On Saturday, August 17, 2019 I will lead the workshop on How to Read a Photograph at Northwestern Summer Writers' Conference, Chicago.
Writers collect and use photographs as records of facts and as inspiration. Getting it at a glance—that’s what we like about photographs. They are simple; they yield their information without a struggle; their language is universal; seeing is natural: Each of these statements is false. Photographs are deceptive and they are filled with information beyond what is available at a glance. Learning how to see what photographs describe can deepen and enrich our writing. In this workshop we will explore ways to read photographs to discover what is within or beyond the surface representation.
Writing the Next Chapter, a program in which Patricia Skalka, Joyce Zeiss, and I talk about making the transition to second careers as novelist was warmly received at the March meeting of the Society of Midland Authors. During the discussion that followed, a new writer asked about the limits of the old adage “write about what you know.” “Write about what you want to know,” I suggested. Our curiosity, our urge to understand drives us as writers.