Tales of Treefort Music Fest 2018 

How Christian Winn's What's Wrong With You Is What's Wrong With Me is an example of what's right with Storyfort

Christian Winn weaves the threads of Storyfort together.

Aaron Rodriguez

Christian Winn weaves the threads of Storyfort together.

To call oneself a painter, one must paint. To call oneself a dancer, one must dance. To call oneself a writer, one must write. Local author Christian Winn is definitely a writer--as well as a writing teacher at Boise State University, through The Cabin workshops and in his role as the current Idaho Writer in Residence. He's not only a writer and teacher, however. He's also a published author and his latest book, a collection of four novelettes titled What's Wrong With You Is What's Wrong With Me (Dock Street Press, Dec. 2017), serves as a tangible example of why Winn, the co-founder of Storyfort, is so well-suited to head up the literary branch of the annual Treefort Music Fest (March 21-25). He not only practices what he teaches, he's a staunch advocate for storytelling and stories.

"I want to get the work out in the world," Winn said.

The "work" is character driven tales (usually set in Idaho) about the human condition, what renowned local author Anthony Doerr called "glittering stories about trapped, beaten and restless young people." As Winn points the light at the often darkest recesses of these people's lives, he doesn't hold any punches—for either characters or readers. The chilly title story of What's Wrong opens with a foreboding first-person account from Samantha, one of two siblings in a "kind-of stolen car," who have driven from San Diego to the City of Trees.

"On the cold leather back seat I huddle into Johnny's bony chest. My head's swollen and phlegmy, my toes frigid and it takes me way too long to remember we're in Boise, Idaho, and that it was my idea in the first place to drive out here with Johnny to see the house where we all grew up ten-plus years ago—me, Mary, Johnny, Mom and Dad. Mary was Johnny's twin, my big sister, only twenty-three. She died two years ago yesterday. One stupid early morning she drank too much rum then ate too many pills. This knowledge still scares me so much."

As difficult as the stories in What's Wrong may be, it is a quintessential couldn't-put-it-down book. Winn, who said he "likes the sensibility" of short stories, is working on another collection as well as a novel, although he puts his work on hold leading up to Treefort to make sure the Storyfort programming is engaging, valuable and, most importantly, celebrates stories and storytellers.

Storyfort events are free and open to the public, most take place at The Owyhee and are all ages, and many tie in to other forts and other arts and culture communities.

"That was one of our goals with Storyfort: to have that interconnectedness," Winn said.

Below are a few highlights of the Storyfort programming. Find the full schedule at treefortmusicfest.com, and start getting connected.

DACA-mented Stories: DREAMers in Idaho

3-4:30 p.m., March 21, Owyhee, all ages

A Long, Strange Trip: Bands Tell All

5-7 p.m., March 21, 10th St. Station, 21 and older only

The Big Listen: A Broadcast about Podcasts with NPR's Lauren Ober

Noon-1 p.m., March 22, Owyhee, all ages

Podcasters' Happy Hour

5-7 p.m., March 22, The Mode Lounge, 21 and older only

Fiction, Fitting In, and Standing Out with Lidia Yuknavitch, Chelsea Bolan, Adam Voith

2:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m., March 22, Owyhee, all ages

Thank You for Your Stories: Veterans' Narratives

4:40 p.m.-6 p.m., March 22, Owyhee, all ages

What the Dickens! with Two Dickens-Inspired Novelists

7-8 p.m., March 22, Rediscovered Books, all ages

The Politics of Mourning with Micki McElya, 2017 Pulitzer Prize Nominee

2:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m., March 23, Owyhee, all ages

Hack + Story: Assassin's Creed Programmers Ann Lemay and Ceri Young of UBISOFT

Noon-1 p.m., March 24, Owyhee, all ages

Bullets into Bells: Poets and Citizens Respond to Gun Violence

3 p.m.-4:30 p.m., March 25, Owyhee, all ages

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