Artist spotlight: Corin Howland

Paul Karner

Corin Howland was recently awarded the Hicks Prize in fiction for his short story “My Honest Feelings About You.” The sophomore philosophy major from Madison shared a bit of his life history and his aspirations with The Lawrentian. Here’s a small glimpse into the curious mind of this hopeful writer.
How long have you been writing? And how long have you been writing fiction?
Until I was about 16, I didn’t enjoy writing anything under any circumstances. At that point, I discovered the joys of writing to communicate and to argue a position. Only within the last couple years have I done any fiction writing that I’ve enjoyed. It’s funny how these things sneak up on you.
Why philosophy?
It was leaning toward [East Asian Studies] for a while, but in the end it had to be philosophy. It’s all about words and reality.
What works or authors have been particularly inspiring?
Neil Gaiman has a deft touch with turning the fantastic into reality, and in using folk tales to explain and expand on modern life. Haruki Murakami has a deft touch in turning reality into the fantastic. Between the two of them, I’ve learned that the way you present a story, and the reality you create behind the scenes, can be more important than the story itself. Beyond that, I’ve been inspired by a number of authors who were able to create something big and deep with surprisingly few words. Peter Beagle, Douglas Adams, and Steven Brust all belong on this list. Tolkien does not. Special mention must go to Bill Watterson, author of “Calvin and Hobbes,” as the probable first cause of my love of words, and belief in their power.
Why do you write? Why is it important?
I write because I enjoy it. What better reason could there be?
It’s important that I write because it’s the only thing keeping the moon from crashing into the earth, killing us all.
What are your plans for the future?
I intend to keep writing sporadically whenever I have time. Perhaps some day it will turn into a career, but maybe not. One thing I can say for certain is that I’ll have forty-one more pages written by the end of this term. That was addressed to you, Professor Dintenfass.
What can you say about the prize you’ve been awarded?
All I know is I get to go to the honors banquet and get a $250 prize.
Can you say a little bit about the story?
Um… no. I’d rather have people read it without any preconceptions. It’s going to be available in Tropos [Lawrence’s literary and arts magazine], assuming that publication is ever printed, or interested people are welcome to ask me for a copy.

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