Creative spark is a gossamer thing. If you can, indeed, grasp it as it wisps by, the process of bringing inspiration to fruition can be equally ineffable. Is creative process a freight train, a Rubik’s cube, or more akin to the herding of cats?
The Elephant Mountain Literary Festival’s panel discussions aim to answer questions such as these and make the ineffable, well, somewhat more effable. Or at least uncover new metaphors for creativity, and for all the nuance and angst that goes into the book, the play, the song, the film, or the multimedia assemblage with found objects installed in a public place under cover of darkness.
If we don’t find all the answers to the questions posed by our esteemed moderators to our multi-disciplinary panelists, we’ll have a good time trying. EMLF panel discussions can be a wild ride, chock full of spark and exploration. Two panel discussions that take place on Saturday afternoon (June 25) at the Prestige Lakeside Resort sport titles aimed to keep that metaphoric train rolling.
The Writing on the Wall and Other Creative Rebellions at 12:30 p.m. asks the question: Can our art influence—or even change — the world? This panel features author and environmental advocate Dr. Suzanne Simard, opinionated-author-of-30-books Tom Wayman, muralist Matty Kakes, and performer/director Avi Phillips. Led by our moderator, author and retired creative writing instructor Almeda Glenn Miller, these panelists will explore the power of the pen (or brush, or theatrical performance) with examples from life — and perhaps even a call to arms.
The Past, Present, and Future Walk into a Bar at 2 p.m. is a panel title begging for a punchline. Selkirk College writing instructor and author Leesa Dean moderates this panel to discuss time as a framing mechanism in art. EMLF All-Star authors Shaena Lambert and Angie Abdou, actor-comedian Lucas Myers, and artist-filmmaker Brian Lye will consider questions such as: Why represent the past through art? Can the present moment truly be captured? Is the future the new trend, and if so, how did it get so cool? And, most importantly (and perhaps our punchline): If the past, present, and future were to arm wrestle over who picks up the bar tab, who would win?
Along the way it’s just possible the conversation will touch on creative spark, and we’ll add a new metaphor to our collection. But really, the whole festival is one big spark: from the festival’s kick-off event — a free talk by Lambert at the Nelson Library (Thursday, June 23 at 7:30 p.m.) — through Words and Wine: A Storytelling Speakeasy on Friday evening, the All-Star readings on Saturday night, and the Saturday afternoon panel discussions followed by a student showcase/happy hour (now taking place at the Prestige Inn’s lounge), sparking will be unavoidable.
Just like creative process, our oh-so-sparky EMLF has a lot in common with freight trains, Rubik’s cubes, and the herding of cats. Since we began planning last fall for EMLF 2022 we have had to re-jig our line-up, offerings, and venues countless times in response to things beyond our control. Even when we thought the fest was entirely in the bag, life again stepped in: singer-songwriter Dawn Pemberton’s workshop and concert are now postponed until fall. But we are thrilled with our festival and its presenters, and we know you will be, too.
As we launch ourselves headlong into EMLF 2022 — claws retracted, yowling softly, our puzzle more or less aligned, and full tilt like the freight train we are — a huge thank you goes out to our funders and supporters, volunteers, authors and creators, and of course our audience. We couldn’t do it without you.
This concludes the EMLF column series. Thanks to the Nelson Star for this space, and so much goodwill. For information and tickets go to emlfestival.com. We hope to see you at the fest!
For the complete schedule and information on how to buy tickets for the festival, visit emlfestival.com.