On Monday October 6th, Jaimee Wriston Colbert visited our campus as part of the Big Dog Reading Series to publicize her book, Dream Lives of Butterflies, which is a collection of short stories that are connected by the lives of the tenants of a St. Louis apartment complex. While living in St. Louis, Missouri, Colbert developed the idea for Dream Lives of Butterflies by staying at a similar apartment complex that is pictured in the stories.The first story written titled, “Just Watching for Jesus” began from an article in the newspaper from St. Louis about an abandoned fetus thrown in a rosebush off the highway.
Colbert was born in Hawaii and since then has relocated all around the United States.A high school teacher encouraged Colbert to peruse a career in writing.As an undergraduate creative writing major at the University of Washington, she focused on poetry and while perusing her master’s degree at Brown University she moved onto fiction.After graduate studies, it was about 20 years before she published her first book. The time in between is when she gained what she calls “living experience” that she feels was important for her writing.Colbert credits Flannery O’Connor as her primary influence and inspiration.In total she has moved to nine different states and now teaches Creative Writing at SUNY Binghamton in New York.Colbert also wrote Climbing the God Tree and Sex, Salvation and the Automobile.Her next project is a novel called Shark Girls, which was inspired by a 1958 shark attack in Hawaii.
While at Bloomsburg University, Colbert gave informative sessions explaining the craft of creative writing and the publishing process.She also read one of her short stories from Dream Lives and then opened the session open for questions.
The next Big Dog Writing Series will be a poetry performance by Leslie Ann Mcilroy on Wednesday October 29th in the Kehr Union Hideaway.She will be accompanied by guitarist Don Bertschman and admission is free.