The Archives

April 27 : The Miscarriage

We lost our first child on April 27. I was so young I barely understood how my body worked. I was still shy when my husband looked at me in the light. Eleven months earlier the old man doctor had noticed my innocence was still intact. I sat up on his exam table, grabbing at the corners of my paper gown, trying to cover myself while he smacked me on the shoulder and chuckled. "Good job," he said, "I don't see much of that anymore." "I'm getting married," I said. Then he tossed me a free pack of white pills as if they were a trophy. I stopped taking those pills in November. We were twenty-two and twenty-four. Earlier that spring I had bought a white cotton nightgown with lace around the sleeves, and years later, when it had turned ivory, my husband told me how beautiful I had been. We were both shy in the beginning, I guess. But that first April 27 I was sitting on a toilet trying not to scream. My arms were shaking and I couldn't make them stop. We were losing the baby.

Writing From Your Roots

[This is a post adapted from a session co-presented by Chris Yokel and Jonathan Rogers at Hutchmoot 2015. The post comes from Chris's portion of the talk] Scott Russell Sanders says in the preface of his book, Writing From The Center:

How can one live a meaningful life in a world that seems broken and scattered? That question has haunted me for as long as I can remember. Insofar as I have found an answer, it has to do with understanding my place in marriage, family, and community—my place on earth, and ultimately in Creation. To be centered, as I understand it, means to have a home territory, to be attached in a web of relationships with other people, to value common experience, and to recognize that one's life rises constantly from inward depths.
I want to build upon this idea, mainly by sharing a bit from my own journey toward being centered, my own wrestling with where I come from and how that has shaped and is shaping me as a person and creator. And finally I hope to share some perspective and lessons on what it means to write (or create) from your roots. These days, our culture appears more and more defined by a sense of rootlessness. More than ever, people are packing up and moving away from the places they’ve grown up in, and staying away. They are also moving from place to place within their own lifetimes, like American nomads. Some people, like New York Times reporter Michael Powell, would observe that this sense of wanderlust has always been part of the American character and spirit. Still, it can be observed that American character notwithstanding, we are much more mobile than our ancestors were.

Sad Stories Told for Laughs: Andrew Osenga

In my many conversations with artists, I have noticed that a disproportionate number of their anecdotes---and most of their best ones---involve public humiliation. "Sad Stories Told for Laughs" is an interview series in which I ask artists to share their best stories of mortification and humiliation for the edification of Rabbit Room readers. My first guest is Andrew Osenga. Andrew has been making music for a long time, with the Normals (named for his hometown of Normal, Illinois---go Ironmen and Lady Ironmen!), Caedmon's Call, and as a solo artist. He now has a nine-to-five job as a record executive in Nashville. Welcome, Andy Osenga, to "Sad Stories Told for Laughs." Glad to be here. Well, let’s get right to it. Have you ever experienced public humiliation? So many times. As in, are we counting junior high or just professional career?

The Local Show Returns

The Local Show is making its return on November 17th @ The Well Coffeehouse in Brentwood, Tennessee. And this time it's back for good---the show will run every first and third Tuesday evening from now until a giant meteor destroys the earth (or Brentwood). Check our events page here for the latest information on show line-ups. Get your tickets here---$10 in advance and $15 at the door ($5 at the door for Rabbit Room Members when you flash your card).

Martin and Marco Part Ten: When Beasts Attack

Check out part ten of Martin and Marco in the Webtoons challenge league. Each viewsharerate, and like is a vote for Martin and Marco to become a featured comic and supports further volumes of the Dragon Lord Saga. 10 Click here to read Martin and Marco in the Challenge League!

More Story Seeds, Ellen Picture Book, and House Show

I wrote a post this spring about little stories I write (two to three sentences long) that go along with my paintings. These story starters or story seeds are designed to get the imagination of the viewer going and let them catch a glimpse of what’s in my head. Here are a few more for you that I’ve done this year. sarah escapes the night The swirling clouds, iron-dark and heavy, reluctantly allowed her to pass. The basket creaked as Sarah leaned forward, peering into the pale light of dawn...

Desire and Simplicity: Talking Beasts, Van Gogh, Reliable Landmarks, and Walking Long Distances Alone: Part 2

[This is a two-part post taken from a session co-presented by Dave Bruno and Russ Ramsey at Hutchmoot 2015. The two posts come from Dave’s portion of the talk. Read part one here.] I would like to take some time to ask if simplicity can be a spiritual discipline we use to access this idea of “Sehnsucht” longing, this idea of desire. C. S. Lewis said this desire is “always a desire for something longer ago or further away or still ‘about to be.’” So I think it would be helpful for us to frame this part of our discussion in terms of a journey. If we are journeying toward this desire, is it possible the spiritual discipline of simplicity can help us find the way? Now, we all know that “not all who wander are lost.” Whether we are heading somewhere with a purpose or wandering somewhere without a particular aim, one way to determine if we are heading in the right direction is to look for reliable landmarks. Are you all familiar with cairns? Some people love them, some think cairns are a blight on the landscape. A cairn is basically a stack of rocks. Modern-day hikers sometimes build cairns along trails that are hard to follow. Some trails cover landscape that is unremarkable, it all looks similar––at least to the untrained eye. If you are hiking a trail and come across a pile of rocks, you know you are moving in the right direction. Well, whether or not you are a fan of disrupting the beauty of the landscape in the interest of personal safety, a cairn is an example of a reliable landmark. I want to talk about one of the most famous hikers to ever get lost.

Why Ghost Stories?

Why do ghost stories exist? Well, one might simply answer that they exist because people have had real encounters with the supernatural. But these are only encounters, and a personal experience can be kept to one’s self. Why do ghost stories exist? Why the need to communicate such strange tales to others? Let's step back from the question for a second and take another perspective on the ghost story. Perhaps ghost stories are, as Freud argued, merely dreams from the childhood of our race come back to us, rebelling against our materialism. Or perhaps they are metaphors for the internal battle of man vs. man, of the thoughts of the “establishment” vs. the “marginalized” who do not quite fit the system or threaten to destabilize it. Even in this case, ghost stories, as stories, are meant to deal with something out in the open, to externalize an experience that is internal.

Martin and Marco Part Nine: Who Ever Heard of a Talking Horse?

Check out part nine of Martin and Marco in the Webtoons challenge league. Each viewsharerate, and like is a vote for Martin and Marco to become a featured comic and supports further volumes of the Dragon Lord Saga! 9 Click here to read Martin and Marco in the Challenge League.

The Spiritual Quest of Jack Skellington

In 1982, while he was working as an animator for Disney, Tim Burton wrote a creepy little poem called “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” because of course that's something that Tim Burton would do. About ten years later, he began production on an animated film based on the storyline of this poem. In 1993, the stop motion masterpiece The Nightmare Before Christmas was released to the world. It tells the story of immortal skeleton king Jack Skellington and his failed quest to run Christmas for himself. Having just discovered it several years ago and quickly turning it into an October movie tradition, I've begun to ponder whether there is more to this spooky story than just jack-o-lanterns and monsters.

Caring for God’s Art

Three years ago I adopted a gorgeous and hopelessly neurotic Sheltie. The snap of a towel being folded sends her scooting for cover, plastic trash bags are her nemeses, and an errant golf cart blocking the sidewalk can cause the sunshine to shrivel in her eyes. Indeed, going outside at all is a traumatic daily test of her courage and moral fiber. (Not that I blame her; I couldn’t have a private moment while a garbage truck was watching either.)

Our relationship is founded on unwavering devotion and unsentimentally filled with saliva-covered squeaky balls, wet patches on my carpet, and unidentifiable smells. There is a simplicity about it that reaches deep down to the primal core of my human vocation. Sometimes I imagine that at the end of the day my most virtuous acts have been to fill up my dog’s food dish and give her a belly rub. Such moments remind me of the moment when the first couple first stood eye to eye with a tiger and praised its Maker. We sons of Adam and daughters of Eve may have many other callings in a fallen world, but this one still remains: to care for what God has made, what he loves, for which he has plans beyond our imagining.

The Poetry of Baseball: Finishing Well

[Editor's note: This post is taken from Carrie Givens' portion of the session "The Poetry of Baseball" from Hutchmoot 2015. The recording of this session and many others can be found in the Hutchmoot 2015 Audio Archive.] It's not a new idea that baseball is the sport that most echoes life. The long season, the ups and downs of the games, the rhythm of it all—the metaphor works on many levels. I was struck again by it earlier this year when I began reading Michael Chabon’s Summerland. At the beginning of the book one of the main characters, Ethan, an eleven-year-old boy, doesn’t want to be on the baseball team because they count his errors, and is complaining to his dad about it. He says, “They don’t even have errors in other sports. They have fouls. They have penalties. Those are things that players could get on purpose, you know. But in baseball they keep track of how many accidents you have.” He goes on, and eventually his father replies, “Errors…Well, they are part of life, Ethan…. Fouls and penalties, generally speaking, are not. That’s why baseball is more like life than other games. Sometimes I feel like that’s all I do in life, keep track of my errors.” I’ve been thinking about the idea of the rhythms of the game and the rhythms of life for a while now, and one aspect has risen to the surface: the importance of finishing well. You can’t be a fan of the Detroit Tigers in 2015 without understanding the importance of finishing well in the game of baseball. This is the team that for four years straight won their division, but couldn’t ever end the post season as the winners. It’s the team that has mastered the art of losing a lead after the seventh inning. It is a team that has been chock-filled with great hitters and great starting pitchers but can’t seem to figure out how to fill a bullpen with pitchers that won’t give up runs. This year, the wheels fell off earlier than usual and by halfway through the season the writing was on the wall: their inability to finish well was finally catching up to them. They finished at the bottom of their division.

Martin and Marco Part Eight: Marco Vs. Horse

Check out part eight of Martin and Marco in the Webtoons challenge league. Each viewsharerate, and like is a vote for Martin and Marco to become a featured comic and supports further volumes of the Dragon Lord Saga! 8 Click here to read Martin and Marco in the Challenge League.

Careful, There’s an Orc

If you were at Cardiff State's album release show at North Wind Manor a while back, you saw Flo Oakes and her daughter perform this live. It was one of the highlights of the night. Check out their stop-motion Lego version. Everything is awesome.

Now Available: Hutchmoot 2015 Audio Archive

The audio archive from Hutchmoot 2015 is now available in the Rabbit Room Store. This is a whopping 900mb file containing nearly 24 hours of audio, featuring 14 sessions and Walter Wangerin Jr.'s address. Note that some sessions utilize visual content which is not available with this package. This archive will be available for free to those who purchase a 2016 Rabbit Room Membership. 2016 Memberships will be available in late November or early December. Click here for the Hutchmoot 2015 Audio Archive. We've also dropped the price on the archives for 2013 and 2014, so if you've been waiting for the opportune moment, here it is.