Saturday, June 4, 2011

Seton CC's June Visiting Writer Rio Youers, author of "Mama Fish".

Yesterday, Seton Catholic Central High School welcomed it's final Visiting Writer of the year, Rio Youers, author of the novellas Mama Fish and Old Man Scratch, and the novels Everdead and End Times. The bulk of our students read Mama Fish, while my creative writing students read that and his short story “Left-Hand Radio”, featured in Shroud Magazine, Issue #10.
As usual, Rio proved to be one of our students' favorites. He shared his path to publishing, from writing short stories and novels and novellas that never sold during high school, while working in both a factory and as a car salesman (and not a very good one, he admitted), to the present, being praised by New York Times Bestselling Authors Peter Straub and Joe Hill as one of the premier, up and coming writers today. 

He regaled us with some very humorous stories about early pitfalls and disappointments - including a semi-shady publisher who skipped town shortly after publishing Rio's first novella - as well as what drives him to be a writer: an innate need to create, to make things happen on paper, and simply LIFE itself.  To chronicle and imitate life, in all its forms. As many of our visiting writers have cited this year, Rio also stressed one of the best reasons for a person to write: because they simply can't do anything else BUT write.

Perhaps one Rio's most powerful speaking points was his encouragement to our students to pursue their passions, whatever they may be - that if they have something they're passionate about: sports, music, art, writing - they should pursue that passion with every ounce of soul they had, and never let anyone ever tell them "You can't do that, you're just going to fail."  

He shared with the students his days working in a factory, when all his coworkers discouraged his writing efforts, saying he'd never make it, that his efforts were fruitless and in vain.  He exhorted to the students: "Don't ever let anyone tell you you're not good enough. No one's better than you at what you're truly passionate about.  No one."