So here are some of the notes I jotted down as I listened to the incredible sessions last weekend. Keep in mind that these are not quotes from the speakers, but rather the end-product after I heard them say something similar to what is here. They've passed through my brain and possibly picked up some errors, faulty implications, ominous overtones, whatever. Mostly I'm just putting them here because I don't want to forget them.
Josh Allen on Epiphany in Fiction:
We trust the epiphany because the world which is discovered is demanding and complex.
We also need doubt. Remove it in an epiphany and you don’t have truth.
In good epiphany, truth isn’t tidy. Epiphany leads character to question other things. Good epiphany increases complexity, so we trust it. (Example: 2 epiphanies in Wizard of Oz. Bad=”there’s no place like home,” resolves everything. Good=man behind curtain.)
Insights that make things harder.
Go to a Mormon bookstore and examine the epiphanies. What is new? Nothing. All is already known. Closed universe.
God enters chaos in which elements aren’t distinguished from each other and then divides and organizes.
God is the meaning (logos). Writers (and all creators) create meaning from the chaos. God lost 1/3 of his spirit children; writers are acquainted with failure, loss.
Good art: not just a means to re-present what we have, but to expand joy and understanding.
Meaning is discovered in the world as it is. Natural state is chaos.
From citation for Patrick Madden’s Quotidiana:
Each essay begins with the mundane and meanders into deep meaning.
Kathy Soper on Memoir Construction:1. Explore opposition.
2. Structure meaning.
3. Forster communion.
John Bennion’s admonition to those on study abroad, about touring and also about writing essays: “Wander, not knowing beforehand where you will go.” “Abandon interpretation.” “Step back. Hold back your judgment.” [Me: both in writing and in regards to self and others.
Marvin Payne on Marden Clark’s essay, “Liberating Form”: “He only wrote the essay in order to say what he said in the last two pages.” [Me: that should be the way of any written art. To the audience, you say, “You can’t hear that in the right way unless you live through this artistic experience first.”]