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. [audio:Episode41.mp3]
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.
At Hutchmoot 2012 Andrew Peterson and Travis Prinzi led a session titled "Tales of the Fall." Here in part one, Travis discusses the ways in which our fallen world is reflected in the literature we read. [audio:Episode40-1.mp3]
[This is a short piece I wrote for Story Warren that may resonate with Rabbit Roomers as well. --S.D. Smith] ----- ----- ----- “Wonder is involuntary praise.” Edward Young said that and I’m glad he did. What are we doing to facilitate wonder in our families? C.S. Lewis said we need an enchantment to set us free from the bondage of worldliness. How are we working for our children’s liberty? If it is only in books and art and literature, then we are only making them more interesting slaves. As Lewis says, the true thing comes through the books, or the art. The art is not the thing. Beauty will not save the world, really. I believe we fail our kids insofar as we perpetuate in their lives the mirage of Godless Delight. We fail them if we convince them, by the forms of our lives or by our words (or both), that the basic reality of the world excludes God. The sad reality is that this is an assumption that flavors much of the stories and art we receive and which shape our spiritual formation. I confess I sometimes live like this.
At Hutchmoot 2012 we invited Greg Greene and Wes driver, the creative team behind Nashville's Blackbird Theater Company, as well as Broadway actor Stephen Trafton, who has appeared in shows such as Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera, to discuss the many ways in which faith and theater interact to provide a deep and meaningful experience. [audio:Episode38-1.mp3]
When Jarrett J. Krosoczka was a kid, he didn’t play sports, but he loved art. He paints the funny and touching story of a little boy who pursued a simple passion: to draw and write stories. Watch the video. It's well worth your time.
There was a bad storm rolling, so we piled in the basement to wait it out. As far as I can remember, I was five, which means it was probably the spring of 1977.Your grandparents have always been fond of simple, self-driven entertainment. They respected me enough to believe I could find something worthwhile to do in an hour alone, so they handed me a pencil and seven pieces of pink paper. The pages were ripped from a carbon copy stack, fronts scribbled with charts and numbers, backs blank with potential. Mom showed me how to fold them in half and staple the middle to make a binding. I sat on the cool concrete floor and began to mark out chubby new sentences. “Once there was a wolf. He did not eat girls. He ate wolf food.”
[Editor's note: We're really excited about having Jeffrey Overstreet as one of our guest speakers at Hutchmoot 2013. Jeffrey has long been one of my favorite film critics and his book Through a Screen Darkly is a must read for anyone who loves movies---expect to see it on the Hutchmoot reading list. Jeffrey's blog, Looking Closer (hosted at Patheos.com), is always insightful and the following post is a perfect example of why I enjoy it so much. He was kind enough to allow us to repost it here on the Rabbit Room. Click here to view the original post at Looking Closer.]
This article on “Christian fantasy” by novelist Lars Walker confesses something that may surprise his readers:
I don’t read much fantasy, and I read almost no Christian fantasy. I’ve been burned too many times. You buy a book, hoping to experience over again the joys great fantasy can provide (for me, the Mines of Moria, the Ride of the Rohirrim, and the resurrection of Aslan provided the greatest moments of joy I’ve ever experienced in literature), and what do you get? Wannabees. Wannabee Tolkiens, wannabee Lewises, wannabee (christened) George R. R. Martins.While I might have named different storytelling moments---scenes from Watership Down, The Tale of Despereaux, Winter’s Tale, along with some from The Fellowship of the Ring---I found myself nodding in agreement. But then I came upon this surprising paragraph:
Who’s writing good Christian fantasy today? . . . Walter Wangerin Jr. wrote one of the best fantasies of any kind I’ve ever read, The Book of the Dun Cow, an amazing animal story that I promise will break your heart and put it together again. Stephen Lawhead is an excellent writer who has never (in my opinion) soared to the heights he’s capable of. Jeffrey Overstreet may be the best.Wow. I’m honored and grateful and inspired to get back to work on my new novel. I’m grateful that Walker appreciates these books so much. Walker’s a formidable storyteller himself. His novel Wolf Time is on my nightstand right now. (I tend to read a dozen books at a time, little by little, over many months, and this is the only fantasy novel currently in the mix.) So, to be highlighted by him is a huge encouragement, and it sends me toward a weekend of writing with new enthusiasm and confidence. However---friends, family, and those who have been reading my blog for a while probably know what I’m about to say---for the sake of preventing misunderstanding, I am duty-bound to offer a contrary opinion. I know, it feels kind of self-defeating to disagree when somebody says something complimentary about my work, especially when that somebody is more experienced and more accomplished. But here I go anyway . . . I don’t write “Christian fantasy.” I write fantasy.
I’m grateful to be able to announce the official "Nothing Is Wasted" music video! Several weeks ago, I wrote a piece about how “Nothing Is Wasted” came to be chosen as the next single and why a new mix was made for radio.(You can read that here.) Once it was decided what the next single would be, our talk turned to what kind of concept would shape the video to accompany it. We decided to gather the team who brought “Remind Me Who I Am” to life: Doug McKelvey and Darren Thomas as well as Jonathan Richter, whose art I’ve admired for years (check out Doug and Jonathan’s remarkable collaboration, “Subjects With Objects”---a book of Jonathan’s paintings and Doug’s interpretations). The idea was to create a miniature world with scenes of brokenness and loss that I would sing over as an outside observer. As we talked about what kinds of symbols to use in our wasteland, we hoped to strike the balance of images that were not too obvious or heavy handed but that still had emotional resonance. We brainstormed a list of visual elements we hoped would gently evoke loss and regret.
On April Fools’ Day my grandmother and her sisters packed their lunch pails like any other school day. Their mother walked them to the dirt road and kissed them goodbye, but instead of turning left to walk toward school, the girls turned right toward the train tracks. They walked up the tracks a piece until they got to a little marshy pond, a favorite spot of theirs. They lay beside the pond in their school dresses and watched the clouds drift by and giggled at the thought of their classmates sitting at their desks that bright spring morning. They pulled out their lunches and ate them. It was only nine in the morning, but they felt like eating, and it was April Fools’ Day, and who was going to stop them? They caught some bugs and picked some wildflowers and got mud on their dresses, and then decided to catch the last half of the school day. So they walked back down the train tracks and up the dirt road toward the school. When they passed the house, their mother waved at them from the porch. When they got to school the teacher said, “Where have you girls been?” “At the marshy pond,” they said, “beside the railroad tracks.” “And why were you at the marshy pond?” the teacher asked. “It’s April Fools’ Day.” The teacher made the girls stay in from recess for a couple of weeks–a punishment they willingly accepted. From what I understand, this happened more than once. Apparently it was sort of a Dowdy family tradition, to act the fool on April Fools’ Day, and to receive the punishment for that foolishness without complaint or rancor. I love that picture of my great-grandmother waving to the little truants as they pass back by. Having given them room to try out a little harmless foolishness, she waves them on toward its logical outcome, not intervening on either end, but rather letting her daughters experience the truth that wisdom and foolishness are a matter of choice, and that choices have consequences.