A Thing Resounds When It Rings True

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The best moments in reading are when you come across something—a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things—which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.

This is a line delivered by Hector, a character from The History Boys, a movie I viewed this week. Despite enjoying this film myself, I don’t particularly recommend it. In fact, that’s not the purpose of this post. But as we peek inside the door—you, me, and all of us—in this emerging community called The Rabbit Room, these words seem to resonat with vigor, almost as if they had been framed and matted on the front door. They are words that seem particularly relevant in the context of what Andrew Peterson has in mind for this place.

far-country.jpgThe History Boys is reminiscent of Dead Poets Society, in at least one sense in that the mentors in both films encourage their students to stretch and consider meaning beyond conventional wisdom. The above line was lifted from dialogue between Hector and a troubled student. And similar to the line from Sideways, when Paul Giamatti’s Miles Raymond fluently details distinguishing characteristics inherent in Pinot, the words are as much auto-biographical as they are instructional. In both movies, while the characters offer instruction and council, they also passionately communicate their own experience as informed by the deep recesses of their respective hearts.

As I considered some thoughts from The Far Country, shortly after it was released, I remember being astounded by a line which elegantly reinforce the words that Hector uttered in The History Boys.

Andrew Peterson/Pierce Pettis from the song More:

A thing resounds when it rings true

Ringing all the bells inside of you

Like a golden sky on a summer eve

Your heart is tugging at your sleeve

And you cannot say why

There must be more

Whether dead or alive, when the work of an author or artist communicates that which we intuitively know to be true, it’s as if we have found a kindred spirit. Innermost thoughts which may have simmered for years, vague and undefined—are suddenly given clarity, a voice, and a name. Should we really be surprised when those that do it best are still on our list of favorites—five, fifty, one hundred years or more after their death?

As you consider the relevance of the beauty and truth found in the art contained in The Rabbit Room, may it be personal, and real, and may it last.


6 Comments

  1. Andrew Peterson

    @andrew

    Thanks for the props, Sir Curt.

    I have to say, though, that that line, which is probably the best in the song, was all Pierce. He’s coming by the studio to sing on a song on Resurrection Letters next Wednesday and I can’t wait. His records contain some of the best writing you’ll ever hear, and I’m not speaking in hyperbole. Maybe a Pierce Pettis review is in order?

  2. Curt McLey

    @curtmcley

    Interesting. Because when I quoted that line, the thought occurred to me, “I wonder if that is a Pierce line or an Andy line?”

    I seem to recall, correct me if my recollection is false, that you received the song from Pierce as an unfinished project, then completed it. Assuming that is the case, I didn’t expect it was likely that you worked on specific lines together, at least in the same place, at the same time. I’m not sure if that is my own speculation or if I heard or read those words from you.

    On the other hand, though such trivia keep supporters like me engaged with curiosity, the larger point is more important, I think. That the inspiration for all truth and creativity is the Spirit of God. And whether it’s Andy, Pierce, Frederick, Vincent, Evie, Randall, Eric, Anne, or Leif, they are the earthen vessels charged with the awesome responsibility to carry and communicate those great truths.

    Andy, as you communicate so articulately in the great song, Let There Be Light (I’ll see your Pettis line and raise you several lines from that song!) the creative process is inextricably linked to Father God. And yes indeed, we find brotherhood, kinship, and identification in the work of masters, but ultimately–we are awed by reflections of truth–of THE TRUTH. And as that truth (the art), though inherently human and imperfect, is communicated with skill and specificity, it has the potency to knock us off our feet, precisely because of it’s Origin.

    There’s irony in the idea that to be a good “teller” one has to be a good “listener.” To write well, it seems to me that one has to hear well. So, here’s to the artists, like those profiled in The Rabbit Room, who are good listeners. We are blessed to have them. Hear, Hear!

    Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. —C. S. Lewis

  3. Curt McLey

    @curtmcley

    And yes … a Pierce Pettis review seems appropriate for this site, a great idea. It seems this site is a custom fit for artists like Pierce Pettis. I’ll give that some thought. But I’ve got to tell you, it scares me. Writing about the work of someone who’s work I admire so much is enough to send an amateur armchair commentator like myself into a surreal state of nervousness. T-t-t-t-t-t-that’s all, folks!

  4. Mark L

    A put together a collection of quotes that remind me of the truth of the lyrics in this song. Go to http://www.xanga.com/krambis1 and check out the December 23, 2007 entry. “And you cannot say why; There must be more…”

    Mark

    P.S. I can resonate with your resonation. Thanks, Curt

  5. Mark L

    Hey Curt,

    I’ve been reading some more of your posts and really enjoy what you have to say. I can connect with what you write. Nice to meet you and thanks.

    Mark

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