The Authors are All “Write”

    More stories from William Castro


    William Castro

    Pasulka (left) laughs at Levine’s (right) answer to a question.

    Authors Sara Levine and Brigid Pasulka are polar opposites.


    Pasulka admitted to making “a lot of ill-advised and impulsive decision” in her 20s. She decided to move to Russia with her boyfriend.


    “I quit my job and gave away my apartment,” she said.


    And at 25 years old she was working in Italy as a nanny.


    Levine, on the other hand, was already a creative writing professor at 25 years old after graduating with a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and receiving a doctorate from Brown University.


    “I was a good girl,” she said. “I didn’t have any of the bad experiences”


    The Visiting Writer’s Series brought these two acclaimed authors together as they read a passage from their respective books.


    Pasulka, who won the 2010 Hemingway pen award and has been featured in the Barnes and Nobles Discover Great New Writers column.  Levine has received high praise from the New York Times, Washington Post, Library Journal, and The O Magazine.


    Levine’s “Treasure island!!!” is about a 25-year-old unnamed woman that makes a lot of ill-advised and impulsive decisions when her fascination with Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island” causes her to remodel her life completely based on the classic novel.


    “It totally comes from the fact that I didn’t make enough mistakes in my 20s,” Levine said. “It’s interesting that my quiet bookish life could be turned into something like ‘Treasure Island!!!’”


    The passage Levine read relates entirely to the state of mind of trying to become actively engaged in your own life, wanting to stave off the daily routine:


    “If life were a sea adventure I knew: I wouldn’t be a sailor, pirate, or cabin boy but more likely a barnacle clinging to the side of the boat. Why not rise, spring up and create my own adventure?”  


    The passage Levine read relates entirely to the state of mind of trying actively engaged in your own life, wanting to stave off the daily routine.


    Pasulka’s reading of “The Sun and Other Stars” was incredibly charming. “Stars” is a more grounded coming of age story about a young man in Italy who is finding his way through life after losing his brother and mother within a year.


    “How they managed to communicate at first is one of the divine mysteries of the universe. Silvio says their conversation sounded like traffic circles in Naples with cheating-schoolboy English, phrasebook Italian, California Spanish, and bad charades all weaving and blaring, and cutting each other off. When there was a pause it was always punctuated by ‘Te lo spiegherò domain,’ or ‘I will explain it to you tomorrow.’”


    The simplicity and power of the last line “I will explain it to you tomorrow” moved me. This book grabbed my attention based her use of imagery I saw just from the short passage she read. I will definitely be reading it in the future.


    The final installment of the Visiting Writer’s Series will take place on April 12, with Rob Spillman reading from his book,“All Tomorrow’s Parties.”