689. Pearls from the Festival of Faith and Writing

Pearls from the Festival of Faith and Writing.jpg

Home now from the Festival of Faith and Writing (FFW), I'm going to try and pick some pearls from the week to share here. This is a hard task considering that the three days were the equivalent of a long triple strand of the finest quality natural pearls of highest luster. How to choose only a few pearls to highlight? I'll start with one from most of the talks or panels I attended.

Tobias Wolff: "Is it possible to have certainty without arrogance or blindness? Without harm to others?"

Dani Shapiro: "Insist that suffering not be meaningless." Writing is a way to do that.

David Kim: We must do whatever we can to "counter atrophy of the imagination." The role of the arts is to "cultivate the imagination." He suggests reading through the Biblical narrative twice a year in order to shape the imagination. "Scripture is so wildly imaginative!"

Zadie Smith: Refuse to be a brand, to be a product, to slip seamlessly into capital.

Erik Lokkesmoe: Signs of life – truth, beauty, goodness – are everywhere!

George Saunders: "I imagine my reader so close and lovingly that she is practically bonded at my shoulder."

Hannah Notess: "Put energy into things that are worth it."

Caroline Langston: "Literary achievement is about spiritual practice."

Paul Harding: After being a drummer in a rock band failed when he was in his 30s, he took a 2-week writing course at a local university. Marilynne Robinson walked in and started teaching and it hit him: "This is the life I want for my mind." His life was never the same. (I love that story.)


There's more that could be said. Much more. This doesn't capture much and certainly not what I learned from conversations or the simple but profound excitement of ideas buzzing all around.

If you also were at FFW, please join me and add a pearl of your own in the comments or feel free to post a link to something you wrote about it elsewhere.


[Photo: taken of FFW program, which you can take a look at here.]