“If you could say it in words, there would be no reason to paint.” ~ Edward Hopper
Saturday was a day of great fun for me as a person who works in the independent publishing industry. The literary community of Steamboat Springs, Colorado came out from behind their computers and into the limelight at the Written Arts Festival. I am aware of the fact that we do, indeed, have a growing population of independent publishers in this community. Nearly thirty were gathered; some having just published their debut novels, while others have more than one book published.
Panel discussions added interest to the event. “How should history be portrayed in writing?” was a subject that drew differing opinions from the authors. In the opinions of some, there is an obligation to write stories true to history; while others contend that history can be written from different perspectives.
Other authors specialize in fiction writing. The panelists in this genre seemed to agree that authors draw, to a certain extent, from personal experience and background which often gives them the basis of the story. Then the storyline “is pushed in different directions,” sometimes ending in a total surprise, even for the author. One panelist mentioned how her deeply felt spiritual beliefs influences her writing and a prolific romance writer admitted that individuals she encounters inspires her characters.
Sites, smells and visual landscapes also influence writing. A third group of panelists discussed how stories are crafted from experience in travel as well as from their rootedness in community. Place plays great significance in our identity as people and as writers. Local issues are often brought into books of regional interest.
The event culminated with an interview of a very talented poet and the Home Ranch owner, Ann Anderson Stranahan. Words, when used with the right cadence and meter makes music, she said. When Stranahan was asked if “her poetic images come to her in black and white or in color?”
“Vividly and suddenly, perhaps as in a photographic image, rather than an oil or watercolor,” was her answer.
The Bud Werner Memorial Library http://www.steamboatlibrary.org/ and the efforts of their staff made this inspiring event possible. Also, the support of the Steamboat Arts Council http://steamboatspringsarts.com/and Off the Beaten Path Bookstore’s http://www.steamboatbooks.com/ handling of the bookselling allowed the authors to visit with potential book buyers and answer questions.
I would have liked to have mentioned each of the authors individually, in this blog writing, but there were too many. I did get around the room to talk to each of them briefly. Thanks to all who participated and coordinated the Written Arts Festival. It was encouraging for anyone who is contemplating writing and publishing a story.
This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.