My Story from StoryCon
Excitement. Curiosity. Nervousness.
These were all emotions I felt attending my first StoryCon at Huntington University. Dr. Todd Martin, director of StoryCon, had hyped up the event and suggested I attend. As a newer English major, I felt like I would be the least knowledgeable person in the room and the least qualified to take part in the making and telling of stories. However, I was curious about the poetry workshop, and with a free lunch involved, I couldn’t say no. I apprehensively registered for StoryCon 2022, and looking back, I am so thankful I did.
Walking into StoryCon, I was greeted with a notebook, pen, stickers, and an itinerary for the day (and this year, attendees will receive a t-shirt!). I was ushered to a table by my fellow English majors, and as we grabbed coffee, giggled, and talked about which workshop we were looking forward to most, I scanned the room for other familiar faces. Along with the Department of English faculty, I saw tables of high school students and their teachers. With so many people in one room that appreciated English, writing, and literature, I knew I was in for a special day.
With my notebook and pen ready for the depths of insight I hoped to gain, the workshops began. One that stuck with me was about poetry. The presenters had our tables write down 20 elements we found in a piece of poetry, such as “mentions an animal” or “has seven stanzas.” Then, we rolled dice to see which five elements we had to use in an original poem. Given just 15 minutes to write, I stared blankly at my page, trying to connect “a mention of Mountain Dew” with “includes 16 periods.” Hoping to gather strength and creativity from the English majors around me, I began.
After the 15 minutes were up, the presenters had us share our work with our table. As a perfectionist, I was adamant that I would not share my poem. It was messy, with lines crossing out stanzas and arrows directing the reader to a new thought I had written down with ten seconds to spare. However, after a few of the people at my table shared their poetry, laughing at themselves as they read over lines written hurriedly and tried to pronounce words that had been scribbled down, I noticed a growing confidence within myself. After sharing my unfinished poem, I was greeted with affirmations and kind suggestions. Taking a step of courage in sharing my writing is something I will always be proud of myself for doing in that moment, and I have StoryCon to thank. After lunch, I settled back in my chair as I heard from presenters about character development, plot do’s and don'ts, costume design, and publishing. Students, high school and college alike, then shared their own stories, poems, and papers.
At the end of StoryCon, as I was walking back to my residence hall, I reflected on the day. StoryCon reminded me that no matter your qualification or age, your story deserves to be heard. I found a new sense of confidence in myself and my writing, and taking constructive criticism from others was now easier, as I saw it as an opportunity to grow. I had also gotten closer to my fellow English majors and professors. With these memories in mind, I registered for StoryCon 2023 as soon as Dr. Martin announced the official date was set for Saturday, March 11, 2023.
Simply put, being part of StoryCon means celebrating stories and the people who tell them. It also means that you will be able to celebrate your own story. Register on HU’s StoryCon page, and you too can share your story from StoryCon.