VETERANS STORYTELLING

Jaclyn Mazza, left, interviews Cherry Woodburn during a Stories for Creative Forces workshop at the Azalee Marshall Cultural Activities Center in Temple on Saturday.

Sunday was the last day of a storytelling workshop at the Cultural Activities Center.

Charlie Lockwood, executive director of Texas Folk Life in Austin, which sponsored the workshop, said some of the class members’ audio recorded interviews of one another might be among the recordings played for the public during the Listening Party, 6-8 p.m. Monday at the CAC.

“We’re trying to use folklore as a way of hearing veterans stories … those stories that you don’t often hear,” he said.

On Sunday afternoon, Carlos Salazar, a TFL producer, and Danea Johnson, program director, showed the class — made up of veterans, service members and spouses — how to edit their audio recorded interviews of one another. That boiled down to using software to delete unwanted segments and organize the remainder.

“Then start working on what you want your narration to be,” she said, referring to a short narration between segments. The narration is to frame the story for an audience that doesn’t know a lot about veterans, she said.

“You might also explain a little of your background,” Johnson said.

Lockwood said TFL plans to do a workshop for a Veterans Affairs outpatient clinic in Austin. If there is an interest, he said he hopes to have another workshop in the Temple area. Another option would be for the members of this workshop to train others, he said.

“What we’re trying to do here is encourage people to tell their own stories and listen to the traditions and stories of others — that may be different from theirs,” he said.

Gwendolyn Gray of Copperas Cove, the wife of a retired veteran, said her writing experience has been in poetry and essays. She makes some use of recording as a teacher at Copperas Cove High School.

She has interviewed veterans and used their experiences in her writing, she said.

“I’ve never done it in this media, to present the story in their voice,” she said.

She was impressed by the transcribing technology presented in the workshop. The interviewing, recording and typing that used to be an all-day affair, now takes much less time, she said.

“I’m not the world’s best typist,” Gray said. “When I’m in the interviewing process, this is something I’ll do.”

The workshop also made her want to tell “the veterans military story that needs to be told,” she said. “Women have been left out of history for the most part, the military wife even more. I think that might shift my writing topic for a while.”

Maxie Ginn of Kempner served seven years in the U.S. Army, and retired after 17 years with the Department of Veterans Affairs in Temple. She said she didn’t like retirement, and that one of her roles is serving as a peer support specialist. She attended the workshop to assist some of the veterans,

“I ended up being a participant in the program, and it’s all good,” she said. “I like this stuff. Who knows what you might be exposed to that will open the next chapter of my book?”