There have been some people wondering if they can come to the Ancient Faith Writing and Podcasting Conference, not because they do podcasts or write books or blogs, but because they want to meet and talk to the ones who do. I can’t speak for anyone else, but as far as I’m concerned, one of the highlights of my writing life is meeting people who have read what I write.
Writing, whether it’s for a blog or a book, and I suspect, podcasting, too, is a very lonely occupation. It’s not something we do in a big room with other people around doing the same thing we do. We create our imaginary worlds, we comment on the world around us, we talk into a microphone about our faith and beliefs in spaces that don’t offer a lot of connection with the people who read and listen to us.
In most cases, the words go out and we hear almost nothing back about how those words, those worlds, those opinions and lessons affected the people who experience them. They vanish into space, and for all we know, they just kind of hang there, doing not much of anything.
As a writer for kids, that’s especially true for me, so it’s a rare and lovely treat when I visit a school and talk to the young people who read my books. Not because they tell me what a great writer I am (although some do, and it makes my day!). What makes my week, my month, my year is hearing the kids talk about their reactions to the events in the book – how they felt about different scenes, or what happened to a character, or when they want to know why Con didn’t see that Big was going to double-cross him, or why Macrina had the tantrum, or how come Princess Ileana never went back to Austria, with her husband? Or they have opinions about what I wrote – that making Affa go into the subway tunnels when he knew it was a bad idea was cruel and unfair, or that the deacon was a goof, and why was he such a scaredy cat? And they cried when Macrina’s husband died, or when Princess Ileana couldn’t get to her mother in time to say goodbye, or they give me drawings and poems because what I wrote inspired their creativity. My soul sings when that happens.
Hearing from the people we create our content for, meeting you in person, shaking your hand or giving you a hug, means the world to us. It means that we’re doing what we pray and hope God wants from us – to touch other people’s lives in order to bring them closer to God, to show them that a faithful life isn’t a bed of roses, but that there are rose gardens along the way and that God is always there, inside us and beside us even in the valley of the shadow of death. It means that our work and our words aren’t just going out and hanging in space, unheard, unread, unremarked, and it lets us return to our work revitalized, more dedicated and carrying your face in our hearts.
So, yes, please, come to the Ancient Faith Writing and Podcasting Conference to meet us. You’ll make our year if you do.