Thursday, April 24, 2008

Penultimate Potpourri Sans Poetry

Smoking Area

By the penultimate day (next morning I simply get ready to fly out), I'm tired. I haven't actually slept a full night the entire time I've been here. Who can write poetry in this state? Tomorrow will be another day.

I go to hear Krista Tippett. She reads from her book. I remember the lines even as she says them, perhaps because her writing is so beautifully crafted, and I find myself reciting passages in my mind, along with the cadence of her voice. In a way, this experience sums up my time at Calvin. It has been about people, really hearing them, taking them in, celebrating them, reciting the good stuff to myself so I can remember it.

Similarly, I attend a session where Ed Gilbreath is on a panel, discussing "writing towards social justice." I mostly enjoy hearing him say things I've heard him say before in his book. Again, I feel a sense of celebration.

And then there is Lil. I find her at the appointed time. We meet. We talk literature and writing, though not much about publishing; it is not our main purpose. I find her to be quietly luminous. Short, straight red hair. Almost transparent milky skin. A soft strength. If we never do business together it won't matter. This encounter has also been a sort of celebration at the end of a busy time.

It seems appropriate to finish the day with an actual celebration. Ed Gilbreath takes me out to dinner to celebrate the debut of Stone Crossings. We talk honestly. We talk as peers. It is refreshing, relaxing. A happy time.

Ed G and LL

[pic: LL and Ed Gilbreath]

After dinner, we come back to Calvin and find a surprising sign (see top of post). Who would expect this at a Christian college? But there it is. "Smoking Area." I simply can't resist taking a picture of Stone Crossings in this unorthodox place.

We walk beside the marsh. I take a video of me reading an excerpt of Stone Crossings. Ed keeps trying to get out of my way as I move the camera, which amuses me even as I'm filming. I wonder if he thinks I'm totally weird. Apparently I don't care enough to let it stop me from doing this little ritual of mine... reading SC in different places and sharing it with you.

Then we walk on a nearby running path, and I try to take a picture of a lemon yellow moon rising, but instead I get the blob below. For a real understanding of what the moon looked like, one could hop on over to Kirsten's.


Night has come. Time is short. We talk just a little bit more, have a cup of tea in the Prince Conference Center, then the day is done. "See you in 2010?" Ed says.

Yes, I'd like that. See you in 2010.

Photos by L.L. Barkat. "Sans" is French for "without."


LL's Looking for Lil

LL's Body of Water

LL's Solo at the Red Sun

LL's Leaving

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Blogger Unknown said...

I have to smile at you taking pictures of shoes, but understand why.

Thanks for the congrats. Maybe we could market cyber-confetti.

Nice to hear your voice when you read (esp. now that I have a face to go with it - your voice *so* fits you!).


11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lil has red hair? Oh, I'm so jealous. How fun to hear your voice. I can't wait to read your book.
You would've loved this session I went to at the Transforming Culture symposium about art and social justice. Three panelists just talked freely about what they're doing, and man, it's cool stuff. One guy started teaching art at a homeless shelter. They got so much good stuff out of it, that they had a show. Some of the artists were able to get off the streets from the sales. Another guy started a ministry for artists with disabilities.
I love how God can use art to give a sense of worth. After all, that's part of the Imago Dei.

11:26 AM  
Blogger Llama Momma said...

I love the picture of the book in the smoking area. Perfect. :-)

1:25 PM  
Blogger Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

Thanks for posting the Calvin reports. Ah, what a great time, being with others in the writing world.


1:59 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Michelle... glad you like the footwear! :)

Heather... Yup. Not firey red. Not blondish. Just that nice tone halfway between red and brown but definitely red. The Symposium sounds like it was really inspiring. To think of art being that active in transformation. Really, really great.

Llama... isn't that precious? I looked at Ed and said, "Smokin."

Becky... it's a great conference. Focus is on writing and life, not really the business of writing. I liked that. A lot.

6:20 PM  
Blogger Ed G. said...

You forgot to mention that during tea we had a long, engaging chat with Paul Willis, the Westmont English professor and author of "Bright Shoots of Everlastingness: Essays on Faith and the American Wild." Very nice man.

2:40 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Ed... you're funny. I think I would call it "being selective in details" rather than forgetting. :) Now, about Paul, what a dear! (Did I mention he was at the Looking for Lil Club too, or did I forget to say so?) And I bought his book (and I don't buy books... go figure). It's a great book. But then I love anything about the wilderness.

2:49 PM  
Blogger kirsten said...

you are just a conference-going fool, aren't you? ;o) i really don't know how you do it all: writing, wifing, mothering, blogging, responding, schooling, conferencing ... & everything else. i'm so glad that you do. and glad you're back!

11:39 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I'm sure it was a really lovely time.

2:48 PM  

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