I'm finally home from the Festival of Faith and Writing and filled to overflowing with all I learned and experienced. What a weekend. I knew that the Festival would be good, but I didn't expect it to exceed my expectations so thoroughly. Some highlights:
-Rekindling my passion for poetry. Before I was a novelist I was a poet, but since I signed my book contracts I've drawn away from that first love. Hearing the enchanting poet Luci Shaw speak was positively transcendent. Thus, I think it's time to breathe new life into that sleeping poetess...
-"Camping" with the lovely Lisa McKay. Lisa and I have been e-friends since she emailed me a few months ago. Our stories are quite similar: we're nearly the same age, we're both debut novelists who hit the scene this past fall, and we share a passion for truth-telling through fiction. We had a spectacular weekend and forged what I hope will be a lifelong friendship.
-Listening to inspiring lectures. I particularly enjoyed Michael Chabon (he is so intelligent it's frightening), Yann Martel (equally brilliant but very accessible and down-to-earth), Katherine Patterson (who encouraged us to play and earned a standing, tear-filled ovation), and Elizabeth Berg (composed, beautiful, and charmingly funny) among many others. I took countless pages of notes.
-Meeting some people whom I have long admired: Francine Rivers (a truly amazing woman--smart but humble, prolific yet modest and kind), Tracy Groot (the brains behind the compelling Christy winner, Madman), and Leslie Layland Fields (a Renaissance woman through and through).
-Spending time with one of my editors from Tyndale. Stephanie is so fun and easy to be with--I treasured the hours with her.
-Bumping into old friends. You know who you are!
Whew. I get tired just remembering it. But it was exceptional in every way and I'm already looking forward to going again in two years. All I have to do in the meantime is try to process it all...