I’m excited to be able to share some photos with you from my recent trip to Manifest Creative Arts Festival held at Avondale College in Cooranbong, NSW a fortnight ago. I was invited to be one of the presenters at Manifest, which was a huge honour.
During my two days there I gave a 2-hour lecture and workshop on picture books to some Education students, participated in a panel discussion on creativity and faith (with artist Jo Darby, author Andy Nash and film-maker Paul Kim), read my picture book FISH DON’T NEED SNORKELS as the children’s story during church and then did some book signings. It was a packed weekend filled with amazing people and inspiring interactions and I am so glad I went. I feel like my creative well has been filled and some of the questions and issues I’ve been battling with as an author have been laid to rest.
It was such a thrill to be with other people who thrive on creativity. I was in awe of the talent that was on display and felt very privileged to be able to spend so much time chatting with the guys on the panel plus delightful film-makers Daneen Akers and Stephen Eyer, and conference organisers Nathan Brown and Brenton Stacey.
Here are a few photos of my adventures:
On a personal note, the weekend impacted me in another way, too. Paul Kim is the executive director of SONscreen, a Christian short film festival. On Friday night there was a screening of some of the best films from the 2011 festival after the main program. Paul and I had chatted a lot during the day on Friday and I had told him about the death of my dad eighteen months ago and how utterly devastating it was and still is for me and my extended family. As we were heading into the evening program, Paul mentioned that, based on our conversation earlier in the day, there was one film he really wanted me to see.
The film is simply called, “Blue” and I don’t have the words to explain how deeply this film resonated with me. A few days after my dad died, each of us kids were asked to write a short message to include with the death notice in the paper. As I sat there, pen in hand, broken-hearted and broken and gutted, for the first time in my life I had no words. For me, that was a significant moment. I am an author; I make my living out of words, but I stared at the blank paper for the longest of times before I half-screamed/half-sobbed, “I have no words.”
This film brought me a similar sensation. I have no words that can adequately describe how closely this film represents the relationship my dad and I had. While I was watching, there were moments where it was so painful I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to stay in my seat; moments that were so accurate that they took my breath away. If you have thirteen minutes and three seconds of your life to spare, I’d love for you to watch it too.
Photos courtesy of Ann Stafford. Thanks, Ann!