I'm happy to announce that my abstract to the C.S. Lewis and Inklings Conference at LeTourneau University, Texas, was accepted! It's my first conference. I'm excited and anxious to present. But this year's theme was too enticing to pass up. For those of you following my graduate research (if you know me from Facebook or Twitter) you'll understand why:
"Fairytales in the Age of iPads: Inklings, Imagination and Technology,"
It runs from March 21-23.
Undergraduate students, graduate students, and professors are invited to submit papers on the theme of Inklings, imagination and technology as it relates to the works of C.S. Lewis, the Inklings, George MacDonald, and Dorothy L. Sayers. However, papers on other subjects related to the above authors will also be accepted.
My paper is entitled: "Electric Fairytales: the Importance of Mythopoetic Thought in the Age of New Media." Here's a snippet from the abstract:
This essay examines the Internet – and digital media at large – as a form of dreaming, trance, or imaginal experience. It examines electronic media's role, since its inception, in retrieving and re-constellating the role of fairy tales and myth in popular consciousness. The ancient world of myth and lore finds an uncanny match with the binary brainchild of Western Civilization.
I'll cover as much of the conference as I can. Including interviews, recordings, etc.
So, Dr. Ralph Wood is the plenary (just learned this word) speaker at this event. He has an impressive background: Professor of Theology and Literature at Baylor University in Texas, editor for the Christian Century, and on the editorial board for the Flannery O'Conner Review. His books include: The Comedy of Redemption in Four American Novelists, and The Gospel According to Tolkien: Visions of the Kingdom of Middle-Earth. Phew! First off, O'Connor has been growing on me since late 2012. Secondly, both of his books sound intriguing. I am very much looking forward to hearing this guy.
For those of you who are interested in reading up on this topic yourselves, look no further than Tolkien's essay: "On Fairy-Stories," or his poem, Mythopoeia, from which the very word was coined. What rung true to me about Tolkien's creative process was the suggestion that we don't create worlds like engineers. We find them. A good writer is someone who can master the story-telling of these places. Like an adventurer returning from a trip to unknown lands. We write what we see. If we treat our imagination "as if" it is autonomous, it yields surprising results.
Tolkien wasn't the only person to suggest this idea. Carl Jung's process of "active imagination" was based on a very similar idea of an autonomous – that is, independent in some degree –psyche. He used to say that we are made up of "little persons," who are indeed the "little folk" of old fairy tales. According to Jung, they now exist in the psyche, wreaking havoc. For the Greeks, the "little people" were our "daemons," our muses as artists and philosophers. Our genius.
All these ideas are fluidic and interchangeable. But do they have to do with the "imagination in the age of iPads?" Well, consider this.
Millions are online right now. In a digital world-space populated by images, icons, animated avatars and imaginal worlds – like MMORPG's or other such spaces. What kind of effect does that have on our minds? On the act of imagination and world creation? What kind of world are we actually creating with these technologies? I argue that such a world is more friendly, and welcoming to the realms of myth and myth-making. Indeed, perhaps the study of myth, and mythopoesis (myth-making) is essential in this age to understand what's happening in digital culture at large: an explosion of the Imaginal worlds.