Tuesday, September 24, 2019

WEAVING HISTORY'S STORY

Post by Doris McCraw
writing as Angela Raines

Photo property of the author

I have been watching the PBS documentary by Ken Burns, "Country Music" when time and schedule allow. As a student of film, writing, and history, I am enthralled by the way stories of the stars and growth of the industry are interwoven with each other.

It also brought to mind how both fiction and nonfiction writers tell the story of history.

When we write fiction, myself included, I am thrilled when those pieces of history about an area in my stories that can be seamlessly added, thus fusing elements of authenticity to the story. I also enjoy reading stories that use elements of the past. I become so excited reading the authors who use history's elements, and I am aware of them, is almost like the story becomes even more real for me.



When growing up most of my history classes were names, dates. and places. The stories of those names, the people behind those names, were left out. That ended up making history very boring, although I still found it fascinating, it seemed to be lacking. As a student during the Vietnam era, a contentious time in our country, I had a world history/civics teacher who had colored pictures of the soldiers both living and dead and the surrounding countryside plastered upon the walls. Whatever his thoughts about the right or the wrong of that conflict, I appreciated his evenness in simply telling the story of the men and women on, of the background that led to that conflict, and both sides of the argument that was occurring in our country. It was through him that I fell in love with the stories of the people who made history.

Now, when I tell the stories both fiction and nonfiction I remember his evenness, his ability to not draw conclusions and allow his students to draw their own. I try for that same evenness when I tell the stories of the people I research. Sometimes it's difficult to keep my personal and modern thoughts from the words I write. At the same time, I try to weave a story that will imbue the excitement I have for the subject to the people who are reading it.

Photo property of the author
This is also true of fiction writing. Although I am relatively new to having both my fiction and nonfiction published, I am always reminded of the power of story to engage the hearts and minds of people. In that respect, I have a lot to learn from the way Ken Burns and his production company tell the stories of the subjects he is presenting. He weaves history's story into a tapestry that is beautiful and constantly challenging the watcher to find the truth they need to know.

Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
For a list of Angela Raines Books: Here 

8 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thank you. I enjoy taking the stroll or drive with the camera and just start with whatever hits my fancy. Doris

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  2. We are also watching and loving the Ken Burns - Country Music documentary. I enjoy weaving bits of history into my fiction. Terrific photos.

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    Replies
    1. It is such a well done documentary. I'm places it brought me too tears.

      I thank you for the kind words about my photos. I also wish you continued success with your writing. Doris

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