A highlight of the weekend will be a “He Said, She Said” improvisational performance between the two authors, which is free and open to the public, Saturday at 6-8 p.m., also at the library.
“We participated in two conferences together this year, one on public land and one on the future of publication in the literary world in the age of digital media,” says Irvine of how she and Childs came up with the idea of the workshop. “People are becoming so disconnected to the natural world and the story, but those are the things that have always defined us. In the tradition of storytelling, something is missing if it is transferred though a Kindle device or an iPad. We decided we needed to take the story back to the people.”
To that end, Irvine and Childs will dedicate the weekend to seeking out stories that that both stir the soul and appease the appetite. Class will convene both mornings (10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday; 9 a.m.-noon Sunday) at the Wilkinson Library, but will venture outside in search of fodder. Participants will explore through observation of the natural world, group discussion and writing exercises how to craft the story that is at once unique and universal – the story that sustains our humanity.
“This is not just for aspiring writers. It’s for anyone who cares about stories,” says Irvine.
For the Saturday’s improvisational performance, “The goal is to tease out the fullness of the story,” examining both external and internal landscapes, the masculine and the feminine – the opposites required to embrace all the complexities of a story.
“We don’t know where it will go, which is how I think most of us writers work,” says Irvine. “Hopefully the audience will be entertained.”
Cost for the workshop is $75. “We tried to make it very affordable,” says Irvine, who also hand picked Norwood student Siena Huebner to receive a scholarship to participate in the weekend workshop.
Childs’ most recent book, being released this summer, is called Finders Keepers: A Tale of Archaeological Plunder and Obsession. Irvine published Trespass: Living at the Edge of the Promised Land in 2008. The workshop and performance, as well as corresponding booksigning (after the performance), are being sponsored by the Wilkinson Public Library and Between the Covers. To sign up for the workshop, call 728-4519.