Monday, April 14, 2014

Coming Up For Air and the FFW

The Schoolmaster (1662), Adriaen van Ostade.
That work project that has been sucking the life out of me for the past few weeks is finally winding down. WooHoo!!! No more nightly overtime. More time to write and sleep and I really need more sleep. Well, that is until the next project from hell comes along. By force of will I managed to finish a novella rewrite and send it back to the publisher. Hope they like it. I also took a couple days off to attend the Festival of Faith and Writing, an enriching experience.

Held biannually, the three-day conference is sponsored by the English department at Calvin College. As you might expect from an English department, the writers invited lean toward the literary. Genre writers are underrepresented and even the ones invited have their genre credentials downplayed. For example, the bio for G. Willow Wilson printed in the conference program doesn't mention that her novel Alif the Unseen won a World Fantasy Award. However, writing is writing, regardless of what academics think, and you can learn something from anybody.

Gene Luen Yang, a graphic novelist, gave a fascinating lecture on art and selfishness, essentially why writers need to fit art into their busy lives. Wilson gave an interesting talk on the history and meaning of fantasy literature. (Christian Madera's post today on Mythic Scribes makes some similar points.) When I saw Frodo mentioned in the title of Wilson's talk “Frodo Lives! Speculative Fiction and Belief,” I knew I absolutely had to make the journey to that session. Tracy Groot, an author of historical fiction, gave a very informative presentation on doing historical research to inform your fiction. I always come away from the conference with some unexpected nuggets. Last time it was Amy Frykholm's Julian of Norwich: A Contemplative Biography, a study of a medieval anchoress. This time it was a reference to the Greek myth of Byblis in Sarah Ruden's talk “Rediscovering, Representing, and Re-Presenting the Bible: Finding a Place Between Sensationalism and Sentiment.” There's a lot of material from the Byblis story that I can use in a WIP.


  1. I'm glad to hear you got something out of the conference and that you now have more time to write, eat, and sleep! Yay!

    1. Thanks for reading, Lexa. I like the ordering: 1) write 2) eat 3) sleep.

  2. Always nice to have some writing time to look forward to. :)

  3. Great you're finding some time to sleep and write and think. Those things are important!