Thursday, May 6, 2010

What I Want for my 30th Birthday

My 30th birthday is this Saturday, an event I've been dreading for 30 years. But lately, due to changes in my life, I've gotten a bit more chill about it. After all, I'm attempting to pursue a passion full-time. BEA is in a few short weeks and that will bring me loads of comfort in the form of fabulous authors, books and friends. July brings me the chance to geek out at Comic-Con. But mostly, I just feel like maybe I am doing something a bit more right with my life, and I've happily been coming to peace with who I am a bit more each day.
I didn't actually want anything much for my birthday--after all I have my ereader now, stacks of fabulous looking books to read, and this netbook that should last me awhile longer. But that was before late last night when I couldn't sleep and checked out the Rabbit Room. And what to my wondering eyes should appear but this thing called, Hutchmoot. I. WANT. TO. GO. I adore the Rabbit Room and would like nothing more than the chance to feel a bit more like I was part of that community. Furthermore, things like Andrew Peterson's CD release show, and sessions where I get to hear about story and faith and those other delicious things I enjoy pondering sound wonderful. I immediately emailed Hannah, who is the closest thing I have to a brain twin on the subject of faith and fiction to see her thoughts (and share a few concerns which I'll mention in a minute) So now we're both dreaming about going and also MEETING IN REAL LIFE and me, I'm all anxious to talk about the big shared dreams we have while also attempting to contain my glee over all the goodness of Hutchmoot.

Is Hutchmoot my dream retreat? Almost, but not quite. I couldn't help but notice immediately that there isn't a single female presenter. Don't misunderstand, I think all of the presenters are wonderful...I'm a fan. I hope each of them know just how much I'm a fan. And some of the authors on the recommended reading list are female. This is just something that, especially having grown up as an evangelical Christian female, I observe. Am I welcomed? Is my input or gender's input as valuable? It's not that I think the organizers of Hutchmoot have intentionally excluded the female voice. It's just that, being a woman who cares about many of the same things they care about, and having traditionally felt excluded in any position of authority in my faith, I would hope to hear from both genders. I recognize that perhaps at this time, they simply don't know any women who share the same values on story, art, and faith they do, or that they asked some women to be a part of it who declined. (People do decline these things, I know from experience!)

But having said that, this is the singular thing I want right now. I want to go to Hutchmoot and I want Hannah (and her husband) to come, too. Is this too much to ask? It's a bit on the pricey side, being all the way in Nashville. Flights aren't cheap. Registration is okay, but there's a car rental and lodging to consider as well. Ohhh I want to go!

But this leads me to something else I want for my birthday. I want the overload of water in Nashville to go away.

I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and my grandparents lived in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. (my grandma still does) I was very close to them and spent summers with them when I was growing up. A treat for us was to go to Nashville and walk around and see the sights. My sister and I used to think the Opryland Hotel was the most glamorous and beautiful place ever. She even wanted to go there for her honeymoon. While I never got to stay there, I did attend a General Council for the Christian and Missionary Alliance there one year. I have such special memories of that week. So for that reason these photos make me exceedingly sad. I have always loved Nashville. It was the halfway mark between St. Louis and Toccoa (where I went to college), therefore a place to celebrate when reached. I flew there twice the year I moved back to the States from Japan to see friends and concerts. Because I follow a lot of people in the Christian music industry and the Christian publishing industry online, I've seen quite a few of them affected by these horrible floods. Because I grew up in St. Louis and lived there during the Flood of '93, I know what it's like to feel overwhelmed by water and to battle it futilely. I haven't heard, but I hope that no libraries have been negatively affected, yes that's me, always thinking of the books.

In any case, there's a fabulous auction with critiques from authors, agents, and editors to go towards flood relief. Check it out at Do the Write Thing for Nashville


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