions from Anoka-Ramsey students to this speaker’s message:
“Right at the beginning of this event, Allen Eskens, the author of the critically acclaimed book The Life We Bury and the speaker for that day, talked about how he was different from many other authors who spoke to an audience. These authors talked about their childhood and how they were avid readers and writers ever since kindergarten. However, Allen was different. He said, “My first grade report card had some comments, and I remember that the first one said, ‘Allen dreams too much in school.’” After that quote, the audience realized that this event would be a lighthearted affair, and that Allen was much different than other authors.” – Seth Kirkeide
“The one thing that stuck out to me about Allen Eskens was the fact that he wasn’t always the best student in language arts. He said himself that in 8th grade he was “out of it” in English. This really spoke to me because it made it clear that to be a good writer you don’t have to be the best English student, you just need to put in the effort and convey your ideas with creativity.” – Parker Brown
“He spoke about his wandering, curious, and “daydreamer” mind, commenting that his imagination never stopped creating, and he realized one day that he needed to act on his gift. From an audience member’s standpoint, it was very interesting to hear a man who had all of these completely unrelated accomplishments in his life, and at the end of the day, he found his heart in writing.” – Mikayla Crawford
“At the end, he opened for questions, and someone took the opportunity to ask about publishing. Eskens published his books traditionally, and in his opinion, it is the better way to publish a book because of the promotion that comes with it. He said that he had thought about self-publishing his book, but he knew that it wouldn’t get nearly as much exposure as his publishing agency provided.” – Rebekah Kortan
“The longer I sat in my chair, the more I was inspired by Eskens, and thankful that I was in attendance. The experience taught me that whether you’re daydreaming or just shooting for a dream, do what gives you passion. Eskens’ story climaxed for us as he said he went through a list with more than 150 agents and was declined repeatedly. Eventually he found an agent that would find him a book deal and make him a New York Times best seller.” – Dylan Schroeder