Famed Author Steven Sherrill Shares “JOY, PA” With Frostburg
Steven Sherrill, renowned author of several works and keeper of talents, visited Frostburg this past Thursday to give fans a glimpse into his most recent work titled “JOY, PA.”
In the beautiful theater that is the Lyric in the University’s Center for Literary Arts, Sherrill read to an audience of awed students, professors, writers and fans. Sherrill can not only be described as a writer, but also an artist and a musician: a man of many talents. Spotted playing the ukelele, taking part in a choir, teaching students at Pennsylvania State University and painting with imagination, Sherrill enjoys the best of life, while referring to himself as a “goofball.”
He was a lost soul; he had dropped out of high school and “watched a lot of Gilligan’s Island,” before he discovered his passion for writing. He joined a creative writing club for no reason in college, and had his first poem published in the local newspaper. Step back a few years, and he was kicked out of school for a few days because of a short story, displaying his natural knack for words. Flip the coin, and his selected work was his “darkest yet,” captivating audience members, but an absolute challenge publishing. “JOY, PA” went through brutal reviews, and Sherrill enjoyed every second of it. After publishing the terrible reviews of “JOY, PA” on Facebook, a publisher finally approached him and took a chance on the best-selling novel. Other works of his include “The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break,” “The Locktender’s House” and “Visits From a Drowned Girl.”
Neil Gaiman, author of the ever so popular novel “The Graveyard Book,” picked up Sherrill’s “The Minotaur Takes A Cigarette Break,” and released an audio book within a few short months, causing absolute JOY for Sherrill. A sequel to the noted novel is in the making, and readers worldwide are excited to get their hands on it. Turn the page to the first reading of the season and Sherrill definitely raised the bar, inspiring a smile out of everyone, answering questions, cracking jokes, and captivating the intellectual minds of his audience. He began with an introduction on his latest composition, describing it as more depressing than his other works. “JOY, PA” is the story of a family facing emotional traumas and terrible depression in the most ironic of places, Joy, Pennsylvania.
Diving directly into what Sherrill can only refer to as his most difficult-to-compose work, selected passages within “JOY, PA” were read aloud, transcending the meaning of writing. Having to stop in the midst of a sentence, his upbeat attitude and joyful smile were nothing in comparison to the gloom brought on him while reading his own book, “it’s making me tired,” he says after remarking the depression and emotional conflict within the novel. “I definitely want to explore his other works now,” sophomore Andrea Ranaudo said after attending her first reading. He stated, “I don’t know where I would be now if I did not have my writing,” and after hearing such powerful words roll off of his tongue, it’s hard to picture a world without the writings of Steven Sherrill.