EATON — Preble County District Library held its first ever Author Con at the Eaton Branch on Saturday, May 26. The event brought numerous authors to the area to talk to the public and share their experiences with writing. The event was made possible by a grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), awarded by the State Library of Ohio.
Author Con was broken into a keynote speaker and three different panels — giving all writers present the opportunity to discuss their craft. They also had booths set up to sign and sell their books.
Authors Dr. Herbert Martin, Ian Adams, Tanya Anderson, Mindee Arnett, Meredith Doench, Jeffrey Ebbeler, Mary Ellis, Trudy Krishner, Keith Lykins, and James Willis were present.
Author Con also featured library board member Brenda Mezz, who recently published her memoir about returning to her hometown of Eaton, titled The Place Just Right.
There were three different panels following the keynote speaker. The Adult Fiction/Nonfiction panel included Doench, Ellis, and Willis. The Visual/Musical Arts and Writing panel included Adams, Lykins, and Ebbeler, and the Children’s and Young Adult panel included Anderson, Arnett, and Krisher.
Martin opened the convention with his speech. Born in 1933, he served as professor of English and poet-in-residence at the University of Dayton for more than three decades, where he taught creative writing and African-American literature. He has devoted decades to editing and giving performances of the works of the poet and novelist Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906). He is also the editor of four books as well as the author of nine volumes of poetry.
He discussed his tips for writing and how to improve as a writer.
“You need to learn what has already been written, so you do not write that again. You do not need to till accomplished territory, that is, if the farmer has already tilled the land, you do not need to redo it. It has already been done for you. The next thing for you to do is plant something, water it, and allow it to come to fruition,” he said.
“You may, however, build something new on that territory. A new attitude, new rhythm, a different perspective. Once upon a time, you tell the story of the three pigs, but nobody ever tells it from the wolves point of view. It is a different point of view. He might tell us a different story.
“Read the poem out loud, so you know the structure. So you know who is having this conversation with someone else on the stage. Why is he saying this? Each time you do something you are causing some kind of tension and reaction.
“There is a freshness and newness in the combination of words. There is newness and different. What you have to do is locate that newness.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH