Mesa Public Library welcomes Chandler-based author as writer in residence
Mesa Public Library recently welcomed its newest writer in residence. A state funded program allows the library to bring in local authors to help aspiring writers.
Mark Athitakis is a Chandler-based author, critic and journalist. Back in 2021, he was a virtual writer in residence at Apache Junction Public Library.
And now, he’s back at it, this time at Red Mountain Library. Twice a week, for three months he meets with all kinds of people to help hone their craft.
From “one young woman, 16 years old, who had finished her first novel and was looking for an agent” to others in their 70s and 80s dusting off years-old memoirs.
Athitakis said sharing your writing can be scary.
“I am sometimes the first person that they are showing something to,” he said.
But it also depends on feedback.
“There's a conventional wisdom that the way you become a better writer is by reading a lot and writing a lot,” Athitakis said. “But I think there's a third piece that doesn't get talked about as much, which is finding a person or a community of people who are willing to look at your work and talk about your work with a mind to support and improve.”
According to Athitakis, there are no bad writers
“The question that people have when they share something with me is, ‘Is this OK?’” Athitakis said. “Of course it's OK. Because it's you talking about something. It's you trying to share something, you trying to write something down.”
As a long-time editor, he added that there’s still room for improvement in everything.
“You have professional writers who've written award-winning novels who will tell you that this didn't quite come off the way that I wanted it to,” Athitakis said.
But, he said, continuing to work on what you have and getting feedback is key.
“The pleasure is often in the rewriting,” Athitakis said. “It's often in the revision. It's often in kind of going through it again, like ‘Oh, this is what I meant to say.’”
And even if you can’t make it to his office hours at the library: “Find people who are willing to look at your work, talk about your work, support you in the kind of work that you are doing.”
Athitakis will be at the Red Mountain Library twice a week for consultation hours until the end of July, through appointments on the library website.