Author shares passion for storytelling, writing experiences at annual convocation

By Nick Crispino

Molloy's annual convocation featured author of One Amazing Thing, Chitra Divakaruni, on Oct 2. Divakaruni spoke about the novel at two sessions, the first for the freshmen class who had to read the novel over the summer and the other for admires and non-freshmen students. Divakaruni describes herself as an activist, poet, and author of over a dozen books while also having her work published across fifty magazines.

Growing up in India, Divakaruni contributes her love for writing to the immigration movement she made to the United States. "I turned to writing as a way to record and understand my experiences," said Divakaruni before the session.  One Amazing Thing is about nine people from different walks of life, trapped inside the rubble of a building after an earthquake hit the area.

"I wanted it to be an enjoyable and positive reading experience," said Divakaruni. "The idea of building a community through sharing stories is one major theme in the book." In the novel, survivors of the disaster try to keep their sanity by talking to the each other about one amazing thing that they never told anyone before.

Living in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, Divakaruni found her inspiration for a natural disaster through her own struggles. She not only spoke in length about the disorganization and confusion during the natural disaster but also how we think about our lives after going through such tragic events.

Divakaruni talked about the idea for the "one moment," stating, "They had to find some way of engaging otherwise they would fight amongst themselves and be left alone in the dark." She also wanted to let the characters each have their own unique background. "I wanted the people to be very different from each other. If you're caught in a problematic situation with your family and friends it's not as stressful and tense as being with strangers."

The book took over two and half years to create. Divakaruni had to research natural disasters and the psychological impact it has on victims. She has been traveling across the country around eight times a year, speaking about her work to many students. Her next publication will be a collection of stories involving the life of three generations of women.  

Divakaruni also wanted to stress about how important it is for the younger generation to read as often as possible, "We need to do a lot more of it [read} more than we usually do." She also believes at heart that we all have one amazing thing about us even if we don't know what that is yet.