This past week on October 28th, the School of Liberal Arts held a faculty research symposium. Professor of English, Karin Lin-Greenberg, was able to present a piece of her writing. Lin-Greenberg is not new to the world of writing. A quick skim of her profile on Siena’s website or her own website, karinlingreenberg.com, can show you her long list of published pieces and awards. Her experience in the world of writing shows. The piece she presented at the symposium was not only filled with humor, meaningful relationships and deep thoughts but it was just at the core a great story.
Lin-Greenberg read aloud her short story titled Housekeeping. It comes from a collection of short stories called Lost or Damaged written by her as she was on sabbatical. The setting of these stories is Upstate New York, a place most of us on campus are acquainted with. Lin-Greenberg said she chose Upstate New York as the setting because it was a place that she has lived in now for a few years. Not only does she seem to feel at home in Upstate but she says settling down in one place has helped her writing. The stories include stories about women and girls as the main protagonists. They are not just happy stories about women uplifting women, but rather the acts of unkindness and the effects they can have. Housekeeping was the first story Lin-Greenberg wrote during her sabbatical. The idea was sparked by real-life events, the suicide of famed chef Anthony Bourdain. Lin-Greenberg says she felt such as attachment to him as if she knew him herself. She respected the way he was able to connect so easily to the locals of each pit stop he made on his journey to find the best foods. He was more than a chef, but a great storyteller and a man who had a way with personal connections. As an author herself, it is important to be able to connect to others through the power of storytelling. She was able to show us this power by making an impact on us with her story that evening, the same way Bourdain was able to make such an impact on her.
Housekeeping is the story of teenager Benny and her twenty-something sister, Tess, who takes care of her. These two sisters perfectly embody the idea of acts of unkindness and the way it can affect people, especially two extremely close sisters. It begins with the suicide of a man similar to Anthony Bourdain. This man, Franco, connected to people and entertained the same way Bourdain did. Tess finds Franco’s body at the hotel she works at and from there the narrative takes off. The characters in the story are well thought out and relatable. The storyline is interesting and engaging. There are many pieces of humor throughout, even a knock-off bachelor-type show playing a role. If that’s not your thing, don’t worry, because there is a hilarious rap that many will enjoy for everyone knows at least one rich, white kid who wants to be the next Eminem. Professor Karin Lin-Greenberg did such a great job creating this amazing story with great characters, interesting plot, questions of why some people make the choices that they do and so much more. It is work that she should be proud of, and it makes the Siena community proud that she’s one of us.