first_imgNovelist Michael Collins, member of the Notre Dame class of 1987, read excerpts from his most recent novel, “The Death of All Things Seen,” on Wednesday in the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore.As an undergraduate, Collins was a varsity track athlete at Notre Dame on scholarship from Limerick, Ireland, majoring in English and business.“I came as an athlete and only survived two years at Notre Dame on scholarship, and I was allowed by the benevolence of [University President Emeritus] Fr. [Theodore] Hesburgh to stay without finishing my running career,” Collins said. “What he did say was, ‘If you’re going to stay on here, do something, don’t be a quitter. You’re not leaving the team because you’re a failure.’ And I said ‘No, I want to become educated. I want to do something else.’”That “something else” was first programming software — a skill he taught himself — at Microsoft under Bill Gates, and then later becoming a successful novelist whose works have been translated into 17 languages.William O’Rourke, professor emeritus and founder of the Notre Dame Creative Writing graduate program, said Collins was the reason he founded the program.“Michael was one of the most extraordinary students I’ve ever encountered, and it wasn’t just because he had over-the-horizon genius in writing,” O’Rourke said. “He has this ability of prose which very few people have, he’s a long distance runner world class and he also worked with Bill Gates at Microsoft.“He traverses three cultures.”One of Collins’ early novels, “The Keepers of Truth,” which is set in a town that closely resembles South Bend, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the IMPAC Award. The book led to both his recognition in the literary world and his firing from Microsoft, because they were unaware of his writing career, O’Rourke said.Since then, Collins has written 10 novels in total, all part of an American series that “lament the passing of American greatness,” Collins said.Collins read from his most recent novel, “The Death of All Things Seen”, which is the last in the series.“[The Death of All Things Seen is] a Chicago novel. It’s both sociological, realistic and philosophical — a genre that’s very popular these days,” O’Rourke said.Collins attributed his recent success to the current political climate surrounding the election of President Donald Trump.“When I started writing, it was to understand my own country, to process all that I had left behind in Ireland — again in 1983, Catholics versus Protestants and the whole in Ireland, you got to America and you never wanted to go home.” Collins said. “Writing is about psychotherapy for me. Perhaps it takes a point of dislocation to better receive the past or understand it. It would not be until I became an engineer for Microsoft in the mid ’90s that I would begin to reflect on our collective future.”“The Death of All Things Seen” begins in 2008 in the wake of the economic crisis and the election of then-President Barack Obama. The novel “moves around the central idea that there is no single narrative anymore — that each life simply occupies the same moment, that one’s perception and understanding of the world is never the same to any one person,” Collins said. “This is a world of fracture.”Collins, who is an ultra runner in addition to novelist and is captain of the Irish National 100k team, says that distance running and writing overlap in the areas of self-deprivation and discipline.“Every book takes about three months to write. You spend a lot of time preparing for a book and then you have to find a three-month space to do it. Writing a book is not difficult when you decide to do it,” Collins said. “I do 100-mile races, people think three months is long, but 100 miles is long too. If you prepare for it … you say on that particular day, ‘I’m going to do it,’ to the detriment of everything else in your life.”Collins then offered some advice to aspiring novelists.“Compress everything into a short period of time. If you give yourself too much time to do something, you give yourself an out.”Tags: creative writing, Ireland, Michael Collins, rev. theodore hesburgh, The Death of All Things Seen, Tracklast_img read more

first_imgGeorgia’s recent drought led University of Georgia Cooperative Extension irrigation specialist Wes Porter to caution farmers about planting cover crops this winter.Porter said the decision to plant cover crops depends on the grower’s individual situation.“Growers who want to plant a cover crop to protect from erosion and other elements, as well as to keep some nutrients in the soil, should probably go ahead and do it,” Porter said. “It’s a risk because we don’t know when it will rain, and it could potentially be a waste of money.”Although south Georgia received its first significant rain in more than two months the past two weeks, soil is still dry in some fields. For cover crops to be effective, they’ll need moisture. Porter believes irrigation could also be useful, although many ponds that are used for irrigation are very low.“Growers may want to run a pivot over the top of their cover crops to get them emerged and growing,” Porter said. “Light irrigation to help get the cover crop established so it can do its job might be recommended this year because of the drought. I have heard many producers saying that they have planted a cover crop that still hasn’t emerged due to the lack of rainfall and soil moisture.”Farmers normally plant cover crops in the winter to trap moisture in the soil from winter rain. Cover crops also protect against soil erosion, keep weeds from growing and restore nutrients in the ground.“Typical cover crops are rye, wheat or any grass or vegetative cover that sits on the field over the winter,” Porter said. “It’s usually burned down or removed before planting in the spring. In some instances, farmers will roll the cover crop down and plant directly into it with a strip-till rig.”While growers don’t put a lot of resources into cultivating cover crops, they will sometimes apply a little fertilizer to get the crops started.There is no real alternative to cover cropping that accomplishes the same job, according to Porter. Porter said that putting some resources into cover cropping may be beneficial in the long term, but growers should know where to draw the line.“I definitely would not put the same resources into a cover crop as I would my typical row crops that I’m trying to produce,” Porter said.last_img read more

first_imgIt took just six sets over two matches for Syracuse to come away with two wins in the UConn Invitational tournament on Friday.The Orange (2-0) kicked off the 2015 season by defeating Rhode Island (1-1) and Hartford (0-2) in the UConn Invitational tournament in West Hartford, Connecticut.The closest set in the first match was the opening one, as SU narrowly defeated Rhode Island 25-23. The Rams began the set with three consecutive points, but Syracuse won the next five and never fell behind on the scoreboard after that.The Orange got off to a slow start again in the second set, falling behind 5-1, but quickly evened the score with a four-point streak featuring four total kills from senior outside hitter Silvi Uattara and senior middle blocker Monika Salkute. Uattara and Salkute led the Orange in kills for the match with 14 and 11, respectively.SU won the second set 25-15, notching three more streaks of three-plus points along the way.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe third set featured more dominance by Syracuse, as the team won seven straight points after losing just one to take a 7-1 lead. After that, the Orange never let the deficit slip to less than three, and it took the final set 25-14.Apart from her efforts on offense, Uattara also contributed defensively by leading the team in digs (10) and blocks (5, tied for the lead with Salkute).Senior setter Gosia Wlaszczuk recorded 21 assists while freshman setter Jalissa Trotter added 14 assists of her own. Freshman setter Annie Bozzo also aided the Orange on this front, putting up two assists in just four points played.Syracuse picked up its second win of the season on Friday night, defeating Hartford in another three-set contest. And this victory was even more dominant, with the Hawks failing to reach twenty points in any set.Despite playing a relatively back-and-forth first set, the Orange finished it strongly by winning eight of the last nine points to win 25-15. The team’s success continued from there, as it won the first three points of the second set and never lost the lead before taking it 25-17.Syracuse saved its most impressive score of the day for last, as it lead for most of the third set en route to a 25-12 victory.Bozzo continued to show promise for the Orange in this match, totaling 13 assists and tying Wlaszczuk for the team lead. She was one half of a dangerous new combination, as she set up Uattara for four kills in the first set alone.Trotter also maintained her strong first impression by recording eight assists of her own.Syracuse will continue play against UConn (1-1) on Saturday afternoon in Storrs, Connecticut. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on August 29, 2015 at 12:07 am Contact Kevin: kjpacell@syr.edulast_img read more