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.
The 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.