Breaking Boards

Pat Karpen reads her piece, Breaking Boards.

A hushed crowd listens as Pat Karpen reads through the literary nonfiction story she’s been writing since the new year.  With her classmates, the group shares stories from their lives, emotionally telling stories that allow viewers to connect with the authors on a personal level.  “Literary nonfiction uses the tools and techniques from fiction and poetry to create stories,” Deborah Hodgkins, the group’s teacher and mentor, said.

This demonstration showed some of UMPI’s most experienced writers.   A love story, “He Brings Me Chocolates,” by Abby Boyce, allows you a peak into the romance she shares with her fiancé.  You can’t help but grin as she describes the bond between lovers and lessons learned finding each other.

Then Jordan Haddad’s, “Cars Can’t Cross Oceans” beautifully portrays the hunger to explore an unknown world.  It’s a story flooded with concrete images.  All are able to relate to unfortunate sides of reality faced as an adult.  Jordan eloquently describes the thoughts she had while facing this realization.  “I could go many more places when the world was a fraction of the size it is now.”

A cultural experience for many at UMPI occurred when Manish Pandey read his story entitled, “Time, Space and How We Walk Through It.”  He speaks of a friendship left behind in Katmandu, Nepal.  Though raised in a very different culture, Manish in his story reflects the unities among all friendships.  It’s a story about how time affects relationships, regardless of nationality.

The final reading by Pat Karpen was an emotional story of triumph and self-appreciation.  The metaphor “breaking boards” represents all the trials one faces from birth to death.  By relating these trials to tai kwon do practices, she paints a vivid picture with her words.  With each challenge bested, a board is broken.  The story was easy to relate to, read with passion and encourages you to find love in yourself by breaking boards.

Attending these readings brings you closer to your classmates and, at times, yourself.  The shared experiences of your peers allow you to feel more comfortable in your own skin, while appreciating the artists of UMPI’s student body.