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A European perspective

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  • tim@xxxxxxxxxx.xxxxxx.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx)
    Hi Folks, It s been good to hear views on the Conclave, mainly from America, so here s my perspective from England. We (Di and myself) have never been to an
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 24, 1999
      Hi Folks,

      It's been good to hear views on the Conclave, mainly from America, so
      here's my perspective from England.

      We (Di and myself) have never been to an MBS Conclave before, so we
      didn't know what to expect. (We did go to Glasgow back in 1990, but only
      for the bookfair.)

      The organisation was very good - Ralph looked after us well and was a
      genial, easy-going host. Everyone was charmed, and I didn't hear a single
      word against him. The hotel was good, food excellent, transport efficient.
      We only went on a couple of the trips, as we were there for just 3 days,
      but one was to Mainz for the Gutenberg Museum. What a great opportunity!
      - and one I've personally waited for for ages. One of the birthplaces of
      books, and full of astounding treasures. It was impressive to see
      Gutenberg's press produce a page of his Bible, and the many superlative
      old books on display were made even better by the official guide
      (speaking English) explaining their significance in the history of books
      and printing.

      The Americans have been commenting on this list on how good it was to meet
      the European members, but haven't noticed something important - obviously
      it was good for us to meet our American fellows in return, but it was
      practically the first opportunity most of us Europeans have had to meet
      each other. With Conclaves in the USA, only a minority (I presume) of
      European members will manage to attend, and so we don't get to know each
      other at all. With this in mind, there was some talk of forming a European
      chapter of the MBS, and that would certainly help redress the balance.

      I was disappointed not to meet more American members - like Donn, I am
      familiar with many names that I'd love to put faces to and share a
      conversation with. I understand that it's expensive and perhaps daunting
      to travel abroad for a Conclave, but the same goes for us in Europe. I've
      long wanted to attend a US Conclave, but really haven't been sure that we
      could justify the cost, and didn't have a clue what it would be like to
      spend time with this particular group of strangers with familiar names. So
      it was crucial for us to be able to meet up somewhere a little nearer - we
      Britons still travelled to a foreign country, though, even if it wasn't
      quite so distant. Perhaps the language difference was offputting for
      Americans, to go to Germany. But the same goes for us; and for all the
      Europeans in non-English speaking countries it is awkward to visit USA,
      Britain, or each other's countries. Some speak more than one language, but
      many don't.

      I do think, nevertheless, that it's important for us all to make an effort
      to communicate, to travel and share our presence, insights, books etc. It
      strikes me that we could have formed a European chapter before, but there
      wasn't the impetus. And would many of us have joined or participated, with
      just a small number? The extra interest generated by having some American
      members attend a full Conclave helped draw everyone together, and perhaps
      this will have helped kick-start some further activity. The more activity
      in Europe, the more new people here will get involved, the more books will
      be produced and collected, and the more reason there will be for
      non-Europeans to come and visit (with more people to host European
      Conclaves, or at least Chapter gatherings). It benefits everyone in the
      end, so I congratulate whoever participated in the perhaps
      adventurous decision to hold the Conclave in Europe, but especially to
      Ralph for volunteering in the first place!


      Tim Sheppard tim@...-uk.net
      Lilliput Press - Publisher of fine books in miniature
      England http://www.lilliput.co.uk
      The Storytelling FAQ is hosted here
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