Photo from wab.org
Nov. 1 was National Authors Day, so Chase reporters got together with some of Eastern New Mexico University’s published authors to talk about their passion for their craft.
Michael Rizza, an ENMU professor who teaches fiction writing, is a published author.
“My brothers were a lot older then me, so I would watch them a lot, because I was too young to participate. I used to sit back and watch them, which turned me into an observer in a way,” said Rizza, who was the youngest of four boys.
Rizza said that being the youngest sibling and being an observer inspired his writing, and he feels that is important when it comes to writing.
At 12 years old, Rizza began reading Steven King books, which further inspired by his books.
“I wanted to copy him,” said Rizza. “Night Shift” by King was one of the first books Rizza ever read.
Rizza currently has two published books, “Cartilage and Skin,” a dark literary thriller, and “The Topographical Imagination of Jameson, Baudrillard, and Foucault,” an in-depth discussion of several canonical theorists.
Rizza said he wrote “Cartilage and Skin” in 1997, but the character in the book was too young, so he threw out the draft and restarted the book.
“I took a 17-year-old character and thought, what if he was 40? I reimagined his whole life as a 40-year-old, and I restarted the story,” Rizza said.
He said he had no intentions of ever publishing the novel and allowed the book to sit in a drawer for more than 10 years then decided, after ripping out a couple hundred pages, that it was ready for print. It was published in the year 2013.
“Cartilage and Skin” won the Ninth Starcherone Prize for Innovative Fiction.
Rizza said he would encourage aspiring writers to read, because “if you want to be a writer, then you have to be a reader.”
Rizza said he’s currently working on another book that he has submitted to publishers. He plans to continue writing but doesn’t know what his next book will be.
Rodrigo Figueroa Obregon, another ENMU professor, who teaches language classes, such as Spanish, has published three books.
Obregon said he was 18-years-old when he found his passion for writing.
“It’s weird, because I wasn’t a really good student in school. As a punishment, one of my literature teachers gave me a book report to do. The book was of poetry; Because of the book, I happened to realize that I loved poetry,” said Obregon.
Two of Obregon’s three books, “Paganas Procesiones” and “Imaginarios Confines,” were published in Mexico. The third book is called “Una Frontera Transparente.” He has also published short stories in journals and magazines.
“I usually write poetry; I once wrote a drama that was performed at Mexico’s National University, I didn’t really want to write it, but a friend asked me to,” he said.
Obregon said he mostly enjoys writing poetry. He said he doesn’t make much money from his poetry, but he doesn’t write for the money. He writes, because he enjoys it.
“I like to consider myself a professional writer, only because I dedicate a lot of time to it,” said Obregon.
“It seems like nowadays the biggest concern for writers is financial concerns. If you become a writer, you will find ways to make a living. Even if you don’t make much money, writing is a great thing to get into,” said Obregon.