Writing your own story
School of the Arts begins with free presentation by local award-winning author
BY EILEEN PERSIKE
Everyone has a story to tell. Writing instructor and historian Garyn Roberts wants to help get them told. Roberts, an award-winning author and college professor, is helping to kick off the ArtStart School of the Arts —Writer’s Legacy Program Aug. 4 with a free program at the Rhinelander District Library entitled, “Writing Your Family History.”
“There’s always an interest in the regular person,” Roberts said. “We can read our Hollywood biographies and those celebrity heroes who are (about) image and not always a lot of substance. But the stories of the pioneers in the Northwoods…are important to us because they are the unsung heroes.”
“Not everything is going to be published, but you can save it for your family and that’s where the value is.” Garyn G. Roberts, Ph.D
Preserving those stories, those family histories, is a good subject for beginning writers, he said.
“There are so many rules about writing and some of them are so basic,” Roberts explained. “One of them is that you write best about things you’re interested in.”
After spending the past three-plus decades writing, teaching, editing and publishing, Roberts has returned to the Northwoods, where he was raised. In addition to the presentation Friday, he will be joining a host of other writing instructors over the weekend for the School of the Arts Legacy Program Writers’ Retreat. In both sessions, Roberts said he will incorporate instruction with questions and answers, writing strategies and discussion.
“I will have some presentation material, lot of things to talk about, some handouts, some strategies for people,” said Roberts. “Some they may not have thought of, some that are so obvious, and yet so good— that I have used through the years with my own students and my own writing.”
Some of the strategies that will be suggested include how to tell your own story without constantly using the personal pronoun ‘I,’ which is “terribly unprofessional,” according to Roberts. He will also explain the writing process, and how it doesn’t flow from beginning to end, but “you put the writing together in pieces like a puzzle,” and the basics of grammar, mechanics, paragraphing and transitions.
Every writer has different goals, and not everything written is for publication. Roberts said only a small percentage of writers can make money, but most people write for immortality.
“They love the idea that their writing would someday transcend them,” Roberts said. “Not everything is going to be published, but you can save it for your family and that’s where the value is.”
The free presentation is at 1 p.m., Aug. 4 at the Rhinelander District Library. For more information on the School of the Arts Legacy Program Writers’ Retreat Aug. 4-6, visit artstartrhinelander.org or call 715-362-4328.