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Mythopoeic Society

a non-profit organization devoted to the study of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams, the Inklings, and the genres of myth and fantasy


Conferences

Mythcon 29 Report

by Christiana Shepard and Cacie Miller

Mythcon 29 was one of the best experiences of our lives, and we’d like to share all about it! We met over a George MacDonald e-mail list in January, the two of us arguing against universalism, and we quickly become good friends. While talking one day, Mythcon came up, and both of us thought it sounded wonderful, but little did we know that we’d actually be able to attend!

After much planning and overcoming many obstacles, we met with a hug at O’Hare airport on July 15 where Christiana’s great-aunt Mrs. Hawethorne picked us up, and opened up her home to us during the 5 days of the conference. After getting our rather large amount of luggage into the house, we headed down to Evans MacManis to register. The friendly, hard-working registrar — Lynn Maudlin — instantly recognized us by our smiles and excitement, and so our Mythcon experience began. After registering, Lynn introduced us to Guest of Honor Mr. Paul Ford, who, along with other Mythconers, was engaged in a discussion in a small, comfortable room. That evening’s program was held outdoors in a festive environment which introduced us to Mythcon, and also there was a wonderful performance by the World Academy of Irish Dancers.

At 8:30 the next morning we headed to the procession, Christiana in Scottish highland attire, and Cacie in medieval garb. We were stopped by a gentleman on the way who wanted to know if we were from “Scotland or England or Ireland or one of those places.” It took several minutes to explain that we were on our way to a “Mythopoeic Procession.” The opening speech by Mr. Ford was wonderfully inspiring, and after that we watched an informative and rather comical video interview with C.S. Lewis’s driver, Mr. Clifford Morris. After lunch that day, we headed to the conservatory, which we had discovered the night before, where we sang and played piano and flute duets in halls and halls of lovely pianos. While we were there, we discovered that CSL’s “Evolutionary Hymn” sings perfectly to “Guide Us, Oh Thou Great Jehovah.” We laughed through the whole thing. At 2:30 we went back to Barrows Auditorium for Lynn Maudlin¹s slide show “C.S. Lewis in Ireland.” While she showed this, she also read portions of Lewis’s autobiography Suprised by Joy which greatly enhanced the slides. Then we watched an “Oral History” videotape of George Sayer, who related many Lewisian anecdotes, from humorous to sentimental.

After supper, we enjoyed the evening program, where three witty Screwtape letters (well, not THE Screwtape…) were read, followed by a speech on Lewis and humor by Mr. Terry Lindvall. Then came the highlight of our Thursday, an accurate portrayal of Lewis’s The Great Divorce by actor Tony Lawton. We immensely enjoyed Mr. Lawton’s changes of accent (especially the Scottish of the fictional George MacDonald!). Friday we started off the day watching the George MacDonald slideshow: beautiful pictures from Scotland and Italy, where MacDonald spent a good deal of his later years. After this, we joined in the George MacDonald panel, which had a lively discussion on universalism and other MacDonald matters. After lunch attended the panel “How Mere Was Lewis’s Christianity” which was followed by wonderful debates — mostly theological. There was a wide variety of opinions and views, and so plenty of room for discussion!

That night, after much preparation, we went to the Mythcon Masquerade. What a time that was! Especially, when, at the end, we won the award “Most Graceful Naiads” which we still joke about! Miracles DO occur! Later that night we enjoyed still more “Screwtape Letters” as well as the music of Lynn Maudlin — a lady of many talents! Saturday morning we attended the humorous, informative “Interview with Joy Davidman,” after which we attended the likewise humorous and informative “Dead Inklings” panel. Both of these presentations gave us information we wouldn¹t have otherwise retained; after all, what better place to hear it then from the mouths of the “authors” themselves?

On Sunday, after attending a very informative and interesting panel on Major Lewis, we prepared for the Sunday memorial service at choir practice. Christiana did a lovely descant on her flute as well. And the presentation of “The Weight of Glory” by Mr. David Payne was quite inspirational! That night, we attending the celtic concert by The Crossing with our friends the Johannesens who we met at Mythcon. What a night! The music was quite powerful, enjoyable, and encouraging. It was also our last Mythcon event, as we had to leave for the airport early the next morning. Parting was difficult, but we managed, and our memories of Mythcon 29 will live for a long time!

Reprinted from the November 1998 issue (35:11) of Mythprint.