Personal Narratives of Place and Displacement: Day Two

It’s been a long day, a good day, and I’m tired, but a few thoughts as promised about day two of the Mennonite/s Writing VIII conference. Beginning from the end.

The conference re-located from the University of Winnipeg to Canadian Mennonite University across the city this evening for what was billed as a “Creative Evening.” That is, we listened to five writers of varying ages and genres as well as a pair of musicians: Jennifer Sears, Len Neufeldt (his writing read by Robert Martens), Jessica Penner, Casey Plett, Maurice Mierau and Carol Ann Weaver on piano with Marnie Enns singing. Although not all these artists are young or entirely new to Mennonite Lit, in the main they are newer voices gaining strength and recognition among us, and it was a delight to hear them. Continue reading

One good humiliation a day

Franciscan writer Richard Rohr says, in Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, that for years he’s prayed for “one good humiliation a day.” He continues, “[A]nd then I must watch my reaction to it.” Rohr isn’t speaking of some masochistic desire for insult or injury, no 50 shades of gray implications here, but rather of a necessary exercise in the practice of an authentic life. The context is being real about oneself instead of trapped in the delusions of “any idealized role or self-image.” The word “humiliation” is built from the word “humble” whose root meaning is close to the ground, of the humus or earth. Human, that is. True to what one is. Continue reading