Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Writing History: The 5th Annual IWC Banquet

Do you ever think of your place in history as you write? You should. That was the gist of last Thursday night’s message by Indiana Poet Laureate Karen Kovacik.

Indiana Writers’ Consortium held its fifth annual banquet on October 10 at Avalon Manor in Merrillville, Indiana. The evening began with networking and book sales and ended with an entertaining open mic, and everyone enjoyed the conversation and the food. But the highlight of the evening was Karen Kovacik’s talk titled “Falling Through Time: Writing the Self into History.”

Karen started by telling the audience that our task as writers is to pack as much of history into our work as we can. She challenged us to create an archive of past and current existence for the benefit of our readers. She then gave us ten strategies writers can use to make their works an archive of existence. Here is a brief summary.

  1. Include dates and place names in poems and stories and other works.
  2. Write about family heirlooms and ordinary items that are products of their time.
  3. Explore the origins of our surnames.
  4. Write about the private lives of public figures.
  5. Study new and old maps for what they reveal and what they conceal.
  6. Write about the impact of a historical event on our lives or those of our relatives.
  7. Use pop culture artifacts to evoke a historical moment.
  8. Visit a historical site, paying attention to what remains and what has disappeared.
  9. Study historical photographs, including family ones, for unexpected insights.
  10. Bring together an autobiographical story with a larger historical panorama.

As Karen talked about each strategy, she gave examples from Indiana writers. If you follow her advice, a future talk may mention you.

I’ll close this post with a few more pictures from the banquet.

Karen Kovacik talking to IWC President
Janine Harrison and Michael Poore.
Pre-meal networking.
Learning about each other--starting
the evening with introductions.

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