Tuesday, May 20, 2008
festival remembered, part two
The last handful of highlights from Festival…
Uwem Akpan was the speaker for the opening chapel service. Dressed in his full-length Jesuit robes and speaking in a rich African accent, he had my attention immediately. He told us of his times as a beginning writer, and he talked about dreams. (I love it when people talk about dreams.) But the most memorable thing he said was that God has had many more years of experience dealing with humanity than we have had dealing with divinity.
I know that should be obvious, but I loved the way he put it. It is hard, always hard, to leave my dreams in God’s keeping.
I also heard Rod Jellema read his poetry again. Is there anything more relaxing and wonderful than listening to someone read their own poetry? And read it well, I mean. Some people can’t manage to read their own stuff (I know I struggle with it!), but others can. Rod Jellema definitely can.
Yann Martel spoke on Friday night, and he was fascinating. I’d begun Life of Pi last summer but got sidetracked, and now I definitely want to pick it up again. He talked about how he wrote it to explore faith, and to explore the idea of having faith. He said that the better stories require a leap of faith, that the coldly reasonable stories are not as good. Just listening to that made me itch to get back to my own, highly unreasonable story.
I heard Randy Testa speak on Friday morning, and his session flew by. The title was “C.S. Lewis and the Moral Imagination.” (Sounds like a fabulous interim class, doesn’t it?) He talked about how fantasy can shape children’s sense of morality and of the world around them. I was absolutely at the edge of my chair—he moved so quickly and spoke so persuasively, and I wanted to race home and 1) read Narnia again, and 2) finish writing my book.
So there you have it! Festival in a (tiny) nutshell. Just two years until the next one…—jl