There is a moment in Chapter 4 of The Bark of the Bog Owl that makes me cringe a little bit. Aidan and Dobro have gotten mixed up with a panther, which “bared its fangs and wailed a deep rumbling moan that became a piercing scream.” It’s not a bad description, but it’s not what I wrote. The panther wasn’t supposed to wail. Panthers waul. It’s the perfect verb for what panthers do. But a well-meaning editor at B&H publishing group changed waul to wail (just as my computer’s auto-correct did just now), and I didn’t notice until after the book was published. So since 2004 that poor panther has been going against his own nature, wailing instead of wauling for nine years.
I have good news for the panther. The rights to the Wilderking Trilogy recently reverted to me after a period in which the books were effectively (though not technically) out of print. The Bark of the Bog Owl, The Secret of the Swamp King, and The Way of the Wilderking are coming back with a new publisher: Rabbit Room Press. And I have been able to fix some of the little things that have been bothering me about the published versions. The new and improved Kindle versions of the three books are already available, in fact. And in the Rabbit Room edition the panther wauls (though–spoiler alert–he still doesn’t survive Chapter 4).
I am thankful for B&H’s support of the Wilderking in years past; I long ago recovered from the shock of having a B&H salesman suggest that I make Dobro Turtlebane a girl (girls read far more than boys, he reasoned, and they needed a character to relate to). Still, bringing Aidan and Dobro and them to the Rabbit Room Press feels like a kind of homecoming. And Pete Peterson has never once suggested that Dobro should be a girl.
For an unspecified (but limited) time, the Kindle version of The Bark of the Bog Owl is only 99 cents. If you aren’t familiar with the Wilderking Trilogy, this is an easy way to introduce yourself. If you want to pick up The Secret of the Swamp King and The Way of the Wilderking while you’re at it, that will be all right too.
The plan is to have paperback versions of all three books by the end of the summer; we’ll soon be back in touch with ways you can help make that happen. Meanwhile, if you’re a Kindle reader, you might check out the e-books. Here are those links again:
[In the summer of 2007, I launched a music site called Stereo Subversion for the sole purpose of helping to promote and explore what I termed "Meaningful Music." The goal was to highlight artists crafting substantive content and/or imaginative concepts. Six years later, the same is true. Here's a recent interview that illustrates just that.]
For those who tried to read between the lines on Hem’s latest album, Departure and Farewell, you likely hit the nail on the head. Over the last decade-plus, the Brooklyn-based band has released several beautiful folk albums to great acclaim. But everything has a life cycle, and Hem nearly completed their own.
Death, it seems, was a necessary consideration to bring new life, and Departure and Farewell is a goodbye in name only. Hem’s Gary Maurer and Dan Messe recently sat down with Stereo Subversion to discuss the latest album and how they nearly walked away from it all.
SSv: It’s been a long time between records, what has happened in that time?
Dan: Well, I think what happened was, we were thinking Hem had run its course after Twelfth Night(2009’s record of instrumental accompaniment to a Shakespearean production) and were just interested in wrapping things up in a big bow. And so we decided to call the recordDeparture and Farewell. Really making something that was a good summation of our career. And in the course of making this “ending,” I actually started using pills, I actually got addicted to them. And the band completely exploded. I basically poisoned the entire well where we couldn’t even finish the final record. We were just going to walk away at one point. That’s true right Gary?
Gary: Yes, clearly for several months [the record] was not going to get done.
Dan: And it languished like that until I hit bottom and asked for help, then the band started to heal. And all of the sudden there was a rebirth, not just in terms of my own health but also in terms of the love we have for each other and the love we have for the music we make together and how grateful we are. It started out as a swan song and became a rebirth.
SSv: Is it strange or painful to make this a part of the new record’s story, or are you comfortable talking about it?
Dan: I’m not comfortable talking about it at all, but it’s such a part of the album. We write songs that are not confessional but they are autobiographical. So we tend to write in metaphor about experiences that we go through in our life. We could have taken this part out and just been vague about it: ‘We had troubles and we got over it.’[Laughs]
Gary: It would have been easy to make up a whole other story because there actually have been a lot of other changes since (2006’s) Funnel Cloud. We could have just pretended, like Dan said.
Dan: I think in the spirit of this second chance, it really is a miracle, and I wanted to honor that. And also, you are able to recover—or find recovery at all—when you are at a point when you’re completely hopeless and lost everything. And you want to share the story so that someone else might hear it and find their own way back. You feel responsible for other people going through it. So we just decided, as a band, it would be ok to talk about.
You can read the rest of the interview over at Stereo Subversion.Tweet
At Hutchmoot 2012 Andrew Peterson and Travis Prinzi led a session titled “Tales of the Fall.” Here in part two, Andrew discusses the ways in which sadness plays an important part in our literature and our lives.
Note: If you’re running behind schedule on your reading, no worries. Feel free to comment on prior posts as you catch up. There’s no reason the conversation can’t continue!
Welcome to Week 5—“The Fiery Siringo”—In which we witness a showdown.
“And so it came down to a farmhouse. As it so often does.”
Siringo and Becket have a complicated relationship. They are simultaneously archenemies and closely-tied traveling companions.
1) In what other stories is there an antagonist who reminds you of Siringo? A protagonist who reminds you of Becket? Archenemies with similar dynamics?
After exposing Becket’s lack of attention to detail when they encountered the boy (whose father had promised to take him to the ocean) in Ingersoll, Siringo chides, “Well, heavens, Becket! No wonder your medicine’s all dried up.”—p.166
And then in the following paragraph, Becket proceeds to describe in great detail the plants, homes, and people he encounters in the town.
2) What do you think Enger was trying to achieve with the juxtaposition of Siringo’s comment and Becket’s astute observations?
“That’s the failure of most people,” he declared. “They don’t want the bad news. Everything’s got to be good news! So they’ll subscribe to the Proverbs, which feel nice and hopeful, and ignore Ecclesiastes, where old Sol is wiser than ever and has finally figured out what all those instructions of his are actually worth.” Siringo—p.166
“All the same,” I ventured, “since we haven’t a choice but can only make the best of things as given, I would rather live among people who try to uphold the Proverbs.” Becket—P. 177
3) What do you make of Siringo’s take on Ecclesiastes? Do you think it’s accurate?
4) How do these two viewpoints set up an important dichotomy between Siringo and Becket? Do you see similarities between the two men?
“Most men are hero and devil. All men.”—p.190
5) Where do you see both hero and devil in Siringo, Becket, Glendon, and Hood? Can you think of a believable story in which this principle isn’t accurate?
“Twenty people are enough to make a legend.”—p.210
6) Where in the book does the presence (or absence) of a crowd become relevant? What other factors contribute to making a legend?
Where did the title “So Brave, Young, and Handsome” come from?
This is the One Minute Review of The Great Gatsby. Baz Luhrmann brings his unique sensibility to one of the great American novels. Does he bring Gatsby to life, or suck the life right out of it? After you’ve checked out this review, got to www.OneMinuteReview.com for reviews of Iron Man 3, Mud, and much more.Tweet
Jellybean Highfive stood in front of the back of a room, his back to the front of the wall. Directionally near to him sat a youth pastor on a stool.
“It’s going to be epic,” the youth pastor said, raising his eyebrows, which were thin and trimmed and raised.
“Really?” Jellybean asked interrogatively.
“Fo’ sho’ bro,” he said, grinning sideways and scrunching up his eyes beneath a wide-brimmed hat featuring a baseball logo of a baseball team called the Yankees.Tweet
I went to the doctor yesterday for the first time in years. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been sick; it means I’m the kind of stubborn fool who doesn’t like to take an ibuprofen for a headache, the kind of crank who would rather walk around squinting and snappy than to take the blasted aspirin. I just don’t like medicine. I prefer sweating it out, however inconvenient that is for the people around me. So after ten days of coughing and sniffling and whining I finally decided it must be a sinus infection. I have a show in a few days, and I can’t afford to be sick. So I bravely did what any man in my shoes would do: I asked my wife what to do. She told me which doctor to visit and I drove to the offices with a steely resolve. The nurse behind the sliding glass window handed me the clipboard with the dreaded New Patient Paperwork, and then the thing happened that made me want to write this.
The questions began. “Do you have any allergies?” “Do you drink caffeine?” “Do you use tobacco?” “If so, how often?” “Do you exercise regularly?” “Is there a history of heart disease in your family?” “Have you had any surgeries?
You can now listen to Rabbit Room artists and podcasts every waking hour of your day—assuming you have a good internet connection. Rabbit Room Radio is available through the player below, through iTunes (look in the “Religious” category), or through any internet radio player. Sunday morning programming coming soon, as well as Saturday morning kids’ music. Let us know what you think.
In the Store
- Discussion Week 5: “The Fiery Siringo” (24)
- Loren Warnemuende: Thanks for the link to the song, Julie. I love the old photos with it–they really help give a picture of the time period...
- Julie Silander: Lorilie – Yes! That’s it. For your listening pleasure: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v =7a_PlG3dtl8 A bit of trivia...
- Loren Warnemuende: Such good discussion! Really interesting to read through, and helpful for me to sort out my thoughts some more. I particularly...
- The Rabbit Room Is Getting a Little Swampier (12)
- Ivan Mesa: Wonderful news!
- Loren Warnemuende: Oh, hurray! We came upon your work only after The Charlatan’s Boy, and haven’t been able to read the Wilderking...
- Jess: YES!
Singer, Songwriter, Author
Singer, songwriter, musician
Pastor, Film Critic