March 21st, 2023
The West Virginia University Humanities Center will present an evening with author Mike Ingram March 27 from 7:30-9 p.m. in the Downtown Library’s Milano Reading Room.
“Ingram’s writing gives depth and perspective to those deep vulnerabilities that make us human. In his hands, we’re led into a poignant rendering of modern life with all its foibles, complexities, and quiet, hard-won joys,” Humanities Center Director Renée Nicholson said.
Ingram’s stories, essays, and journalism have appeared in a number of publications, including PHOEBE, The North American Review, The Smart Set and Medium’s Human Parts. Ingram is also an associate professor of instruction at Temple University, where he teaches courses in creative writing, editing and publishing, and first-year writing.
Ingram will read from his first book, “Notes from the Road,” which chronicles the writing professor’s 2,500-mile drive from Philadelphia to Los Angles a week before the start of the spring semester.
In his book-length essay, Ingram meanders from his discoveries on the legendary Route 66, thoughts about the current state of his career and relationships, recollections of writing advice he received over the years, and thoughts on life as someone approaching 40.
Ingram launches his story by explaining that he’s delivering the Subaru to a friend who lives in Los Angles and just began a job as a writer for a new television drama. He shares that he’s been ruminating on their career paths.
“It’s possible I was jealous. Not that I necessarily wanted to write for television. Not that I necessarily wanted to move to California. But I didn’t not want those things,” Ingram writes. “I didn’t know what I wanted.”
Ingram tells readers that he drew inspiration from travel classics such as John Steinbeck’s “Travels with Charley” and William Least Heat-Moon’s 1978 book “Blue Highways.”
Steinbeck, one of the nation’s great novelists, started his trip because he worried “he’d lost touch with the America he had written so much about”; Heat-Moon set off on his journey after his divorce and losing his teacher job because of a budget cut.
Ingram explains that he connects more with Heat-Moon because he too started from a restless place.
“I worried that I was comparing my current unhappiness to some theoretical happiness that I was never able to sustain for very long in reality,” Ingram writes.
Plan to join Ingram’s reading to hear more about this trip across the country and his insight about life, writing and Route 66 museums. A reception and book signing will follow the event.