Monday, June 6, 2011

North Words Writing Symposium

Remember how I told everyone in the world that I wanted to write a book?  I still do, and last weekend I was able to attend a very inspirational and motivational writing symposium with amazing and talented authors from all over Alaska and beyond.  Some of my favorites; Haine's Heather Lende, a realist who I gained a lot from, Kotzebue's Seth Kanter, a hilarious and surprising character, New York's Howard Blum, publisher of 9 books, Kim Heacox, who every word I wanted to write down, and many more.  From Thursday to Saturday, I attended work shops on character development, story lines, writing history, and memoirs.  I was able to join the group for the train ride to Lake Bennett on Thursday, as well as the excursion out to Jeff Brady's lovely summer cabin on Saturday.

I just have to point out that when hanging out with writers, there is never a dull moment.  I am not sure if its because most writers generally have a lot of lonely time and then when they are with other story tellers they can't seem to shut up, or if they are all just a bit egotistical and love to hear themselves talk, or both.  It was non stop chatter boxes for four days.  Tales from a film producer about her experience of riding horses for pleasure seeking thrills (below the waist), to a little girls assumptions that her French teacher was "retarded", and therefore only replying to her with "blah blah blah", and then later was speculated on if she had autism (but really is a published author now).  I was laughing til i cried with their true tales, dynamic characters and how expressive they were in their story telling.

And even though they never stopped talking, I felt encouraged by every word they said.  My limited vocabulary only gets me so far, but these people, these writers of words, these intelligent creative souls, make everything sound so much better.  A little intimidating yes, but also inspiring.  Like Seth Kanter, who his dyslexic, told us a bit about book signing and how it's stressful for him.
I get nervous because someone will ask me to sign it for Sue, and I'm thinking "Now how do you spell Sue, is it s e w?  No.  But it can't be s u e because isn't that what lawyers do."
Others that I wrote down are (but might or might not know who said them, is that a writer's no no?)
"I'm not responsible for the whole truth, just my experiences."  A response after a participant asked how do you write a memoir when you aren't sure of the entire truth, just what you can remember.
 "If you don't get any (criticism), then you aren't saying anything." a comment made by one of the faculty after how to deal with criticism when you publish a book.

"Don't respond by coming here, respond by loving where you are."  Kim Heacox

"You don't have to say "Alaska is profound", you just have to say "Alaska"."  Kim Heacox

"History is so outrageous, it doesn't need to be embellished" Julius Caesar (meaning quite making history up and then writing books saying it's all true!)

I also loved how the panel of writers talked about researching and collecting material.  Material is a moment, a character they find interesting, a conversation they over heard, and taking that experience and using it in their writing, twisting it possibly, but getting inspiration from the moment.

Next year the writing symposium will be in Denali and then Dawson City.  I am thinking I might just have to attend, but lets at least hope by then, I will have a rough draft for my book or at least something down on paper.  Yes I'm feeling a bit over my head but also ecstatic.  Thanks Skagway, Jeff Brady and Buckwheat for a wonderful four days. 

Howard Blum, screen player writer David Hunsaker, Heather Lende,
Lynn Schooler, Seth Kanter, & Kim Heacox
Cool shots I got out at Jeff Brady's place.
Chatter boxes I tell ya!
Daniel with the Wind Valley Boys
A black bear, not brown, off the road in the Yukon.
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1 comment:

Alisa said...

How cool is that?! I'm so jealous you got to go to the writer's symposium...I think it would be sooo interesting!

I'm so glad Marcus made it, and that all is well! I hope you guys have a blast!