Regarding writers, I hear what you're saying Matthew, about being wary about turning toward the academic. I guess my thinking was that it would be cool to have someone like Mr. Murphy tell us how brilliant we all are, and how important it us for us to be exercising our Catholic imaginations. But that would take no more than a few hours, and we're going to be together for a couple of days. (Actually, see point 2 below.) I'll hold off on an invite. A potential invite was why I was wondering how many writers could be accomodated. Space and milieu play a big part in the "feel" of a gathering but also effect the practical context. I also have to be honest about a couple of things:
1) I am having a hard time with the idea of a writing exercise. I write what I write and I have a hard time writing outside of that. I don't have enough time to write as it is and doing something that is not for (potential) commercial consumption is hard to get motivated for.
2) I like the idea of a gathering of varied voices, with creative writers making up the majority of attendees. What I found most valuable last summer was simply sitting around the table critiquing each others' work. In my mind, the ideal get-together would be centered around that. Each of us would send out something a month or two in advance and we would have our thoughts assembled before we meet. At night, one of the attendees would lead a discussion while we drink. Any free time could be spent wandering or talking. My thought was that if someone like Mr. Murphy was invited, he would have a piece of writing for us to critique (which would probably be academic, but that is okay from my persepctive,) but that he would also be a good critiquer and a potential presenter.
3) Agitator! I feel terrible saying this, but I wish we could keep the meeting at Johnsonville. I think it provides the best physical environment for a gathering like ours and the location, being more central, is less overwhelming for me, (of course, me, me, me) coming from Maine, but also for any potential invitees from east of the Mississippi. I want for Gerasene to be as lively as possible and it is important to have a good group of attendees. I know why CA was proposed (cost and timing,) but at leats in terms of timing, I will just throw it out there that late September/early October on a farm in WI would be pretty sweet.
With love and respect,