Bob Wolf of Decorah knows he will never realize his teenage dream of living in every city in America and talking to every living person. So, he’s done the next best thing by encouraging those he meets to write their own stories.
For the last couple of decades, Bob, 65, has been holding writing workshops in kitchens, dining rooms, church basements, schools and libraries. His Free River Press has published works by farmers, small town residents and homeless people.
The latest work, “Heartland Potrait: Stories from the Rural Midwest,” is an update of one he published in 1997. It allows these writers to talk about their memories, their challenges, their hopes and fears, their challenges, their pride. (See today’s Ramblin’ column in The Gazette.)
Wolf, himself, wrote a column for the Chicago Tribune in the late 1980s. He’s since written numerous plays and 25 books. But, as much as anything, he loves giving everyday people, not trained writers, the opportunity to tell their stories to a larger audience.
“I try to get people who have no literary ambition,” Bob told me. “I want content to be more important than style.”