February 21, 2024

Unlike most, professor D’Arcy Fallon spent her sabbatical in an isolated cabin in Nova Scotia for six weeks with only her two dogs, China and Sebastian, to keep her company. With no running water, which means no flushing toilet or working showers, Fallon spent her mornings walking her dogs, drinking coffee and working on her first fictional novel, “The Yum Yum Bus.”

Marking the first English Department colloquium of the spring semester, Fallon discussed and read the first two chapters of her book in progress “The Yum Yum Bus.”

“I know I’m supposed to tell you that I wrote this deep novel with earth shaking advice, but that just isn’t the case here,” Fallon said. “I would be a terrible guest on Oprah, but I have been practicing.”

“The Yum Yum Bus,” set in Evening, Ohio, a town much like our very own Springfield, revolves around the life of a middle-aged journalist and teacher by the name of Rory McAllister. After her love for journalism died off, McAllister decided to try her luck in the teaching industry, only to find that it isn’t as easy as it appears.

Seemingly every aspect of McAllister’s life is off or astray; her boyfriend wants to move to the country and raise chickens, her best friend owns a purple food truck “as big as a humpback whale” that she calls the “bustaurant” and a student of hers, Misty Cotton, just cannot seem to shut up in the classroom, effectively driving McAllister up the wall.

“I’m still writing it, but I promise I won’t leave my characters stranded in the Hollow,” Fallon said.

Loud laughter from faculty, including Lori Askeland and Jennifer Oldstone-Moore, and students filled the room as Fallon read her drafts of the first and second chapters of the book.

In the first chapter, McAllister struggles with one of her internal demons: shoplifting. Her sweaty palms grip the handlebars of her cool shopping cart as McAllister is unable to control herself. Despite the echoes of her German therapist in her head, she is able to slide a tray of salmon down her pants and a tube of mauve lipstick into her bra before running into her pain-in-the-ass student, Misty.

Thunderous applause and a handful of hoots and hollers sounded as Fallon looked up, finishing reading the first chapter aloud. Askland shouted for the second chapter and Fallon bashfully obliged. The second chapter follows McAllister as she ventures into the questionable and confusing world of Victoria’s Secret.

“Victoria’s Secret is for the young and beautiful, not for the middle-aged fighting against gravity,” Fallon said.

This being Fallon’s first fictional piece, professor Rick Incorvati asked that, while she was able to so masterfully keep the reader focused and involved in her specific scenes, did she then struggle to keep the holistic theme and plot of the book in mind?

“You know, the more I try to get into the heads of my characters, the bigger and bigger the story gets,” Fallon said. “It’s really hard and I’m really struggling.”

While Fallon does not currently have an agent and still needs to finish writing her book, she does hope to see her novel hit the stacks in about a year.


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