Arts / Community

Author Lance Rubin comes to Dana Hall

On April 28, 2015, Dana Hall held a wake to commemorate the death of our dearly departed friend Denton Little.

Dana Hall does not often hold funerals in the Library but did to welcome author Lance Rubin and his first novel, Denton Little’s Deathdate. The novel takes place in a fictional world where everyone knows the day of their death, but not how they are going to die, and spends their lives preparing for their funeral. The protagonist Denton Little’s deathdate just happens to be the day of his senior prom.

Rubin was inspired to write the book because he thinks about time and dates and  how he catalogues his life. For example, he is very precise about the timeline of writing this novel, and he could name the exact date he started, April 2011, the number of revisions in between, and the selling the book to his publisher in November 2013. He says the story of Denton Little came about when thinking about “the most important date, the day I’m going to die.”

Lance Rubin-2Despite these dark themes, Rubin describes the book as “very whimsical,” even down to the title. Many people have read the title incorrectly, thinking that “little” is about the deathdate rather than Denton’s last name, as in “Denton’s little death date,” as opposed to Denton Little’s Deathdate. Rubin calls this a “beautiful mistake,” as “death date is so serious but “little” clues people in that this is a funny book.”

Rubin also spoke in English teacher Ms. Liz Paushter’s classes, where he talked with students about the life and profession of a writer. It was Ms. Paushter who brought him to Dana Hall. She met him through his wife, whom she has known since she was a child. She says she never knew Rubin was going to be a writer, but was not “surprised.” Rubin had an acting career prior to becoming a writer but has always been someone very “literary, thoughtful, [and] analytical.”

Sheila Hernandez ’17, who attended one of the classes where Rubin spoke, says, “it’s nice seeing someone who is so successful and still be able to resonate with him and connect with him.” She also commented that Rubin said he is the type of person to procrastinate and to get writer’s block, and she could definitely see herself in those kind of situations.

Rubin advises aspiring writers to “write, even when you’re not inspired; just write and make a habit of writing.” Jane Hua ’17, also in Ms. Paushter’s class, says Rubin is “relatable because sometimes he wanted to stop writing, but he kept going.”

Ms. Paushter recommends the book because “it takes something that we are always so fearful of, death, and not only finds humor in something so fearful, but allows us to really think about the way we create relationship, the way we live our lives, and the things we value in a quirky humorous way.”

To bring Rubin to Dana Hall, Ms. Paushter contacted Director of the Library Stephanie Donahue to organize an author visit. Ms. Donahue, the brains behind holding a wake to welcome Rubin, describes him as someone “who is excited by life, and that’s really infectious.”

Currently, Rubin is also writing a musical with three other writers, called Annie Golden: Bounty Hunter Yo! The show will star Annie Golden, who plays the nearly mute Nora Romana from the television show Orange is the New Black. Having had a previous relationship with Golden, Rubin wanted to see her as a “leading character” as well as an “action hero.”

Book cover copy (flipped on its side) from Goodreads. Photo: Lance Rubin signs students’ copies of his novel. Photo credit: Katy Dandurand.

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