By Gerard Manley Hopkins
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
I just stumbled on this poem last night and I couldn’t stop thinking about it all day. This collection of Hopkins’s poems is on my night stand, so I looked it up again as soon as I got into bed. I read it again just now, then forced it on Jamie (a professed poetry hater, unless that poem is about her, by me). She said, when I finished, “What–in–the–world was all that about?”
Folks, this is going to be cool. Blackbird Theater company here in Nashville is reviving one of the Rabbit Room’s favorite author’s only plays, and we get to be a small part of it. The guys behind Blackbird Theater are talented, intelligent, and passionate about telling stories this way–I know because I’ve attended each of their productions so far and have come away each time enriched and grateful. (I also felt like my brain was going to split open. In a good way.)
So we’re partnering with Blackbird to offer you Rabbit Roomers a special night. On Saturday, August 13, at 7:30 p.m., at Shamblin Theater on Lipscomb University campus, we’re going, by Jove. Not only will we get discount tickets, we’ll have a block of seats reserved. Then, if you’re up for it, we’ll convene somewhere afterward to talk about Chesterton, Magic, and cheese. (Pipes are optional.) It should be a great night.
In case you’re wondering who the heck G.K. Chesterton is, the following piece by Wes Driver, the director of the play, will acquaint you with the jolly Englishman whose fierce wit, intelligence, and faith planted some of the seeds that blossomed into C.S. Lewis’s conversion to Christianity.
I’m a fan of the Harry Potter books. There. I said it. Whenever I visit a bookstore I can’t resist a walk through the Young Readers section, where my heart flutters at cover illustrations of dragons and detectives and ghosts and kids dashing across fantastic landscapes. I’ve always loved those stories, and many times I take the books from the shelves and, with chills running up and down my arms, thumb through them. Sometimes I even smell them. (There. I said that, too.)
Years ago, on one of my trips through the kids’ section I noticed a book called Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. It looked cool, and the jacket indicated that it had won a few awards. A year or so later I saw the second book, this one on display. By the time I spotted Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on the shelves the buzz was loud enough that I decided to buy the first book. I read it, and although it had some great moments, I wasn’t hooked. But at the time I was writing On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness and was learning so much so quickly about writing, I already knew North! Or Be Eaten would be a better book. I desperately hoped my readers would stick with me through my first faltering attempt at fiction because I had a much bigger story to tell.
[Update: Chapter Seven is now available for download. Check your app.]
The Rabbit Room has always been about stories. More than that, it’s about what’s behind the stories. That great and loving Mystery moves behind the veil and speaks every once in a while through artists, poets, and starry-eyed priests.
Just in time for Father’s Day, the latest episode of the Rabbit Room podcast is up, in which A.S. “Pete” Peterson talks about gladiators, George of the Bush, and his dad. Click here to listen.
First of all, I spent the last four hours or so reading all your reviews, and I’ve cried about four times. That’s partly because I’m a crybaby, and partly because I prayed almost every day of the writing of The Monster in the Hollows that the book would connect with you, the Dear Readers. What a joy it is to see that, in at least your cases, it did.
Second of all, it was HARD to choose a winner. There were so many well-written and thoughtful posts to read, and even after I narrowed it down to five reviews it wasn’t easy. At the bottom of this post you’ll find a list of all the blogs, and I encourage you to visit them when you get a chance. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for telling your friends and relations about these books.
I’m honored to call Fernando Ortega my friend. He has one of the best voices on the planet, he’s wise (and he’d probably prove my point by claiming he isn’t), and he’s one of the funniest people I know. Fernando graciously let me open for him on a tour about eleven years ago, and night after night I marveled at his ability to connect with the audience, at his musicianship, and at the way he somehow managed to make the hymns I grew up singing sound new again.
He lives in New Mexico, which means I hardly ever see him anymore—a fact which, tonight, grieves me a little. So stumbling on this video today was a nice surprise. If you’ve never bought a Fernando Ortega album, I suggest In the Shadow of Your Wings. It’s a great representation of what makes him so good. I’ve probably listened to it on a hundred Sundays, and I’m still moved by his ability to deliver a lyric like nobody’s business. I thank God he’s still making music, and I can’t wait to hang with him again. His new album Come Down, O Love Divine releases July 11, and I’ll be the first in line.
(UPDATE: Since some of you guys haven’t gotten the book yet, we’ve decided to extend the date to June 8. Thanks for all the kind words so far! I’m so glad to hear you’ve enjoyed the story. Whew!)
This is the official release week for The Monster in the Hollows, so we’re celebrating by having a […]
A couple of weeks ago we invited twenty folks to the Hutch on a Sunday afternoon for free popcorn, free drinks, and free Eric Peters music. The result is the first of a series of Rabbit Room (Live) shows. Keep an eye on @TheRabbitRoom (Twitter) to catch the next show.
everal years ago my web store, the homespun operation which was to become the Rabbit Room, was run in my luxurious garage. Right next to the garbage can, over by the hot water heater, next to the rakes and the bikes and the folding chairs, I had a little workbench set up with a […]
Welcome, friends, to the new Rabbit Room.
Some of you may remember a post from a zillion years ago called “The Suggestion Box,” where I asked you to tell me what you were looking for in an upgrade. You answered diligently, I put the suggestions into categories, and . . . a zillion years went quietly […]
I lie in bed these sweet few days
When the windows yet are open
And the weather yet is fine,
And love to hear the dead of night
Announce its living presence
With hoot and croak and creeping vine.
It’s 2:15 a.m.
Tomorrow morning I’m getting on a plane and flying to Sweden, the land of my forefathers, with Ben Shive and Andy Gullahorn. This will be our sixth (seventh?) tour in Sweden, where the coffee is black, the ice cream is plentiful, the engineering is sleek and tasteful, the breakfasts are delicious, and the […]
Sweden Promo 2011 from The Rabbit Room on Vimeo.