I recently spent a week back on Orcas Island, Washington, where I grew up. My main purpose in being there this time, however, wasn’t to see family or to wax nostalgic or even to take photographs – though I fortunately got to do all of that as well. No, my reason for going to Orcas was to attend a marvelous “conference” called Kindlingsfest. which takes place at the church I grew up in, though is independent of any church or denomination.
Kindlingsfest, the biggest event each year sponsored by The Kindlings, styles itself as a place to cultivate the “creative, intellectual and spiritual” side of a person. Here’s their web address for more information: http://www.thekindlings.com/about/. Inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, among others, whose group, “Inklings” met frequently in a pub to discuss their writings as well as be encouraged intellectually and creatively, the Kindlings group strives after the same things. Through pod casts, two “fests” a year, and other smaller events, its impossible to leave the group without a vision for how believers in God fit into the world today.
This year, the fifth annual Kindlingsfest, was the second time that I have been able to attend. As was the case two years ago when I first went, I was not disappointed. We got to hear intelligent and provocative speakers, be challenged in our faith, hear fabulous music of all styles, and schmooze with like-minded people (“schmooze” is a much more fun word that “network”, don’t you think?).
Every evening there is a bonfire around which people have the opportunity to sing, read poetry, dance, etc. I read aloud a blog post from a couple of months ago, which was very fun. It’s not often that I get to read my work out loud and I love to do so!
I came away encouraged as a writer, excited for my creative future, and inspired to work in my local church to achieve some of the things we spoke about. And, of course, as always, it’s wonderful to visit Orcas Island – an inspiration in itself.
As with all such conferences, it’s always a bit of a down-fall to return to reality. However, I have at least had The Music Man performances to help soften the creative blow. Here are a few photographs to help understand the extent of Kindlingsfest 2012.