The more I write, the more I find myself craving to be around people who write. So you can imagine my excitement when I discovered Arcadia would be hosting a book-launch event for Christopher DiCicco one in mid-November.
DiCicco graduated from Arcadia University’s Creative Writing MFA program in 2013 and since then has gone on to achieve great success with his short stories. He has been published in a plethora of literary journals, such as Cheap Pop, Wyvern Lit, Pea River Journal, and more, but that wasn’t the subject of this evening’s event. The night was all about celebrating the launch of DiCicco’s first book, “So My Mother, She Lives in the Clouds and other Stories,” a collection of his works.
The room in the Castle was warm and welcoming, almost festive. Adoring fans congratulated DiCicco on the release of his new book and old friends heckled him for misspelling their names in the acknowledgements section.
Sure enough, I was not disappointed. I listened eagerly as DiCicco shared with us two stories from his new book, each one inspiring me more than the last. But when he closed the book at the end of the third sample, the title piece, I was struggling to form coherent thoughts. I latched onto the only word that took shape in my mind and played it on endless repeat.
I had tears in my eyes as I absorbed what DiCicco had just read to us. I’ll leave the plot for you to go and experience on your own, but suffice it to say, the vulnerability of the prose left me emotional. And so when Joshua Isard, the MFA program director, opened the room up for questions, I jerked my hand into the air, eager to learn the inspiration behind that story.
DiCicco happily answered, revealing the different life situations that had influenced this and his other stories. His wife. His kids. Funny moments from his life. I nodded along, appreciating his answers but also reveling in the feeling of the creative cogs in my mind picking up pace.
At the end of the event, I sprinted home, my footsteps leading me quickly to my awaiting laptop and a new blank page in Microsoft Word.
You never know when or where inspiration is going to hit. Sometimes you go searching for it and it scampers away, teasing you with the distance. But I can tell you from experience, if you get involved in your writing community, you won’t have to pursue the search for long. Sooner or later, inspiration will find you.
Photo by Samantha Hipe ’19, Arcadia University