I have just finished the fifteenth chapter of my long story for Sophia. I have it all in a password protected page. It is a story for children about three children who go to another world.
I’ve enjoyed writing it. I suppose I’ve enjoyed it because I always had the person in mind I was writing for. It helps your writing to enjoy it while you write.
If you have time and inclination and would like to read it or read it to a kid, let me know and I can email you the password. I entertain hopes of publishing it eventually and so I don’t want to make it public before its time.
Posted by unknowing on December 1, 2006
For two years running we went down to the L’Abri Conference in Rochester. The first time we did we got up early and drove down the Friday morning it began. It was -17 that morning. So the next year we decided to go down on Thursday and stay the night before. We got a huge blizzard and the trip down was one of those harrowing drives through the snow. The Geo Metro we had back then had square, recessed headlights which would fill up with snow and had to be scooped out.
But when we got there we would park in the parking ramp held in the deadly grip of ice and head indoors. They use the Kahler Grand Hotel and it is pretty grand throughout, although the rooms are not too grand. But you can get grand rooms. You don’t really have to go outside unless you want to because they have tunnels and skywalks in downtown Rochester for all the patients.
I remember looking out the window and watching the snow fall in the evening. I like being there in the winter. And I like the hotel restaurants without all the annoying thematic stuff other restarants have to get up.
You can usually count on seeing some Arab in flowing robes at the Kahler Grand Hotel. And on the TV you can find quite a few more Arab channels than you would think. It is quite an exotic place.
The best part of the Rochester L’Abri conference is not that it is thronged by evangelicals, that Dennis Haack is going to show you clips from a movie and get teary about how he witnessed to somebody after watching a movie with them, or the lunch at the Marriott Hotel where you end up sitting with people you never would have thought would be interested in something put on by L’Abri. Besides the pleasant time you can have in Rochester and Rochester’s book stores the best thing about the conference is that they always include John Hodges.
Even now, when I have no illusions about what they do, when I also would tell somebody asking me where to start reading Francis Schaeffer to start by just reading C. S. Lewis instead, I still think about going just to hear John Hodges.
He introduced me to Arvo Part. He may have done two sessions on him that first year. He also did a session on music in the 20th century which was wonderful. He played ‘sacred’ and secular rock and most of the audience couldn’t tell the difference. He was a nice guy though, which is why his kind fail. He told them he thought the church should not be indistinguishable from the world but so nicely they could all laugh nervousely and then the thought went clean away. It was like Ken Myers’ All of God’s Childen in Blue Suede Shoes which makes the case and then backs down in the conclusions.
The second year Hodges didn’t have as many workshops. He played some very modern stuff in his main session and could not get the evangelicals to pay attention to it. He even knew they would want to talk during the listening and urged them to refrain. In his workshop he was full of a new person he had met in England who was translating St. Augustine’s De Musica. I remember suggesting during the question time that some music was better than others and how gracefully he handled the predictable objections from the audience–long practice.
Hodges main session at the coming conference is called The Word of Truth and the Beauty of Music: Brahms A German Requiem. I can tell he’ll say worthwhile things. I love to hear worthwhile things. He’s also got two other workshops on the work of the artist and the power of art. I keep thinking to myself, you know, the price is not too bad for two nights and three sessions. The hotel has a sauna and a pool. One can fill up the time wonderfully writing or reading. And who knows, what if they have some spindly Cambridge professor to read a paper that summarizes all the works of C. S. Lewis and most of Shakespeare’s plays? That happened one year . . . in one of the workshops. Maybe it will happen again.
Posted by unknowing on December 1, 2006