Inklings and Introductions

Note: the following blog post is a repost from our 2009 Southwest Regional Retreat Writers Workshop blog page. Click here for the main 2009 C.S. Lewis Southwest Regional Retreat page.


Tolkien calls the name [Inklings] “a pleasantly ingenious pun ,” referring to those who “dabble in ink.” C.S. Lewis

Hi, this is Nan Rinella, and I, along with Laura Sullivan, will be coordinating this event under the direction of Stan Mattson, President of the C.S. Lewis Foundation.

I’m a native Californian transplanted in Amarillo, Texas. It was in 2001 that Lewis and Tolkien captured my interest and I became an enthusiastic student of their lives and works, attending my first foundation event in 2004. It is indeed a pleasure to be on the volunteer team. I’m a writer, speaker, freelance journalist, and have directed Frontiers in Writing, Panhandle Professional Writers annual conference, as well as attending a myriad of conferences.

Laura is a probation clerk in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and administrative marvel. She found C.S. Lewis by accident and was smitten. She has attended events for five years and coordinated the retreat for the last two years. We’ve joined forces and are excited about launching our pilot writers workshop.

In this series of blog posts, we’ll be giving you “inklings” about our program, hopefully answering questions like: “Why should I attend?” “What’s special or different about this workshop?” “What will you offer that’s worth my time and treasure?” “Who are these speakers, and what will I learn from them?”

Our website lists our presenters’ bios and credits. However, on this blog, we’ll introduce you to personal snapshots, interviews, Q&A’s, and reviews of their books. I’ve found that reading at least one book by each speaker in preparation for a conference makes the experience richer, and gives you a head start in connecting with faculty members. Diana Pavlac Gyler’s tome on the “Inklings” was the inspiration for this workshop. Just reading Joy Jordan-Lake’s novel was an education in exceptional writing. Frank Ball writes an “eyewitness” story that makes a believer out of you. Terry Glaspey’s book on Lewis leaves you wanting more.

We challenge you to read Lewis, if you haven’t already. And if you haven’t time to digest Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, read The Hobbit. They’re not just for children, nor are The Chronicles of Narnia.

Why a C.S. Lewis conference? What can two older English professors at Oxford and Cambridge-who wrote a half century ago-teach us today? Just how relevant are the Inklings and their experiences? Oh, will you be surprised, delighted, encouraged-and you’ll be a better writer for it. I promise. Because, you see, I was. I am. You will too.

Whether you are a fiction or nonfiction writer, a published professional, accomplished yet unpublished, or maybe in print but not paid, a novice with aspirations, or a church or community volunteer desiring more expertise -this is the opportunity for you.

The program was designed to satisfy both those desiring advanced teaching, those who’ve just begun to learn the craft, and those just wanting to improve their skills. Then, of course, there are all important private appointments with our editor, agent, media tech expert, and authors.

All this and the retreat, too-devotions, praise and worship, special breakout sessions, Sunday service, song and inspired dance artistry. It’s self-contained, nestled in the piney woods of the Camp Allen Conference Center. Rustic, but comfortable. Telephones, WiFi-but no TV. The meals are yummy with variety for different tastes. Save room for cobbler a la mode. And tea with our Lady Diana.

Make this a vacation with purpose. There are outdoor activities that can occupy a spouse, and are available for attendees who want to take Saturday afternoon off. The children’s program for ages 7-12 is a voyage on the Dawn Treader.

Are you ready to “go further up and further in?