Exciting opportunity

Six weeks ago I applied to  a summer writing institute for pastors who want to incorporate writing into their ministry.  I really had no idea how much of a chance I would have at getting in.  The workshop was accepting applications from around the nation – and only 12 people would be selected.  But I figured I couldn’t get accepted if I didn’t try, and filled out my application.  Since the application deadline of February 14th, I’ve been excitedly checking my email hoping to hear something….anything.

Last week I heard something.  Apparently the institute had received so many excellent applicants, they decided to offer a second workshop, making it possible to choose 24 people instead of just 12.  I became hopeful, but still not all that confident my application would rise to the top.

All week I’ve been expecting to hear something.  And this morning, literally while typing in a Facebook status update about “waiting for an email that won’t come” – an email came.  Taking a deep breath, I opened the email from the institute, literally squinting at the screen, unsure I wanted to read what it said.  Through squinted eyes, I saw, “Attached you will find a letter inviting you….”  I stopped reading, gave a shout and began to celebrate!  I got in!

I’m not sure where all this will lead in the long run, but tonight I am grateful for excellent, exciting opportunities like this.  I pray I will continually use my gifts, skills and abilities to the glory of Christ, and that lives will be changed in the process.   I’ve included a description of the institute below to give you a better idea of what I’ll be doing.  And hey – just think – when I become a famous writer someday, you all will think back to “my early days” of writing a simple blog called “Marble Musings”! 🙂  (little joke!)

It matters little how profound your thoughts, how wise your insights, how researched your theology.  Unless your language sings, unless your sentences take wing, your wisdom will never reach your readers or listeners, will never enter their minds and hearts, will never create in them a new song.

This intensive workshop focuses on craft—learning how to write and use prose rhythms, learning how to find and shape metaphor.  Designed specifically for  pastors in their early years of ministry, it will also help anyone with a passion for language and faith give their thoughts wings. Due to the nature of the workshop and its learning process, we will only be able to accept 12 participants.  The Collegeville Institute will cover travel expenses to and from the event, as well as room and board for the duration of the workshop.  Though participants will share Institute apartment space, each will be provided with a private bedroom.

Leading the workshop is Mary Ylvisaker Nilsen (M.A.W., The University of Iowa; M.T.S., Harvard Divinity School).  Mary has taught creative writing courses since 1982, first at The University of Iowa and then in the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. She also teaches prose style and metaphor classes in Des Moines, where she lives and owns a small publishing company.  Her complete publishing resume can be found on her website: www.zionpublishing.org.