We’re both excited and honored to announce that the special guest for Hutchmoot 2013 is author Leif Enger. Over the past decade, Enger’s two novels, Peace Like a River (discussed here in 2007), and So Brave, Young, and Handsome (discussed here in 2008) have found their ways into what many might consider the hallowed halls of American classics. They’re the kind of books whose voices settle in and stay with you like welcome friends inclined to linger. They’re the kind of books that you find yourself still talking about and recommending years after you first met them, the kind of books you pull off the shelf time and again to smell and smile over and reread. Good books, like good folks, are glad company, and we couldn’t be more pleased to have Leif Enger at the Moot this year.
My wife, Jennifer, and I sat down and watched the film Sunday night and I’m really looking forward to hearing your thoughts. I’m going to throw out a few things that jumped out at me and from there the floor will be open. Feel free to jump in and join the conversation. Let’s try to keep the discussion away from technical critique and aimed more toward an examination of story, character, and theme. Here we go . . .
Mark your calendars. Hutchmoot 2013 will convene on October 10-13. That’s a holiday weekend so we’re hopeful that travel plans will be simplified for return trips and everyone will be able to stick around for the closing session this year. The Hutchmoot website has been updated with preliminary schedules, dates, and (final) pricing. Look for registration to begin in early March.
Thanks to Nathan Willis and William Aughtry (makers of the “Rest Easy” video), here’s a couple of short videos from Hutchmoot 2012. I got a little teary-eyed the first time I watched them. Enjoy (and please share them with your friends).
And then there were was “The Epic.”
Tow’ring tall as titans old o’er lesser vessels wrought of clay, shaped by strength of learnéd hand, and long by kiln-fire glazed and made, this massive* stein may well inspire deeds of heroes fell and fair, songs of skald and bard alike, meter bold and rhythm right in e’en the poorest poet’s mind.
The Epic comes in two varieties: Dante (top) and Milton (bottom).
These and 4 other mugs styles are now available in the Rabbit Room store. Supplies are limited. Get them while they last.
One of the projects I was most excited about last year was The Molehill Vol.1. Putting it together was exciting and challenging and, in the end, hugely rewarding. I’m proud of it and I hope readers have enjoyed it.
We’re now beginning the process of putting together The Molehill Vol.2, and I thought it might be fun to collect some feedback that could potentially give us some guidance. So I’m turning to you: the readership. What did you like about Vol.1? What do you want to see more of in Vol.2? What do you want to see less of? If you didn’t buy Vol.1, why not? What would make you interested in Vol.2? Did anyone decipher the elvish and dwarvish quotes? Did anyone wonder where the Governor of Ohio’s leg lived?
The floor is open. Let us know what you think.
I’ve had a long-time fascination with and love for stand-up comedy. It’s every bit as much an artform as songwriting, painting, or swordsmithing. In this short video, Jerry Seinfeld (one of the great ones), pulls the curtain back and shows us a little of how the machine works. (If you enjoy the behind-the-scenes of comedy, you might also enjoy the 2002 documentary Comedian, which follows Jerry on his first stand-up tour after leaving TV.)
Rabbit Room Movie Night? Yep. Find time to sit down and watch (or re-watch) 1984′s Best Picture-winner, Amadeus. Then on February 19th drop by the Rabbit Room to join in the discussion. Don’t forget popcorn, and don’t miss the chance to come to Nashville and see Blackbird Theater’s live performance of the stageplay on March 9th. (Tickets available here.)
I love animation. Here’s one good Oscar-nominated reason why, courtesy of Disney studios.
We’ve secured tickets for opening weekend on March 9th in Nashville and are making them available in the Rabbit Room store at a discount. Pick up yours early; we don’t expect them to last. We’ve also got some fun stuff planned between now and opening weekend that we hope will generate some good discussion, and there will be a special Q&A with the cast and crew after the show.
Great music, great storytelling, great theater. We’ll see you there.
I go to the movies for a lot of reasons. I love adventure (John Carter, The Hobbit, The Avengers). I love watching another person’s imagination work its way out in light and color (Life of Pi). I love the way that movies use sprawling images and wild tales to wrestle with intimate, personal questions (Tree of Life), and eternal mysteries—even if they don’t necessarily succeed (Prometheus). But if I had to narrow my love of movies (or stories in general) down to a single defining factor, I think I could make a good case for “moral complexity worked out to an honest end.”
What the heck does that mean, Pete?
We hope you all have a great Christmas.Thank you to everyone that signed up to be a part of the 2012 Rabbit Room gift exchange. Once you’re done tearing open presents, laughing with family, and eating way too much pecan pie, we’d love for you to drop by here and say thanks to your Rabbit Room Santa. Some stayed anonymous, some spilt the beans, no matter. Feel free to share as much or as little as you like. I’ve already seen some of the pictures on Facebook and I hope we’ll see a few more (note that you can post images in the comments with basic tags—if you know how to do that). I hope everyone had fun. Merry Christmas.
Today was a hard day. Ben Shive’s “A Last Time for Everything,” kept running through my head as I watched the news updates from Connecticut. In Ben’s book, The Cymbal Crashing Clouds, he tells the story behind the song and I think it’s especially appropriate today. I’ve excerpted it below in images to maintain the unique formatting of the book.
“A Last Time for Everything”
by Ben Shive
If you were at Hutchmoot you may have noticed an odd gray book hiding on the merch table. It was a strange little thing filled with bizarre portraits and sometimes funny, sometimes poetic, sometimes inscrutable captions. It’s a book that’s almost impossible to pick up and not be drawn in by. I’ve got one lying here on my desk. It’s been here for a couple of months now and almost every day I pick it up and thumb through it utterly mesmerized (even though I’ve read it in its entirety at least a dozen times).
The sign up window is now closed. Thanks to all the folks who chose to participate! If you sent us your name and address prior to 10:30am (cst) today, then you’re in. We’ll get emails sent back out to everyone with the name and address of the person to buy for in the next few days.
One of my favorite things about the Rabbit Room is the sense of community that’s grown up among the readership. If you stop and think about it, it’s genuinely amazing just how many of the people who read and comment here know one another. And not just on the internet. Thanks to Hutchmoot, hundreds of you have met in real life and formed face-to-face relationships. That’s something that I think very few “blogs” can boast of.
So this Christmas season I’m hoping to start something that will become a Rabbit Room tradition. We want to invite you to exchange gifts. Think of it as our version of a “Secret Santa” program (just like the ladies at church have every year).
This how it’ll work:
1. If you choose to participate, email your name and shipping address to email@example.com (put “Community Christmas 2012″ in the subject line). Please do not post any personal information here on the website; we want this to remain secure for everyone involved. By electing to participate you agree to allow us to send your name and shipping address to one randomly selected person (use a P.O. Box or business address if you don’t want to give out your home address). Note: Due to shipping costs, we have to confine this to U.S. addresses only.
2. We’ll randomly select names and email your name and shipping address to one other person who has elected to participate. This person (“Secret Santa”) will buy you a gift and ship it directly to you.
3. Everyone who participates will receive a randomly selected name and address. Buy a gift for the person whose name you are assigned and send it to them. Keep your own identity secret (if you wish). If you elect to participate, you agree to spend at least $20 on the gift you buy (shipping included). You’re welcome to spend more, of course, or to buy multiple gifts (if you wish).
And that’s it. This isn’t a ploy to get people to shop in the Rabbit Room store. You’re free to buy your gift wherever you like (or even make one—so long as you’d value it at about $20). But remember, this is about giving, not getting. We hope everyone who participates will do so in good faith and no one will be left out. But we’re on the honor system. If your “Secret Santa” drops the ball, don’t take it personally. We’re counting on each of you to make it work and make it fun. Surprise someone. Send something completely unexpected. Make someone’s day. Make someone smile. Be generous. Have a merry Christmas.
If anyone has any questions, post them in the comments and I’ll address them as quickly as possible.
We’ll take sign-ups until December 5th, and then we’ll assign names and let the fun begin.
Trevin Wax (is it just me or does that sound like a Jedi name), with The Gospel Coalition, recently put up a great interview with Jonathan Rogers in which they discuss O’Connor’s work and Jonathan’s new book, The Terrible Speed of Mercy. Great reading. Here’s an exerpt:
Though O’Connor was writing from a distinctly Christian worldview, religious readers didn’t seem to understand her any better than the literary elite, and they liked her less. She was misunderstood because she was writing into a culture that expected Christian truth to be nice and safe and tidy, and she refused to accommodate those expectations. The Jesus of O’Connor’s fiction is a “wild ragged figure,” not the sort of fellow you would invite to Sunday dinner unless you were ready to get your table tipped over.
I’m reluctant to use the term “prophetic” to describe O’Connor’s work, but I will say that her fiction is uncomfortable and offensive in some of the ways that the Old Testament prophets’ words were uncomfortable and offensive to their original audience. For that matter, Jesus’s parables are calculated to offend and are easily misunderstood.