Observe and help a Lancaster author write a novel in a shop window


LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – Lancaster-based author and artist Tyler Barton sits in a Modern Art display case to work on his novel, accepting suggestions from passers-by via the painting.

“People have the idea that writers are people who spend their whole lives in an attic working on a great piece of literature, then they publish it, then they die, and then they are known 50 years later for it. . ” Barton said. With this display, “Remember how to write,” Barton hopes to provide a window into the writing process.

While Barton is typing on his laptop, community members can offer suggestions for his novel on a board outside the window. He sets a daily prompt, such as “name the dog” or “tell me a joke”, and visitors offer their ideas on the board.

One of Barton’s favorite submissions was in response to the “I need a weird place for a first kiss” prompt, which someone suggested Hogwarts for. “I liked… the idea of ​​loving, a book that has nothing to do with Harry Potter, including a first kiss that takes place at Hogwarts,” he said with a chuckle.

Some ideas from the community are directly included in the novel and others contribute to inspiration, Barton explains. “Artists get their ideas from other people,” he says, whether by observing those around them or asking more explicitly for chalked suggestions.

“Remember How to Write” is a spinoff from Modern Art’s “Remember How to Read” live art showcase, in which community members sat at the window reading books. Tyler will be writing in the window this week from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

According to the Modern Art website, “Modern art projects… use elements of surprise, curiosity, humor, and art to encourage neighbors, both near and far, to experience the emotional connections between them. with each other and participate in the process and aesthetics of community building. . “

Barton says the philosophy of Libby Modern, owner of Modern Art, is “that art should be accessible to everyone, it should be accessible to the public. It shouldn’t be hidden, and it shouldn’t be put on a pedestal. He explains: “I wanted to do something inspired by it. “

Barton’s novel follows several elderly characters in an assisted living facility as they work on improving their home. It will be his first novel. Previously he had published a small collection of stories, and it will have a longer collection of short stories, titled “Eternal Night at the Nature Museum”, in the fall.

When Barton isn’t writing short stories or working on Windows novels, he works as a program coordinator at the Pennsylvania College of Art & Design.


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