I had the privileged of attending the Festival of Faith and Writing hosted by Calvin College two weeks ago. What a wonderful opportunity to be refreshed and taught by so many amazing writers. It was also great to connect with old writing friends and make some new ones. Plus there were some networking opportunities… ew. Networking.
Coming away from such a very full weekend, I discovered I had a lot of things to process, notes to sift through, and books to read. I am now excited to share with you some of the pieces of wisdom I took from the weekend. The following quotes are either from speakers or where used by speakers throughout the weekend.Some of them may not make sense, I’ve tried my best to take them down in context… it also becomes the Anne Lamott show in the middle there…with closed captions provided by Bret Lott (serious gold coming from those two!). I hope you’re able to get a small piece of how wonderful the weekend was. Enjoy!
Art gives us a map of who we are and where we fit. The next generation will need that map.
–Gene Luen Yang
Make good friends with really accomplished dead people.
–Scott Cairns on reading well
We are people of the word. Words matter because they carry ideas and ideas rule the world.
The difference between the right word and the almost right word is like the difference between lightening and a lightening bug.
And What I believed in I wished to behold
It was the stuff I needed to write to get what I was after
I all have to offer as a writer–as a Christian–is my version of things.
You don’t take God to the lovely living room. You welcome him into the bedroom and say ‘I think there’s a couple drawers you need to see.’
Laughter is carbonated holiness.
To be a writer you have to be a good liar. So how do you lie for Christ? You must write with the integrity of Christ. You must write the truth–in love and compassion, but with dark reality.
I thought what you did was a tool–a utility. I had the idea that art was a utility; it wasn’t a manifestation of God. Our creativity is a manifestation of God’s image.
The self-importance of being ‘a writer’ leads to the arrogance of metaphor and similie and overly adjectived sentences. The author’s gotta be the last person you hear from.
You strip out everything you think the story should be about and write the story. We must be humble before the story–humble before the words.
There something about writing fiction that is like wearing your underwear in front of the world
–Suzanne Woods Fisher (This was the second time I had heard this sentiment, the first was from a friend and fellow fiction writer–One of those moments of ‘what have I gotten myself into.’)
The poet’s eye, in a fine frenzy rolling, doth glance from heaven to Earth, from Earth to heaven; and as imagination bodies forth the forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen turns them to shape and gives to airy nothing a local habitation and a name.