Laurelton writer turns encounter into short story

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Myla Seabrook shows the newest edition of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series, which featured a short story she wrote. Photo by Ivan Pereira

By Ivan Pereira
Thursday, August 6, 2009

(taken from yournabe.com.   Original URL.)

Myla Seabrook shows the newest edition of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series, which featured a short story she wrote. Photo by Ivan Pereira

Being approached by a mysterious homeless man in the subway may be a scary situation for some straphangers, but for Laurelton college student Myla Seabrook, one such encounter had a profound impact on her life.

Five years ago, she was riding an E train home from her classes at the High School of Art & Design in Manhattan when a panhandler approached her and instead of asking for money, he asked the girl if she could love him.

“People value material things and he seemed to appreciate other things,” the 20-year-old Hofstra University junior said. “He wasn’t creepy, he was someone who really wanted [love].”

Seabrook’s experience was so remarkable that she decided to write a short story about it and now readers across the world will be able to learn from that experience, too. The student’s piece, “Riding Home,” was published last month in the newest edition of the popular collection of short stories “Chicken Soup for the Soul.”

The “Tough Times, Tough People” edition of the series contains several passages dealing with coping with hard economic times and other hardships. Seabrook, who is majoring in creative writing and painting, said she caught an advertisement on Craig’s List that sought writers for the book and she immediately liked the idea behind it.

“The ‘Tough Times, Tough People’ idea sounded like something I could do,” the young author said.

Seabrook said her encounter with the homeless man on the train was the perfect story to tell.

“If a homeless man can focus on those things like love, why can’t wei” she asked.

The editors of “Chicken Soup for the Soul” agreed and put the story in the book. Seabrook’s family, which includes her parents and her older brother, Robert, were excited about her accomplishment.

Her father, Bobby, said she has always been an active reader and writer since she was young.

“We gave her all the support in the world,” he said.

Seabrook said she began to practice creative writing when she was in middle school and discovered fantasy novels. She said she was pulled into the works of authors like J.R.R. Tolkien and Tamora Pierce because they would create extraordinary worlds, but still keep their characters down-to-earth.

“If you get drawn into the story, you feel like you’re right there with the characters,” Seabrook said.

The writer said she tries to emulate the same style in her own pieces by examining what goes on in her day-to-day life. Seabrook said she usually takes note of the people whom she sees on the street and subway and thinks about how she could make a story based on her perceptions of that pedestrian or straphanger.

The student said she wants to write fantasy novels for children professionally and being published in “Chicken Soup for the Soul” was a great start to her career. Seabrook suggested that any budding writers follow their imagination and look for stories that are inspired from their personal lives and experiences.

“It doesn’t have to be about dragons and swords or things like that all the time,” she said.

This entry was posted on Thursday, August 6th, 2009 at 7:45 pm and is filed under Feature, Print Articles, Profiles, TimesLedger. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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