Some artists paint with colors, some with movement some with notes. Beth Kephart paints with words. I virtually met Beth through our mutual friend, Nettie Hartsock, and was immediately captivated by how she uses words. Her recent book, Undercover was written for the youth market; however, this story of a young teenage girl is must read for young and old. For Beth blogging is a treasure hunt for the imagination where she combines heart, soul and insights on a quest to write the illusive perfect post.
Blogger Story Teller: Beth Kephart, Beth Kephart Books
Writing indulges the myth of continuity. Photographs suggest the significance of the single instant. Ever since a fourth-grade teacher helped me turn a Quaker Oats container into a pinhole camera, I’ve been chasing photographs, and I fell hard for words (the sound of them, their shape) at about the same time. I’ve been caught in both lures ever since.
Blogging lets me play with the mix. When I sit down to post, I’m thinking about triggers. I’m thinking about something I might have heard on a train or something the wind might have blown my way or something I’ve been battling with. Then I’m thinking about the iconography—the way a photo might be used to create an amplifying metaphor. Between the story that I write and the photo that accompanies it, there’s tension, and often that tension—the story not spoken, the bridge not built—is the place where the next blog begins, the thing I start battling with.
I’m writing, and I’m thinking about who might be listening. I’m writing, and I’m listening back. Blogging isn’t like writing a book, and it isn’t like writing a letter. It’s something new, a backwards cascade, and I love the challenge of it. I haven’t yet blogged a perfect blog, but I’m aching toward it.
One of the things I’m careful of is providing a cohering blog experience, despite the fact that I don’t live anything close to a coherent-seeming life. I split my time between running a communications business (we tell stories at Fusion — work with clients to develop books and brochures and web pages that celebrate, commemorate, explain), writing books, teaching writing workshops, and being a mother and wife. My most recent books have all been exercises in the very new, for me.
FLOW: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF THE SCHUYLKILL RIVER, tells the story of a river in her own words.
UNDERCOVER, my first novel for young adults, celebrates poetry and explores identity through a female Cyrano character.
ZENOBIA: THE CURIOUS BOOK OF BUSINESS, due out in January and co-authored with the CEO of a $14 billion pharma company, takes an Alice in Wonderlandesque look at the role of the imagination in corporate America.
It’s a fabulous existence that makes sense to me, but on paper, it’s a bit of a mess. A mess, unless you accept, as I long ago accepted, that everything I do comes back to one thing, which is, of course, the imagination. My corporate clients are dreaming out loud, and so I’m dreaming with them. My books are repositories for memories, evocations, sparks. My students require me to be smarter than I actually am, and, for them, I stretch. And my fabulous son expects the sort of wisdom for which I have to hunt, which means, absolutely, that I go hunting.
In my blog world, all of this knits itself into something that I hope feels whole. Not self-promotional, not blaring, but quivering with something as close to the continuous and meaningful as I know how to get.