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Mark Warren Presents "The Rocky Road of Researching Wyatt Earp"

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George Link Jr. Gilmer Arts Playhouse

135 Dalton Street

Ellijay, GA 30540

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Mark will present a slide presentation on "The Rocky Road of Researching Wyatt Earp."

If you were dictating your experiences to an ambitious writer hungry for your life story, are there episodes from your past that you would simply not mention? This is one of the human propensities that can taint a biography based solely upon the reminiscences of its protagonist. Add to this research-deterrent a taciturn personality—a man whose speech was so laconic that most of his answers were delivered in monotonic phrases that only occasionally extended to full-length sentences.

Naturally, a thorough researcher must expand his or her sources to include the perspectives of others. With Wyatt Earp, this external probe ran into a conundrum for the historians back in the first half of the twentieth century, when many of those peripheral characters were still alive. It seems that Earp’s contemporaries fell into two camps: those who admired him and threw their allegiance his way . . . and those who detested him. Of that latter group, their descendants still carry that torch today and would love nothing more than to incinerate his heroic myth.

So which is it? He was a stalwart officer of the law. He was a criminal. He would spontaneously face a danger alone without hesitation. He was a dissimulator who always ran with a gang to back him up. He stood for the law and for the definition of duty. He was an opportunist who wore a badge for personal gain.

No man is just one thing. No man has a spotless record. For a writer, balancing all the elements of truth is an artful endeavor. With Earp this process has been made all the more problematic by the bias of historians, themselves. Sanitized versions of Wyatt Earp’s life fill library book shelves. Right next to them are the condemning anti-Earp publications. It would seem impossible for a present day reader to draw a reasonable conclusion about the man.

Author Mark Warren discusses his Earp experiences that span 63 years of research from Georgia to California. His trilogy entitled Wyatt Earp, An American Odyssey is a story of balance, incorporating all the known facts about the famous peace officer’s life and his perspective on the principles by which Earp lived his life—and why he sometimes veered from that credo. Join us for a study of all things Earp and the photographs that chronicle his life.

www.wyattearpanamericanodyssey

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George Link Jr. Gilmer Arts Playhouse

135 Dalton Street

Ellijay, GA 30540

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