What do bumblebees, Antonin Dvorak and Babylon have in common?
Thanks to the inventive mind of Gregory Maguire, the answer to this question is not "Umm, I'll just go and get you a doctor now, OK?" Instead, not-so-coincidentally, the answer is "Time, Place and Story," which happens to be the theme for The Gathering this year.
Greg kicked off this year's event with a very funny and entertaining lecture entitled "Backyard Babylon." In addition to bees and Dvorak, it also brought together elements from the work of each of this year's featured authors, Greg's own writing, autobiographical anecdotes, and numerous other seemingly disparate topics in a highly informative thesis. While defining his views about the relationships between time, place and story, Greg also provided fascinating insights into the genesis of his Wicked Years series.
Greg's lecture was the exclamation point on a delightful opening evening that started with a meet and greet on the Keystone College campus and continued on to a convivial dinner shared by authors, guests and staff. After dinner, brief welcomes and introductions were followed by the invocation, highlighted by a lovely Hindu dance performed by Sujata Nair Mulloth.
All in all, it was a fantastic start to a highly-anticipated weekend. I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!