Writing in Peace, a program of the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library in partnership with Turkey Run State Park, is a writing workshop for veterans. Led by award-winning writer Bonnie Maurer, the program will occur at Turkey Run State Park with programs both outside in the park and inside a conference room at the park inn. Writer Kurt Vonnegut is the cousin of Richard Lieber, who created the Indiana parks system, and participants will learn about the parks system and write creatively in a natural setting. KVML is interested in helping veterans move on from their military experience to discover what future career or creative experience will help, as Vonnegut would say, “… make your soul grow.” The environment of camaraderie and networking will allow veterans to dream about what they want to do next in their lives and work through the steps to make their life goals come true.

This monthly creative writing workshop will host up to 20 veterans per month.

All events take place at Turkey Run State Park.

Transportation is not provided but carpooling is encouraged.

2021 dates include the following:

May 22 – 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. (park orientation included as part of workshop)

June 26 – 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. (arrive at 11 a.m. for an optional orientation of the park)

July 31– 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. (arrive at 11 a.m. for an optional orientation of the park)

August 28 – 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. (arrive at 11 a.m. for an optional orientation of the park)

September 28 – 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. (arrive at 11 a.m. for an optional orientation of the park)

October 23 – 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. (arrive at 11 a.m. for an optional orientation of the park)

This program is open only to military veterans. Sign up by sending a message to [email protected] indicating which date/dates you would like to attend. A waitlist will be created for any veterans beyond the first 20 to sign up. Please let us know as soon as possible if you need to cancel as other veterans will be waiting to attend. This is an in-person event and due to the personal nature of the discussion, it will not be recorded.

The Writing in Peace workshop will occur one Saturday each month between May and October 2021. Upon arrival, attendees will be greeted by a member of the staff of Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library, who will provide an overview of Vonnegut and the organization’s services. Turkey Run’s Park Interpretive Naturalist(s) will provide the Writing in Peace participants with a welcome, an overview of the park, and a guided walk to the Lieber cabin and Lieber’s memorial. The park orientation will include the story of the hard-fought battle by Lieber to preserve the glorious wilderness of Turkey Run and save it from the logging company that aimed to harvest the land for timber. The orientation will also include the story of journalist Juliet Strauss, who also persevered to help preserve Turkey Run and whose memorial also stands near Lieber’s cabin. The orientation will last between 30 minutes and an hour. Following the orientation, participants will begin a writing exercise and discussion with writer Bonnie Maurer. Participants will have time to write independently, either inside the conference room or outside on the beautiful Sugar Creek overlook.

Following an hour of work with Maurer, the group will have 1.5 hours to wander, explore and find an inspirational writing spot within the beautiful park surroundings. The day ends at Sunset Point, adjacent to the cabin, with attendees trading thoughts, discussing their writing and reading aloud from works-in-progress. Speaking in front of the group is not required but is encouraged.

Some participants may return each month, while others may choose to participate in only one session. Most of the content will be different each month but the park tour will be available as an additional hour each month for anyone who did not attend the first session.

Writing in Peace will allow participants to experience the natural beauty of Indiana through independent exploration of the park and using the park as a background for writing. At the beginning of each monthly session, participants will be reminded of the importance of not harming the park. They will be instructed not to injure or damage anything within the park and not to collect any limbs, brush, or trees. Participants will be asked to defer to the park staff for any questions about park use.

This program was made possible in part with support from the Indiana Arts Commission. 

Bonnie Maurer – Writing Workshop Facilitator

Bonnie Maurer holds a Masters-in-Teaching English as a Second Language and a Masters in Fine Arts in Poetry from Indiana University. Her chapbooks include Reconfigured, Finishing Line Press, 2009; Ms. Lily Jane Babbitt Before the Ten O’clock Bus from Memphis Ran Over Her, Ink Press and Raintree Press; Old 37: The Mason Cows, Barnwood Press; and Bloodletting: A Ritual Poem for Women’s Voices, Ink Press.

Maurer is a two-time recipient of the Creative Renewal Arts Fellowship awarded by the Arts Council of Indianapolis and of several grants from the Indiana Arts Commission, one recently to interview Holocaust survivors and compose poetic responses to their stories.

Under the auspices of the 1999-2000 Creative Renewal Fellowship, she composed a series of breast cancer poems culminating in the book, The Reconfigured Goddess, Poems of a Breast Cancer Survivor

Maurer grew up in Indianapolis where she now lives and teaches as a poet in the schools and community for Arts for Learning/Young Audiences of Indiana. Maurer also has worked as a creative writing specialist for St. Vincent New Hope and Very Special Arts Indiana. She has conducted poetry workshops for the homeless in recovery, for the HIV+/AIDs affected/infected population, for cancer patients and for “Honoring the Sacred Feminine” conferences at Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, celebrating the diversity of women’s wisdom and spirituality. Maurer works as a copy editor for the Indianapolis Business Journal and as an Ai Chi (aquatic flowing energy) instructor at the Arthur M. Glick Jewish Community Center. She currently welds found objects to make new sculptural creations.