|The Search for Meaning Book Festival|
I've just returned from Seattle University where I attended and participated in an amazing event. I've been to literally dozens and dozens of literary festivals both in the United States and in Ireland, this has to be one of the best run and with an enormously positive vibe. I was surprised to hear that 2,500 people came out to hear a poet, a living poet, Mary Oliver read her work.
Here are a few things I was most struck by during the course of the day.
1. 60+ people came to my session; standing room only! On a sunny, warm, Seattle afternoon, a crowd came out to write poetry and listen to my ideas on the need for solitude -- and society.
2. The juxtaposition of literature and spirituality is simply delicious.
3. Being spontaneous --- after lots of planning --- works well. After attending the lovely session with Francis McCue and then Mary Oliver's reading, I decided to toss out what I originally planned and instead focus on writing and braiding in new ideas I'm developing about poetry. Besides, I didn't bring enough handouts!
4. The Search for Meaning Book Festival is Seattle's best kept literary secret. I plan to be part of this amazing weekend next year too --- either as a presenter or participant -- or both.
5. How amazing it was to run into successful former students Elizabeth B. and Patsy M. These two super intelligent and large hearted women were my students at Highline Community College several years ago and they are now on their way to completing their BA's --- Elizabeth is attending S.U. and loving the experience.
6. Poets and non-poets alike crave community. One participant said to me, "I'm so glad I took a day for myself to do this." Another participant wanted our session turned into a three hour event. This festival clearly answered a real desire for people to come together over books and ideas.
7. Never underestimate the power of a few dedicated people to create something amazing. This was the third year of this event and each year it has doubled in size. This is in no small part due to the dedication of dozens of volunteers and a handful of staff people. Most of all, it seems the culture of Seattle University is a magical one.