|TONY MARTIN SPEAKING ENGAGINGLY ABOUT SCIENCE (photo by Ruth Schowalter, aka Hallelujah Truth)|
This weekend, these two endeavors, writing and speaking, merged for Tony Martin as he was a featured Atlanta author at the 2013 Decatur Book Festival (DBF), the largest independent book festival in the United States--and it took place in our hometown of Decatur, Georgia, within walking distance from where we live!
|SCIENCE WRITING WORKSHOP|
Tony and I both began the DBF weekend by taking workshops on the Agnes Scott campus, also located in Decatur. Tony took the workshop, "Science and Storytelling: Creating a Chemical Reaction," with Sonya Collins, which was down the hallway from my workshop, "Good Book, Bad Book," with Susie Wilde (see my blog entry about her workshop).
Here is the description of his "Science and Storytelling" workshop:
Maybe you've heard of science writing or science journalism, but as a creative writer, you wonder, "How creative could science writing really be?" You're interested, but you wonder if it might be a little dry for you. You wonder if it could really scratch your "writerly itch." In this workshop, learn how science writers use metaphor, character, scene and other creative literary devices to tell stories about science. And then try the tools out for yourself.
And the man that I am married to who has authored more than three science books and 35 peer-reviewed papers, emerged from his workshop classroom all smiles, pronouncing, "Yes, I learned something," and, "It reaffirmed what I'm doing right."
Hallelujah for Tony's openness to ongoing personal and professional development, for leaving his desk computer and going out into the world of the DBF and engaging with other science writers and gaining from their expertise.
Not speaking at the DBF until Sunday afternoon, my Chiboogamoo and I had all of Saturday to enjoy the DBF writer venues and book vendors. An Emory professor, my honey wanted to make a stop at his university's tent to see how his newest book, Life Traces of the Georgia Coast, was being displayed. He was not disappointed when he saw it figured prominently in a collage about Emory authors.
Our Saturday slipped away pleasurably and smoothly like hourglass sand as we attended events, looked at books, stopped at the hospitality suite for authors, mingled with authors and friends, and celebrated at the evening gala. Opera singers, costumed creatures, light displays, gourmet cocktails, and "haute" street food swirled around us. Fun was to be had on this hot humid night in Georgia at the DBF.
Floating about in a delirium of heat and pleasure, we bumped into Brian Switek, a DBF-featured Atlanta Science Tavern writer and, not surprisingly, an acquaintance of Tony's via Twitter and professional meetings. Arriving in Atlanta to speak about his book, My Beloved Brontosaurus, he was enjoying the celebratory atmosphere surrounding authors, their books, and the people who love them.
As it was my first time to meet Brian, I was feeling slightly shy about talking with this accomplished science writer. That is, until he accidentally splashed the feet of U.S. Poet Laureate, Natasha Tretheway, with a spilled cocktail. All was forgiven and I was then completely relaxed in his presence. (As an aside, I might add that my husband had the privilege of teaching introductory geology to Dr. Tretheway when she was an undergraduate and he was a graduate student at the University of Georgia.)
Sunday arrived. My honey and I went to the first science talk at noon, which began with Brian Switek's talk about his book. Good science that is well written can be spoken about in an entertaining fashion, and Brian excelled at engaging us. He even explained the genesis of Bookzilla (DBF's monstrous mascot)? Can you believe it?
But before Brian spoke about his book, My Beloved Brontosaurus, Tony gave an informative and thrilling introduction. Yes, he did. Taking the time to craft the introduction, he wrote a draft by hand, typed it, revised it, rehearsed it, and was ready to create a heightened sense of fun for the audience. Is that writing science right and speaking engagingly?
|TONY MARTIN IS PURE THEATER. When introducing Brian Switek, Tony donned a dinosaur hat to engage the audience. He succeeded, and they were disappointed when he took it off. (photo by Ruth Schowalter)|
Following Brian's talk was book signing and lunch with Brian, but then it was TA-DA time! Tony's talk about Life Traces of the Georgia Coast in the DBF's Atlanta Author division. For us, this was the climax of the DBF!
And I watched while Tony incorporated in his talk what he had just learned from Sonya Collins on her Friday afternoon workshop. He created a cast of characters, asking the audience to imagine them in a Flannery O'Connor novel or a movie. Time was too short for him to pursue and develop this character idea in any depth; however, I am curious to see where this idea will go in the future.
|SCIENCE SPEAKER EXTRAORDINAIRE! Think about a science writer asking you to "IMAGINE"! (photo by Ruth Schowalter)|
|CHIBOOGAMOO AND HALLELUJAH TRUTH. Here we are pictured together at the Decatur Book Festival with our DBF logo coffee cups, Tony Martin, science writer and engaging speaker with me adoring wife, artist, and blogger. (photo by willing DBF attendee)|
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: Enormous applause to Daren Wang, one of the co-founders of the Decatur Book Festival. Much appreciation to Brian Switek and the time we spent together getting to know him better during the DBF. And to U.S. Representative John Lewis, who has given so much to this country, the United States, towards creating equality for all. He gave a wonderful keynote speech Friday night of the DBF.
|JOHN LEWIS, KEYNOTE SPEAKER FOR THE DECATUR BOOK FESTIVAL 2013. John Lewis, Georgia Congressman and Civil Rights advocate, split his keynote speech into thirds to allow his two collaborators equal time. He is standing in front of the slide with the cover of his newly published graphic novel, MARCH. Andrew Aydin, seated behind the Congressman, co-authored the text. Then seated left on the stage is the graphic artist who illustrated the text, Nate Powell. (photo by Ruth Schowalter)|