On Wednesday, October 30th from 2-3:30 p.m., the Libraries presents “I’m Not Just Making This Up: Why Even Creative Writers Need the Library,” its third installment of the Authors@Alden series. This conversation with Kevin Haworth, author and OHIO assistant professor of English, details how writers can optimize their creative processes with the Libraries’ resources.
Haworth, a self-described “interdisciplinary writer in the guise of a creative writer,” most recently penned a collection of essays titled “Famous Drownings in Literary History.” Each piece features memoirs fortified with non-fiction, resulting in a unique hybrid of the personal and the universal.
For example, the title essay takes root in the time Haworth rescued a young boy from drowning in a hotel pool and blooms into an analysis of cultural themes of drowning, with references ranging from the Bible to Jack London.
Haworth credited the Libraries with facilitating this fusion process. When asked to name his favorite resource, he responded without skipping a beat: “Project Muse.”
What differentiates Haworth from many other researchers and writers is that he’s not interested in the most direct references — he wants to wander through obscure, long-forgotten details. Project Muse, an online database of over 550 peer-reviewed academic journals, allows him to do just that.
He included one such detail in “My Son in a Dress,” an essay about the gender associations of clothing. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s son, Haworth said, traveled to Japan after being wounded in the Civil War, tattooed his entire body, and dressed in kimonos for most of the rest of his life. Haworth chanced upon the anecdote while perusing Project Muse and regards it as one of his favorite factoids in the book. Finding it, he said, felt like winning the lottery.
Haworth played this “lottery” on an almost-daily basis while writing. From the San Francisco Bay area to Tel Aviv, he regularly accessed the Libraries’ databases via Internet and followed his inspiration in a way that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.
“I feel like so much of creativity is positively influenced by other people’s creativity, and other people’s knowledge,” Haworth said. “There are other people, other writers and scholars out there, and being in conversation with them in my work is incredibly exciting and reassuring.”
OHIO Libraries was the natural forum for those conversations.
Open to the public, the event will take place in the 1951 Lounge the fourth floor of Alden Library on Wednesday, October 30 from 2-3:30 p.m., with a live webcast of the event available on the Authors@Alden page. Lorraine Wochna, OHIO Libraries’ instruction coordinator, will facilitate the discussion.