Tag Archives: J.R.R.Tolkien

Kindlingsfest 2012!

17 Aug

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?).

The church I grew up in, which hosts the event. My grandfather was actually a pastor in this church, many moons ago!

The Episcopal church on the island also hosts a bit of Kindlingsfest. It’s a gorgeous site and a lovely building!

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!

Many different artists/singers/writers/dancers took part in sharing their craft “around” the campfire. It’s a really great part of the event, both to get to know the artists a little, but also just to enjoy yourself! Graham crackers, marshmalows and chocolate bars were provided as well…of course!

Nigel Goodwin – a unique and fabulous character – is a vital part of the Kindglings group. He heads up the “Bag End” time around the campfire each evening…and yes, he sometimes breaks into dance just because.

On the other side of the campfire – a tent to eat beneath, chat, or just hang out.

A closer shot of the campfire by day – it’s a wonderful spot.

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.

These belong in Narnia, yes?!

J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis present a kind of an overarching theme of the Kindlings. This, in case you were wondering, is Farmer Maggot’s corn field.

Malcolm Guite was the main speaker – and yes, he also played guitar a wee bit! He spoke on the topic, “Crabbed Age and Youth Cannot Live Together?” He was not only inspiring but also just plain fun.

Jason Carter was one of the featured musicians. He plays the Harp Guitar…fascinating and fabulous.

My daughter – who plays french horn – was thrilled to see a french horn in a rock band!


It’s My Birthday and I’ll Write if I Want To

3 Jan

So today, January 3rd, is my birthday. Wheee!!

I'm the wee one...circa 1973.

When I was a kid I loved that my birthday was at the beginning of the year, so that, for the entire year, I was that age. I liked the black and white certainty of it. I also loved that I was born on the third day of a new decade, so that, not only could I spend the entire year at a certain age, I could also easily know my age based on whatever year it was. So, it’s 1979: I’m nine years old. Now that I’m old and forgetful it’s helpful, too.

Picture me, filling out a form. “AGE?____” the form asks innocently.

“My age? Ummm…I barely know my children’s ages. Oh, wait. What year is it? 2012? Okay, then I must be 42. Phew!”

Now if I can only remember to write the proper year on my checks.

My dad wasn’t as impressed by my choosing January 3rd to be born. He still teases me that he missed an entire year of writing me off his taxes by waiting 3 days too long.

I share my birthday with my grandfather, my dad’s dad. I always thought that was cool, though, to my knowledge, we never spent our birthdays together. I also share it with J.R.R. Tolkien and Victor Borge, thank you very much. Does it get any better than that?

Sadly, January third also is the day that my cat refused to get up. Columbus (so named because he was an explorer from the time he was tiny) was the only kitten of our cat, Josephine (so named because she had a coat of many colors but, being a female, she couldn’t be called Joseph). Columbus liked to sleep beneath the front steps. On the morning of January third circa1980, after I’d left for school, Mom discovered that Columbus, strangely, didn’t seem to want his food.

He never wanted it again.

I realized, a few days later, that I hadn’t seen him recently. My mother, however, in her great wisdom, did not tell me until years later that he had died on my birthday, knowing that I was the kind of kid who would find that to be a dark cloud over my day, an omen of a bad year ahead. Moms are so smart.

I used to try and write a letter to myself, to be read a year later, each year on my birthday. I even wrote one once marked, “To Be Read When You Turn 24.” I was 14 at the time. Yes, believe it or not, I still had it ten years later, though when I read it I was dismally disappointed in the shallow girl revealed therein. Somehow the poignancy of the moment gets lost when you read, “So, do you still have a crush on ____?” I’ve never been good with sentiment.

The luster of birthdays, of course, gets lost as you age. What was once a shining beacon of self-centered joy, luring you on for an entire year, becomes a reminder of mortality, where having a birthday is “better than the alternative”, as well-meaning acquaintances quip.

I always swore I’d never dye my hair. But now that the gray is taking over my temples and the clerks stopped carding me years ago, I’ve had my second-thoughts.

That reminds me of a story. I’ll leave you with this.

My husband and I were out for dinner a couple years ago, somewhere around my birthday. Feeling reckless, I ordered an after-dinner drink, something I rarely do. The waitress, not realizing the absolute daring of my order, dully wrote down my drink on her little pad of paper. She then, with bored tone, said, “Can I see your – ”

And then she looked up at me.

“Oh, nevermind,” she said, and walked away.

My husband, darn his forgiving heart, still tipped her.

Happy 2012!!!

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