The Epic

Authors visit to share experiences

Patricia Wei

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For aspiring writers and students wondering what it takes to publish a book, author visits provide opportunities to interact with those successful in the field. Amy Ashworth, Lynbrook librarian and adviser of Students for Literacy, organized these events to broaden the perspectives of students through recreational reading.

Eric Lindstrom, who visited on March 6 at lunch, talked about his two most recent novels; “Not If I See You First,” about a blind girl who falls in love and “A Tragic Kind of Wonderful,” about a character with bipolar disorder. As someone who has experience with anxiety, attention deficit disorder (ADD) and depression, he connects with characters who see the world in a different way. His writing is driven by heartbreak and the desire to give his characters a happy ending. Lindstrom also recounted his experiences as a video game designer who wrote novels after work. To him, writing continues to be an “itch that needs to be scratched,” and he finds the process cathartic.

“Lindstrom’s visit taught me that you can always do what you like,” said junior Shivani Asokumar. “The fact that he had the commitment to come home and spend his time losing sleep doing what he loves was really inspiring.”

“Not If I See You First” was recognized by Silicon Valley (SV) Reads 2018 for the theme of “Compassion, Caregiving, Coping.”

“I think [SV Reads] picked the book because the main character has such a supportive network of friends and the concentration of the book is about them taking care of each other,” said Lindstrom. “I love coming to schools to interact with students because when my kids were young, I was a stay-at-home dad and volunteered in the classroom.”

Saedi, who graduated from Lynbrook in 1998, visited on March 23 to discuss her memoir, “Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card.” Saedi emigrated from Iran to the United States when she was two years old, but it wasn’t until she was a teenager when her sister told her that her family had immigrated illegally.

“I felt compelled to share my story because of the rhetoric in politics surrounding immigrants, especially during the 2016 election,” said Saedi, “One of the most rewarding parts of the book is that people have come up to me and said, ‘I didn’t realize [America’s] immigration system was so difficult to navigate.”

After speaking with students during lunch, Saedi met with English classes and shared how she got into writing. She worked as a creative executive in the entertainment industry, mentoring other writers, when she realized that she wanted to be a writer herself. She concluded her presentation by encouraging students to embrace the unique parts about themselves.

“I hope students will learn to be kinder to themselves,” said Saedi. “The things that make you feel like an outsider can lead to your success.”

Both visits from Lindstrom and Saedi allowed students to gain new perspectives through characters in young adult literature and inspired them to read, write and work toward their goals.

“I attended this event because I am also Iranian and I wanted to learn about [Saedi’s] experience,” said junior Yasamin Moghaddam. “This visit was very motivational for me because I also want to work in the entertainment industry, and [Saedi’s] story as a successful Iranian in the field makes me want to work harder toward my dreams.”

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Authors visit to share experiences