Monday, March 14, 2011

Acts of Attention

In more ways than one, I kind of owe my weird thinking to the Image Journal. I picked up the very first issue for 50 pence in a "used books" crate at the Greenbelt Festival in 1992, and I read it over and over again while living in a pink hut in Northern Ireland. What got me in particular was a Frederick Buechner interview in which a casual reference (maybe a paraphrase or a mash-up) to John 1:3 and Colossians 1:17 made me stop worrying over and love the fact that Thomas Merton called Thich Nhat Hanh his brother. Slowly but surely, the film, the poem, the visual or the fact of history I couldn't yet get my head around became one more sign of sacred reality as opposed to a stumbling block. Having Image in mind and reading it like a madman whenever I procured a new copy kept me (and keeps me) rearranging my mental furniture (or having it rearranged) in view of who and what I'm hearing and seeing, redeeming transmissions I suspect I'm able to receive as redemptive thanks to Image. I think I saw Over the Rhine and Bruce Cockburn for the first time that weekend. Met Henri Nouwen too.
Anyway, the occasion that gives me an excuse to say all this is an event of which I'm deeply geeked to be a part.It's the Glen Workshop (Glen EAST to be specific). It runs from June 12-19 in South Hadley, MA, and I'll be there offering a seminar with a number of cooler people, most of whom I've come to follow via the journal. Art as "Acts of Attention" is the theme, and it looks to be wonderful. Registration details can be accessed here.