The Festival of Faith and Writing: A Feast of Flowers and Words

The Dutch know how to grow tulips–and writers! Every two years the good folks at Calvin College put on a Festival of Faith and Writing that attracts thousands of readers and hundreds of writers. And what a good time we have!
This year’s headliners included Wally Lamb, Richard Rodriguez, Parker Palmer, Eugene Peterson, and Mary Karr. But these are just the most famous. The “second layer” of choices includes such names as Michael Perry, Rhoda Janzen, Joshlyn Jackson, Scott Cairns–scores of great writers you can browse at the Festival Website here. If you want to see live Twitterfeed, go to Twitter #ffw10 and watch the reports come in from about a dozen Tweeters.
I’m still attending the conference, so I am taking a shortcut to give you some “you are there” Tweets. Below is my Twitterfeed, commenting on some great quotes from writers I heard. Start at the bottom and work your way up, and you will can tiptoe through the tulips with me:

 

Twitter feed:

  1. “The rocks are on fire everywhere. Everything is magical.” Richard Rodriguez. Concluding story brings audience to their feet. #ffw10 about 2 hours ago via TweetDeck 

“Dare to remember…The act of writing is a form of prayer.” Richard Rodriguez #ffw10 about 2 hours ago via TweetDeck

“I’ve never read a blog that has the elegance and passion of a 19th-century letter.” Richard Rodriguez #ffw10 about 2 hours ago via TweetDeck

I’m feeling conspicuous tweeting as Rodriguez is decrying what digital media is doing to our language and relationships. #ffw10 about 2 hours ago via TweetDeck 

“There is a reciprocal relationship between the reader and writer. Without an audience, you cannot write.” Richard Rodriguez #ffw10 about 2 hours ago via TweetDeck  

“I memorized the Latin mass about God bringing joy to life. And, boy, did he.” Being an altar boy was high drama! Richard Rodriguez #ffw10 about 2 hours ago via TweetDeck

“Writers tell secrets. There are some things so personal you can only say them to a stranger.” Richard Rodiguez #ffw10 about 3 hours ago via TweetDeck

“The reason I began to write Hunger of Memory is because I was so lonely. Writers, dare to be lonely!” Richard Rodriguez #ffw10 about 3 hours ago via TweetDeck

“The primary story I want to tell you tonight is one of class.” Richard Rodriguez #ffw10 about 3 hours ago via TweetDeck

“We have decided in this country to be quiet about religion. All over the world, however, religion is on fire.” Richard Rodriguez #ffw10 about 3 hours ago via TweetDeck  

Richard Rodriguez “Why anybody would want to be a writer in the age of Twitter, I don’t understand.” #ffw10 about 3 hours ago via TweetDeck

Richard Rodriguez being introduced at #ffw10 as a writer who blurs the boundaries between memoir and social commentary. about 3 hours ago via TweetDeck

There’s a yearning to “come down in a place just right,” (Shaker song) and join soul with role, says Parker Palmer #ffw10 about 3 hours ago via TweetDeck

Quakers pass on the story of their tradition through journals–Parker Palmer #ffw10 about 3 hours ago via TweetDeck

Parker Palmer’s bumper sticker: “I was born baffled.” #ffw10 about 3 hours ago via TweetDeck

“In the Badlands I quit typing and learned to write in a way that invited participation.” Eugene Peterson #ffw10 about 12 hours ago via TweetDeck

“Write what you see in a book.” These words to Paul on Patmos became the name of Eugene Peterson’s vocation. #ffw10 about 12 hours ago via TweetDeck

Eugene Peterson holds full arena in thrall, describes his revelation in the Badlands, during a desert time in his life. #ffw10 about 12 hours ago via TweetDeck

“No pain is ugly in past tense.” Eugene Peterson poem read at Calvin College. #ffw10 about 12 hours ago via TweetDeck

“I knew from teaching that each reader reads the same book in a different way. But as a writer, I learn anew!” Rhoda Janzen #ffw10 about 12 hours ago via TweetDeck

  • Eugene Peterson is now working on a memoir. His previous books are focused on the Bible. “I never had myself as a text before!” #ffw10 about 12 hours ago via TweetDeck
  • “I didn’t set out to defy the (Mennonite) church. I just wanted to stretch my mind. I don’t see myself as fallen away.”Rhoda Janzen#ffw10 about 12 hours ago via TweetDeck

    Crowd forming in Van Noord Arena to hear Eugene Peterson speak on Poet & Pastor on Patmos. #ffw10 about 13 hours ago via TweetDeck

    Rhoda Janzen reminded her audience today that Charlotte Temple was 1st American bestseller–because it (falsely) claimed “truth.” #ffw10 about 13 hours ago via TweetDeck

    Rhoda Janzen speech on memoir and the captivity narrative totally captivated an audience of 300. #ffw10 about 13 hours ago via TweetDeck

    Ready for day 2 of the Calvin College Festival–Rhoda Janzen! #ffw10 about 14 hours ago via TweetDeck

    Writer Wally Lamb shares advice he received: “Don’t write for an audience. Investigate your own questions. The readers will find you.” 9:33 PM Apr 15th via TweetDeck

    “Most people live ordinary lives. That’s why they’re called ordinary.” Scott Russell Sanders 5:37 PM Apr 15th via TweetDeck

    “We live in a culture obsessed with idiosyncracy. That which makes ‘me’ different is trivial.” Scott Russell Sanders 5:32 PM Apr 15th via TweetDeck

    “Confusion is that which we are capable of clearing up. Mystery is not. Try to be clear–and focus on mystery.” Scott Russell Sanders 5:29 PM Apr 15th via TweetDeck

    Scott Russell Sanders calls himself hopeful but not an optimist. He went looking for hope and found–community, family, skill, beauty. 5:24 PM Apr 15th via TweetDeck

    Scott Russell Sanders writes essays out of confusion and the desire to explore the big questions–not to share his certainties. 5:09 PM Apr 15th via TweetDeck  

    Writer Scott Russell Sanders reminds his audience that an “amateur” is someone who loves something deeply. 5:02 PM Apr 15th via TweetDeck

    Writer Michael Perry calls himself agnostic but attends a Mennonite church that meets in a Jewish temple one week and a UU church the next. 4:50 PM Apr 15th via TweetDeck

    “I loved the austere acoustic worship…the poetic, simple, rhythmic prayers,” says Michael Perry of his childhood church. 4:45 PM Apr 15th via TweetDeck

    Michael Perry’s childhood church was called by critics The Damnation Army. He says if they call it that, he might be tempted to join. 4:43 PM Apr 15th via TweetDeck

    “When we become parents, we revisit out parents’ parenting–and our parents’ faith.” Michael Perry 4:38 PM Apr 15th via TweetDeck 

    “Mine is a chastened apostasy. I’m not prepared to scoff. There is enough derision in the world.” Michael Perry on being agnostic. 4:35 PM Apr 15th via TweetDeck

     “What’s the key to success?” asks writer Michael Perry, rhetorically. “Low overhead!” 4:13 PM Apr 15th via TweetDeck

    “Drifting somewhere between map and maelstrom.” Kazim Ali 12:39 PM Apr 15th via TweetDeck

    Building my “dance card” for the Calvin College Festival of Faith and Writing–Michael Perry and Wally Lamb today. 12:12 PM Apr 15th via TweetDeck

    Waiting to hear Lisa Samson read at Calvin College–first event! 10:23 AM Apr 15th via TweetDeck

    • Name shirley h. showalter
    • Location Kalamazoo, MI
    • Web http://www.100mem…
    • Bio Former professor, college president, now foundation officer. Memoir writer, blogger. Love, Compassion, Forgiveness.

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    About Shirley Hershey Showalter

    Author of memoir Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World. Blogging about Magical Memoir Moments and Jubilación -- vocation in the second half of life.
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