This year has been flying so fast it seems every time I turn my head another month slips by. How can it already be October?
I’ve been so busy of late, both at home and abroad. In September I had the joy of a much-anticipated houseguest, and later that week she was able to journey with Philip and me up to Nashville to attend The Rabbit Room’s annual Hutchmoot gathering. (And if you’re wondering what the heck a Hutchmoot is, well, all I can say is it’s a jamboree of Feasting and Story and Song, heavily influenced by the legacy of the Inklings and with a fringe element of pipe smokery. Basically, a four day meeting comprised of people who, as L.M. Montgomery would say, have not forgotten the way to fairyland.) I don’t think we drew breath from the moment I picked Sarah up at the airport—the time was so precious and the topics we had to discuss were so many and varied—that is, not until we actually got in the car to drive up to Tennessee. Poor Philip had to ride for four hours in total silence as Sarah and I pored over books and stared thoughtfully out the window and jotted notes in last minute preparation for the talk we were giving together the next day. But aren’t those the best kinds of friends, the ones with whom you can be easily as quiet as loquacious?
I’m working hard to get more books listed in The Shop in the coming days. I have some lovely new (old) titles that I’m really excited about. But in the meantime, I thought I’d give you just a little taste of what I’ve been up to…
First of all, I am delighted to announce that The Rabbit Room has released its first ever anthological journal, The Molehill, a collection of original works by the contributors to this remarkable way-beyond-merely-online community. (There are also pieces by the venerable Walt Wangerin, Jr. and the dearly-loved and esteemed Sally Lloyd-Jones—facts which nearly paralyzed me with terror at the outset of crafting my own short story contribution.) As editor and general book art genius, A.S. “Pete” Peterson has done a simply breathtaking job with this book—I knew it was going to be beautiful, but I was blown away when he put it in my hands at Hutchmoot last month. In his preface, he calls it a “family photo”,
“a snapshot of a group of people and where they are at this moment in time, in their writing, in their lives, in their spiritual journeys, in their understanding of stories and songs and the world around them.”
Well, if that’s the case, I couldn’t be happier to be a part of this family, and to be squinting at the camera between Andrew Peterson and Sarah Clarkson, two of my favorite people in the whole world. (And again, on page 163, shouldering up to Evie Coates, pro bon vivant and veritable wizardress of the kitchen realms—can you tell I love these people?)
The Molehill is available in The Rabbit Room store, and you can read Pete’s preface in its entirely here. Trust me, this book is a gem, over two hundred pages bursting with essay and story and poetry and pictures—and recipes! And, as Philip pointed out, the best thing about it might just be that enticing little “vol. 1” on the cover. Here’s to The Molehill, and many more to come!
In other news, I have been writing like mad on my novel. That’s all I’m going to say about that, as I’ve placed myself under a dictum of silence till the thing is done. (It’s so much easier to talk about writing than to, you know, actually write.) I’m also mortally afraid of scaring away the muse by even pretending I’m sure what she’s up to; as it is, I’ve been tempting her to stick around with every treat and morsel I can think of. I’ve made a steep challenge for myself, a deadline for this draft, and it’s going to take a sustained and determined effort to pull it off.
Here’s a snapshot of my reading and research materials. Just the sight of all those titles spelling out the way my thoughts and heart are turning towards my novel of late are enough to drive me back to my desk.
And, finally, in a last heartless tease, I’m going to leave you with an image that will give you an inkling of one more direction in which my ambitions are bent these days. Formal announcement forthcoming, but things are definitely beginning to percolate around here…