How Yale Creative Writing Fell In Love With the ’90s…Again!

by Tara BowermanIn her new book, The Book of Words: The Art of Writing Fiction, author Tara Bowersman tells the story of her relationship with the first time she read a book by a Yale graduate.

In 1997, Bowersmans father, William Bowers, was teaching a class at the Yale University library when he noticed an old Yale copy of his son’s favorite novel, The Golden Girls, sitting on a shelf in the corner.

“I opened it up and found the title of the book on the cover,” she says.

“I remember thinking, ‘Wow, it’s my dad.’

And I started going to Yale libraries and reading all of the Yale classics.

I just went to the library and looked it up.

I found this wonderful little book on The Golden Girl.

It was the title, and it had such beautiful, beautiful words.

And I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I just want to read that.'”

Bowersman says she never read the book again.

But she never forgot.

In her book, she recounts how, in 1998, she decided to take the opportunity to write the first story she’d ever written, about a high school student who wrote the first-ever love letter to her high school crush.

“When I first started writing, I had a lot of confidence, and I was just like, ‘This is how I’m going to make this story happen,'” she says in the book, titled Love Letters: The New Art of Writers.

“But I remember thinking that I had to make sure I had the courage to do this story, that I could write it, and that it was going to be funny.”

Bowersmans journey to the first draft of the story took her from her mother, a writer, to her father, a former novelist, and to the Yale library, where she read the first pages.

“There were a lot people who were very skeptical, but I’m like, oh my gos, you know, I’ve just got to go with it,” she recalls.

“And I started reading it over and over again, and over and above the fact that I’d been reading the book since I was a kid.

I think the book just started to catch on.”

Bowerman’s story was so popular that the Yale Library had a special program for students who wanted to submit their own stories.

They even offered a special edition to their students.

“And one of them wrote a beautiful letter, which I read,” she laughs.

The Yale Library has offered a few special editions of the Love Letters for the last 15 years, Bowermans book being the first to receive a special print edition.

“It’s always really hard for me to read it,” says Bowersmann.

“It’s so hard to just sit there and just read it.”

“I think the thing that people like me, that’s what makes us so unique, is that we’re always looking for new ways to tell stories,” she adds.

“We’re always trying to reinvent ourselves, to do things differently, to try something different.

And that’s the way that we can all do it.”

Read moreAbout Tara Bartsons book, Love Letters, on the Yale website.