When we launched this website back in 2007 none of us had any real idea what it might grow into. Andrew invited a bunch of (mostly) strangers to start writing together just to see what would happen and, well, things definitely happened. We grew from a simple private blog, to selling a few odd books and some music, to selling a lot of odd books and music and founding a small publishing house. We’ll host the fifth Hutchmoot in Nashville this October, and in just a few weeks we’ll hold the first ever Hutchmoot Retreat at Laity Lodge in Texas. And all this has happened because of you, a vibrant community of readers and supporters that reaches around the world.
In the last seven years, though, we’ve all grown and changed, and as a result, a lot of us don’t have as much time to devote to the Rabbit Room blog as we once did. But that’s not a bad thing—it just means we’re doing other kinds of work. A few cases in point: Russ Ramsey published Behold the Lamb of God: An Advent Narrative, Jonathan Rogers has written a few books, one of which (The Terrible Speed of Mercy) was dedicated to the Rabbit Room community; A. S. “Pete” Peterson published his Fin’s Revolution series; Andrew’s final two Wingfeather Saga books will be published by Rabbit Room Press; S. D. Smith started a beautiful website called Story Warren, which we think of as a super cool cousin of the Rabbit Room; all of our writers have written and published poetry, short stories and essays in The Molehill; and that’s not to mention all the good music the Rabbit Room community has been a part of promoting. Still, the thoughtful posts and conversations begotten by the website itself are at the heart of what keeps the community active.
So if we want to continue the good work that the Rabbit Room does, we need to find ways to keep it healthy. This is something that’s been on our minds for months now. We’ve spent many a day wondering what the future of the Rabbit Room looks like and how best to nurture it. You gave us some encouraging and insightful feedback in answer to Andrew’s “What is the Rabbit Room For?” post, and Pete has discussed this with many of you, exploring the nature of the issue and the possibilities it presents, and at last, we’ve made some exciting decisions.
The first is that we’re moving the Rabbit Room to an open submissions policy. We get submissions on an almost daily basis and sometimes they’re great. But we’ve never had a clear policy in effect for how to handle them. So as of today, we have a comprehensive submissions policy posted on the site (the link is at the top of the page). The purpose of this change isn’t to flood the Rabbit Room with random posts from strangers. The purpose is to invite folks to write, to create, to take some ownership in the Rabbit Room, and to give us a structured way to select the best for use while having clear grounds to turn down others. (Click here to check out the Submissions page.)
The second is that we’re going to change up the masthead, which means two things:
1) We’ve invited some fresh new voices to be contributors. Many of them will be familiar to you, some may not be, but all of them have interesting perspectives on life, art, faith, and community, and we’re excited to see what each of them will bring to the conversation that the Rabbit Room fosters.
2) The new masthead will be missing some old friends. Let me assure you, though, that no one has been “fired.” If you notice that a name that has always been on the list is gone, that doesn’t mean we’ve kicked someone out and don’t love them any more. We’re merely graduating some folks to alumni status. All of our writers are still more than welcome to post as often as they’d like. But the fact is that the contributor list needs to reflect the writers who are actively contributing to the content. As some people have grown over the years, they’re no longer able to post as often as they once did, and we totally get that. They’ll be by to visit as often as they can.
So, to the new contributors: Welcome! I’m glad you’re here and I can’t wait to see how your spot at the table is going to change you and us and build the Kingdom in ways that we can’t imagine.
Allow us to introduce everyone to the new kids on the block:
Rebecca Reynolds – Rebecca is a writer, teacher, poet, songwriter, mom, preacher’s wife, and two-time Hutchmoot speaker. Mix all that together and she’s bound to have something unique to offer. If you’ve seen her on Facebook, you’ve probably noticed that she’s incredibly articulate, passionate, contemplative—and not at all scared to write about it (at the very least, she exercises exceptional bravery in the face of fear).
David Michael Bruno – Dave is the author of The 100-Thing Challenge. He and his wife live in California but that hasn’t stopped them from coming to Hutchmoot at least twice (maybe three times). We’ve always been impressed with Dave’s thoughtfulness and look forward to hearing more from him.
Chris Slaten – Chris is a singer-songwriter and literature teacher. Need we say more? Last year he released his first EP, The Mantis and the Moon, and some of us played it non-stop for about two months. He’s getting ready to start a new project with Ben Shive.
David Mitchel – David has been to two Hutchmoots now and he’s become a big part of the online community. He’s a lawyer, but we like him anyway, and we’ve always appreciated his humor and well-spoken nature.
Chris Yokel – Chris is a poet, teacher, and soon-to-be husband. He’s published six (?) books of his poetry and even teaches online classes about The Silmarillion, for which he wins huge nerd points (a good thing).
Jen Rose – Jen has been a part of the Rabbit Room community for as long as we can remember. She and Chris (Yokel) met at Hutchmoot and are about to become the third official Hutchmatch. She’s a fine writer and thinker and we can’t wait to see more of her work.
Barbara Lane – Barbara has a Fiddler’s Gun inspired tattoo, so she’s in. ‘Nuff said. (She’s also a teacher, a great writer, and an accomplished doodler.)
Joe Sutphin – We wanted to bring aboard more visual artists and Joe is one of them. Joe is an illustrator and he’s currently hard at work illustrating The Warden and the Wolf King. We love his style, and we’re happy to have him aboard.
Chris Stewart – Chris is the second of our visual artists. He’s designed the covers of The Molehill vols. 1 & 2 as well as the Hutchmoot 2013 poster. He’s an illustrator, loves cats, and hopes one day to write and illustrate children’s books. Also, he lives about three blocks from here, which means we can go choke him if he doesn’t contribute often enough.
Heidi Johnston – Heidi is the author of Life in the Big Story, and is Irish—she lives just outside of Belfast, not far from C. S. Lewis’s birthplace. Andrew and his family got to know her and her sweet family during their visit to Northern Ireland last summer, and her daughters video chat with Skye from time to time.
Jamin Still – A few years ago, Jamin met with Andrew at a little coffeehouse in the Midwest and gave him a painting. That painting now hangs on a wall at the Warren, and Andrew looks at it every time he brews coffee. Jamin has been plugging away at his otherworldly art for years now, and we’re glad for this chance to peek into his process.
So there you go. Many of the original contributors are still here and still active. Expect to see them for years to come. But we also want you to get to know these new folks. You might call them the Class of 2014. It’s going to be a great year. Thanks for being a part of our community.