“Are You A . . . ?” (A Quick Reflection on the Festival of Faith and Writing)

Over the weekend, I attended the Festival of Faith and Writing in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Lots of bloggers are commenting on their experience (check out Michelle Van Loon’s for starters ) and if I had the energy, I’d write a post of my own. But instead (my friend Caryn and I were just marveling over how tired we still are) I’ve mustered up just enough for this one thought:

Early Saturday morning I was having breakfast with a few colleagues in the conference center lobby when, in desperate need of more coffee, I wandered into the “restricted section” (reserved for conference presenters and hotel guests) for a refill. I overheard a middle-aged man asking Pulitzer Prize winning author Marilynne Robinson if she was a presenter at the conference.

“Yes,” she said. “I am.”

“Oh,” he said. “Are you an author?”

“Yes,” she said again. “I am.”

I politely smiled, not quite bold (or socially inept) enough to stick around for the rest of the conversation. But as I made my way back to my colleagues, I couldn’t help but think how even the most successful people are only known and celebrated within the circles in which they are known and celebrated.

It was a sliver of a moment, but one dripping with profundity about motivation and perspective and humility and pursuing our dreams.  Because — whatever our circle —  someone’s bound to ask all of us if we are, well, anyone at all.

And no matter what that circle, our answer will be yes.

And our answer will be no.

And the person who asked might not really care about our answer to either.


2 thoughts on ““Are You A . . . ?” (A Quick Reflection on the Festival of Faith and Writing)

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