The Written Word

Words are the most powerful thing in the universe. Words are containers. They contain faith, or fear, and they produce after their kind. – Charles Capps (author of God’s Creative Power)

Words can be exceptionally powerful and may have long standing implications: most recently Romney suggesting he had binders full of women to fill his cabinet or discounting the perceived 47 percent have given him a lot of grief. He’s not alone though on misplaced words: John Kerry said, “I voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it.” While campaigning in Ohio, Joe Biden said that “J-O-B-S” is a three-letter word.

Unfortunately there are no mulligans for political gaffes. When we screw up badly we can usually recover with a mere apology, but public figures rarely get away with misplaced words which sometimes are instantaneously fatal.

But these are spoken words, easy to mess something up when speaking to a crowd. When we write, we can erase and rewrite until we’re happy with the results. And that’s just what the authors about to converge on Bend for the Nature of Words literary festival have done.

As each Nature of Words has brought us words to live by and inspired us to write, listen and learn, this festival, set for November 7-11, is sure to stir your enthusiasm.

Playwright and author Ayad Akhtar of New York City will present his first novel American Dervish. Whether you believe religion is a precious gift from God or the greatest scourge of mankind, you will find yourself represented in the pages of this novel notes Amazon. Akhtar offers, “The secret of a happy life is respect. Respect for yourself and respect for others.”

Central Oregonians are familiar with Oregon author, Jean Auel, who is best known for her Earth’s Children books, a series of novels set in prehistoric Europe that explores interactions of Cro-Magnon people with Neanderthals. You may be most familiar with her book turned movie: The Clan of the Cave Bear. Auel says that she started writing to “please myself, a story I would like to read, and that is still true.”

Another fiction writer will join the festival, Brian Doyle, who is an award-winning author, essayist and editor of the University of Portland’s Portland Magazine.

Nonfiction writer, Thor Hanson’s new book takes an intimate look at the evolutionary significance of feathers in birds. He is a conservation biologist and author of The Impenetrable Forest: My Gorilla Years in Uganda.

Several acclaimed poets will fill the halls of the festival this year. Recipient of a Truman Capote Creative Writing Fellowship, Sherwin Bitsui’s poems are steeped in Native American culture, mythology and history.

Michael Meade, D.H.L., is a renowned storyteller, author and scholar of mythology, anthropology and psychology. He combines hypnotic storytelling, street-savvy perceptiveness and spellbinding interpretations of ancient myths with a deep knowledge of cross-cultural rituals.

Poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil says that one of the things she is very proud of is the use of science and biology as metaphor or image for jumpstarting a poem. “I take great pains to do extensive research for my poems and I feel like I owe that truthfulness or “fact” to the readers when I do employ imagery from the natural world. I don’t want anyone reading about a flower or an animal only to find that I just made it up.”

Two more poets make up the field, Paisley Rekdal and Kevin Gordon. Rekdal is the author of a book of essays, The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee and four books of poetry. She is known for unique and intellectual manifestations. With all of their rhetorical pleasures and illustrative rhythms, says critic Major Jackson, Rekdal’s poems are deeply marked by a sensate, near terrestrial relationship to language such that she refreshes and renews debates about beauty, suffering and art for the twenty-first-century reader.

Gordon is a Nashville based singer-songwriter with five CDs to his credit. His latest, Gloryland, released in 2012, has garnered the highest critical success of his career from a wide variety of sources including Rolling Stone Magazine and the New York Times.

November is sure to be about words, please partake:

by PAMELA HULSE ANDREWS Cascade A&E Publisher

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