Touring the Argo Mine during its Grand Reopening, having been closed to the public since 1943, was a telling experience. There, of course, are the historicity of the event, the excitement for Mary Jane Loevlie and Bob Bowland who are dedicating so much to the project, and its meaning for the town’s economic development. Then, there are the stories of those who worked, laboring under brutal conditions and treatment, and even died there. If their ghosts could talk, I thought.
To those living in the heart of Clear Creek, changes happening from the east end of Idaho Springs through Georgetown might not seem momentous. But they are.
In Idaho Springs, they are obvious. Redevelopment along Colorado Boulevard and at the Argo are promising economic revitalization. Granted, the changes are likely causing pains in the rear for those navigating Colorado Boulevard, but the cloud’s silver lining is knowing how greatly improved it will be when done.
In Georgetown, the changes are subtler. No major physical upheavals since the construction of the roundabout. Yet, something is quietly happening that is moving Georgetown beyond its traditional historic town image to one more encompassing: a cultural center. The evolution revolves around the Georgetown Heritage Center, the 1874 school quietly becoming a go-to place for those seeking more fulfilling experiences in the arts, crafts, lectures, performances, and writing.
As a writer and author, I am especially thrilled about the writing component, given how empowering it is. This summer two writing events will take place at the center: The Road More Traveled: Self-Publishing Workshop for Aspiring Writers and Curious Readers on Saturday, June 3, and The Ghost Town Writers Retreat on August 3-6.
We see Clear Creek as a very special place. The outside world sees Clear Creek as a special place too, but it’s a different type of specialness. For us it’s home; for them, a fun even exotic place to visit, spend time to explore, relax, and have fun. We’re the place they go “to get away from it all.”
As such, we’re characters in their drama with roles to play and stories to tell and write. I cannot count the times when doing my show on KYGT in the old cabin that sat behind Steven Canyon tourists would pop in in wonderment and ask me to pose with them in front of the carved goat statue.
After publishing my novel Sisyphus Wins and conversing with leaders of the GHC, we came up with the workshop idea. I broached the idea to the Colorado Independent Publishers Association to which I belong, where it was fully embraced. As many of us know, once you tell folks you’re from Georgetown, Idaho Springs, or another place in Clear Creek, invariably you get a story or comment about their experiences, how much they love coming here.
The workshop is designed for anyone thinking about or might one day consider publishing his/her work because “you never know.” It’s also for readers, as the title suggests, curious about what it takes to get a work into print.
I will lead the first part of the workshop which will focus on where the writing process begins: Sitting down and writing, which I liken, whether poetry or fiction or non-fiction prose, to setting out on an adventure. The second part of the workshop will be a panel of publishing professionals from CIPA who will give insight into various aspects of moving a work post-writing to publishing: editing, book design, and marketing.
During the evening, which is open and free to attend, Colorado authors, from a wide variety of genres, will display, discuss and read from their works, and, of course, have them for purchase.
Clear Creek is rife with stories and storytellers. Its geography, location, and historical structures and mines such as the Argo provide the perfect setting(s). Stories of heroism, tragedy, and even ghosts waiting to be created and told.
That miner who might be entombed forever or might have drowned in the acidic flow that strck with sudden force in 1943 has a tale to tell. He only needs a human voice. It can be yours.
For more on the workshop and to sign up, visit http://www.georgetowntrust.org/home2.html
See you there.