"The world is made of stories, not atoms," according to one poet.
New and longtime writers of all ages will discover the truth of that observation when Charley Kempthorne presents her LifeStory Workshop on Sunday, November 4, 2012, at 2 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
"Everyone can write stories," insists Kempthorne, a pioneer in the "memoir movement" who began the first reminiscence writing workshop anywhere in 1976 in his hometown of Manhattan, Kansas. "And often the ones who have the least training as writers do the best job."
Kempthorne argues that most people have been good writers all along. They simply need to get started, and the best way is to join with friends to begin writing and sharing their stories.
He has a remarkable track record. His very first student was Jessie Foveaux, who didn't publish her memoir for 20 years because she didn't think it would be of interest to anybody but her family. Yet when it attracted the attention of the New York media it auctioned for $1 million and left Jessie, by then 97 years old, a wealthy woman.
"Not everyone will get a million dollars from a big publishing house for their memoir," Kempthorne notes, "but what they write will be worth much more to their family and friends. And it'll be a valuable contribution to human history as well."
The workshop offers an introduction to the basic elements of narrative writing for autobiographers, personal historians, memoirists, and journal writers. Participants try their hand at writing a narrative and reading it aloud.
Also explored are methods of keeping the writing going without drawing a blank or succumbing to writer's block. Finally, Kempthorne discusses ways to publish and otherwise disseminate to family and friends what has been written.
Kempthorne holds an MFA in narrative writing from the famed Iowa Writers' Workshop. He and his wife June have given hundreds of writing workshops throughout the USA and Canada. Kempthorne founded the LifeStory Institute in 1991 as a how-to newsletter/magazine with a website at www.thelifestoryinstitute.com .
Admission is free but space is limited and pre-registration is required. RSVP online or call 816.701.3407. Free parking is available in the Library District parking garage at 10th & Baltimore.