Writers of the Riverbend Event
By: Isabelle Flener
Writers of the Riverbend hosted their sixth event for fond lovers of writing at Maeva’s Coffee. Writers, readers, students, and anyone in the community were invited to sell their work or give someone’s work a new home. The hallway was lined with creators eager to share their work with the attendees.
Sarah J. Dhue is the creator and coordinator of the event. This is the third Writers of the Riverbend event she has fully run on her own. Dhue is also a creator and longtime lover of writing herself.
She is primarily a writer, but she also self-publishes, as well does her own cover art and other illustrations. Her go-to genres are horror and supernatural, but she has done a little bit of sci-fi. She has one romantic drama and is also dipping her toe in low-end fantasy. She likes to try different things, but horror is her home.
“When I was a kid, I would make up stories with my toys and from the time I could write I just wrote,” Dhue said. “I found one of my stories from 2001, and it is so cringe but even then, you see I wanted to write. It was about a little girl, and she sees a ghost, it has always been spooky.”
Other writers have been writers for as long as they can remember. Elizabeth Donald is one of them. Donald is an author, journalist, editor, and photographer. She also teaches writing, at SIUE — English composition, and SLU — news writing. Her favorite genres are speculative fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and horror. She has been experimenting with poetry and literary fiction too.
“I have been a writer since I could pick up a crayon,” Donald said. “I was always a writer. I always had stories running around in my head, but I did not think about becoming a professional until I was well out of college. I started at first pursuing it as a hobby, then realized you do not need Dumbo’s magic flying feather to fly. If you stick with it, learn your craft, and work at it, good writing eventually finds a home.”
The event brought out many people from the community, all excited to go through the various booths. The creators themselves welcome all to enjoy their art.
“It means the world to me to have this event. There are so many writers in this community. All the stuff happening around us is cool and inspirational. Also, for people that do not have it made or are not published yet, it gives a place to connect and meet like-minded people. That is very important because you do not see anything like this event anywhere else. It brings the people together and puts on display what is going on in the community. This event is not about selling books for me, it is about showing the world what is going on in their community, “ Dhue said.
“It is always a wonderful time to see my fellow authors; we are all in this area, so half of us know each other already. But we get to meet new people as well and have a chance for the public to see the creative work that is being produced right here in the MetroEast. This is a striving artistic community that we have here. I do not think people realize that. When you are buying written work directly from the creator you are helping to support them and create new art. Without a whole lot of appropriations and such getting in the way and taking their cut of it. Whenever possible try to support artists because that is how we get more art,” Donald said.
Creator’s inspirations stem from many different places. Anything that happens in life can spark the imagination.
“I spent 25 years as a journalist, and I am around people all the time. Real life is far more nuanced, beautiful, fascinating, and terrible than anything we can come up with in fiction. Being an observer of human nature and the world around us is the best inspiration I think of for finding great art,” Donald said.
“Writing is a creative outlet for me. I would notice when I was having emotional turmoil, I could write more creatively. That negative energy was being made into something positive. It is the thing I like doing. I like telling stories and writing books. I like doing these kinds of events. I am always wanting more of it,” Dhue said.
What could someone do if they aspire to be an author?
“If you want to become a writer, start writing. There are lots of people that talk about writing. There are not as many people that get in the chair and put their fingers on the keyboard. The first thing you write might be terrible; write it anyway. You must write a million words of nonsense before you start getting to the good stuff. You got to get going on those million words. Practice your craft, read a lot, and connect with other writers. Eventually, you will find that your work has improved, and can start getting people’s attention. There is value in that process so do not try to rush it,” Donald said.
For future events or any questions, please go to https://www.sarahjdhuephotos.com.