Catapult Gallery public book signing features two Southeast professors
The Catapult Gallery in Cape Girardeau held a public book signing Friday, Nov. 9 featuring Southeast English teachers James Brubaker and Dan Crocker.
Brubaker was commemorating the release of his third published novel, “Black Magic Death Sphere (Science Fictions),” while Crocker read some of his poetry from “Leadwood: New and Selected Poems (1998-2018).”
In addition to the reading excerpts nd signing copies of their books, the professors conversed with those in attendance.
Crocker’s series of poetry is a compilation of his new and past writings.
Brubaker’s novel features a series of choose-your-own adventure stories where the reader makes decisions that determine the plot's outcome, as well as stories about exaggerated reality in a sci-fi setting.
Brubaker says he has always enjoyed writing, but got serious about publishing as he was completing his bachelor's degree around 2003. His first book was published in 2014.
Although Brubaker enjoys science fiction and it is regularly incorporated in his books, not all the stories fit under that genre. Brubaker believes his new release is different than his past writing.
“It’s a lot weirder. The new one is kind of science fiction, but it’s also way more experimental than the previous books,” Brubaker said.
Brubaker said writing not only helps him relate to and reflect on life, but also provides escapism and emotional understanding.
“There is a lot of myself that creeps into my stories,” Brubaker said.
What Brubaker values the most about public events like the signing is that they are a marking of completion.
“It's just a fun thing to celebrate all your work. To me it's more a way to bring other people together. If people come out and have fun maybe they'll come out to more of them,” Brubaker said.
Crocker, who has released five poetry books, said he has loved poetry since his youth. He began writing poems at age 15, and started publishing in his twenties.
Crocker said that his writing has involved a lot more humor over the years, noting it a good way for him to cope with difficulties.
“Poetry helps me deal with things. It's a way to think through your thoughts before you actually express them, and you can't write something until you've come to terms with it,” Crocker said.
He hopes his openness in his poetry can help readers mentally and emotionally.
Southeast student Liam Ohlendorf said engaging in these events keeps him inspired.
He said he has read Crocker’s previous writings and enjoyed them, so he attends to show support.
“Local writing is unique because it’s something that you won’t get on mass market,” Ohlendorf said. “It can reflect your location and surroundings. It’s good to have these events because it’s a form of education, and it’s cool to hear other people be creative. Even if it’s just an outlet and form of social interaction.”