The Daily Tar Heel

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Monday January 24th

Millennials’ stories selfie-expression

UNC senior Sarah He (left) and graduate Jared Shaffer read the book they both contributed chapters too, "Song of my Selfie". They both spoke at FlyLeafs Books bookstore in Chapel Hill on Monday.
Buy Photos UNC senior Sarah He (left) and graduate Jared Shaffer read the book they both contributed chapters too, "Song of my Selfie". They both spoke at FlyLeafs Books bookstore in Chapel Hill on Monday.

“Songs of my Selfie” is a collection of short stories written for millennials and anyone who knows what it is like to have a quarter-life crisis. Of 17 total contributors to the anthology, two are involved with UNC.

Xingyue Sarah He, a senior English major, submitted her story “Minnows” as part of a creative writing contest, called “Quarter-life Crisis,” in 2015. Selected winners of the contest were then compiled into the book, published by Three Rooms Press.

Each story in the anthology focuses on different aspects of the lives of millennials and their different experiences post-college.

“Since I had some work that I felt like addressed that experience, I figured I may as well try and see if I can get published,” He said.

“Minnows” is about a couple who goes on a last vacation before the woman must begin brain cancer treatment.

UNC’s other contributor, Jared Shaffer, graduated in 2013. He wrote his story, “Use Without Pity,” specifically for the contest.

“It’s hard to get published anywhere, and it means a lot, so you go for something when you get the chance to,” Shaffer said.

Shaffer participated in the reading at Flyleaf Books on April 18, one of three recent readings held in Chapel Hill and New York City.

The owner of Flyleaf Books, Jamie Fiocco, praised Three Rooms Press for giving a voice to millennial authors.

“They’re saying that millennials are under a great deal of pressure,” she said. “That they’re living in a time that is unprecedented. The authors who have contributed to this piece have some really important thoughts about where they are in their life and where they are in the world.”

Shaffer said, “That’s been one of the coolest parts. Getting in front of audiences and hearing all the different short story writers in the book read their stories and see people enjoy that and get something out of it.”

Shaffer’s story centers around two co-workers at a movie theater who go on a date to fire off the male character’s potato launcher. The story comes to a head when he has to make the choice whether or not he wants to shoot a bottle off his date’s head.

Shaffer said the stories in the book feature stories about millennials that are both touching and entertaining, and both contributors feel that a book targeting millennials is beneficial — particularly to college students.

“I think, overall, that there is experience and insight that can come from their stories that could be helpful for any student who is maybe anxious about the future,” he said.

“I think reading stuff that’s written by your peers is really empowering to see their words and know that each of our voices means something.”

@just_in_kacey

arts@dailytarheel.com



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