Today, a friend and writer that I much admire, Jan Carson, talked about how she uses magical realism in her work. She explained that the magical realist take is a lot like faith: grounded in the earth and muck of life, but yet fantastical things happen in the midst of that. Not a fan of Narnia, which is too fully fantasy, it is when magic interrupts the ordinary.
As I sit in an amazingly full tiny tea tent, extra full with people clad in waterproof coats and wellies taking refuge from the light drizzle that turned aggressive, I think magical realism is a pretty nice metaphor for Greenbelt. Here we are, stripped of everyday luxuries such as beds, showers and mirrors, and pooled together in a grubby celebration and exchange of inspiration, faith and passion.
The light drizzle that turned aggressive has progressed to the apocalyptic thunder and lightning since I writing began this, and despite the grey skies and death sentence to having ok hair, I have had some of the most inspirational conversations that I’ve had this year and reconnected with some of the best people I know, and been introduced to new – and maybe even better – people!
Over the weekend we will shuffle from tent to tent, our waterproofs letting us down and the bags under our eyes getting heavier with each progressive night under canvas, to hear from the faithful, the pioneers, the unconventional, the activists, the servants and the uber talented of our funny Christian community, and leave with our minds and hearts expanded and stretched. We will huddle together and try to light our campfire stoves under umbrellas, and as we eat our over or under cooked pasta, our conversations will echo the myriad of ideas we’ve heard and what we want to do about them when we get home.
It turns out that it’s not good phone reception, professional exteriors or even basic plumbing that brings the magic in. Here, in a field, just outside of Kettering, we touch on a very real magical realism. We are deeply aware of our humanity, but riddled with magic.
threads are reporting on Greenbelt for the whole week! Have a read of our other Greenbelt 2016 articles right here.