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Portage author to speak at Village Booksmith Friday

November 9, 2017

William Schwochert’s writing explores the human condition without wasting pages.

The Portage author’s collection of poetry and short stories addresses a wide range of literary themes with a sense of brevity. Schwochert will read several poems and a tale from his collection of short stories, “So Many Mountains,” at the Village Booksmith in downtown Baraboo on Friday.

Schwochert said “Funny Pages,” the short story he plans to read at the event, narrates the journey of a newspaper comics section as it travels from reader to reader. He said the tale considers how the paper affects different characters in different states of emotion.

“I decided I wanted to try to write something different,” Schwochert said. “I came up with the idea of writing several short stories about different topics and then tying them together with a common theme.”

Published in September 2016, “So Many Mountains” is an “eclectic” collection of short stories ranging in themes from boyhood and adventure to love and morality. In addition to the short story, Schwochert plans to read several poems at the Village Booksmith.

He said one particularly short piece was inspired by another author who valued brevity.

Years ago, Schwochert said he read about a writer who was displeased with the way children were taught how to read, so the writer’s publisher challenged him to write his own children’s story. The author was Dr. Seuss, and the story was “The Cat in the Hat.”

“After reading this, I thought I would give that a try, but I challenged myself to write a story using as few words as possible,” Schwochert said. The resulting 28-word poem delved into the author’s thoughts on the regeneration of life in nature.

“It was eventually chosen as the best new voice poetry in a publication from the Library of Congress,” Schwochert said.

An installment of the Village Booksmith’s Friday poetry series, Friday’s event is intended to showcase local artists and their work, store owner Rob Nelson said. Following Schwochert’s reading, Nelson said the bookstore’s stage will be open to other speakers who wish to read their own or other artists’ work.

“We’re always interested in giving local authors a venue to share their work and expose them to a wider audience,” Nelson said. “Hearing a different perspective that somebody has in our area is always interesting.”

A surgical first assistant at Divine Savior Healthcare in Portage, Schwochert said he has always been interested in writing but only recently began publishing his short stories. Moving forward, Schwochert said he plans to release another collection of short stories entitled “The Other Side of Life: Encounters with the Supernatural” in the coming months.

“I’ve always enjoyed writing,” he said. “It was developed out of angst, trying to release your inner feelings and trying to find out who you are in life.”