Every year, the Molehill presents a new editorial mystery. I solicit contributions from writers and artists all over the country, and when their work begins to roll in, I find myself wondering how on earth their parts will ever fit together into a cogent whole. And every year, I’ve been surprised. Out of chaos, themes emerge. Each issue takes on its own unique character, and this issue has been no different. It’s been the most surprising, though.
One word: comedy.
Comedy has always been knit into the bones of both the Rabbit Room and the Molehill. Whether strange videos of Andrew Peterson in the studio, or articles about pickles, or footnotes written in dwarvish runes, comedy is one of the ingredients that keeps the engine running. It’s a way of reminding ourselves, and everyone else, that while we like to talk, sing, and write about serious matters, there’s no reason to do so too seriously—at least not all the time.
Sometimes I think the Church is plagued by seriousness, and I believe injecting doses of the cure into the body is just as important a ministry as many others. Good comedy is, I believe, not about mockery or making fun, but about reminding people that we are all worthy of ridicule, we are all fools, and we’re better off when we haven’t forgotten it. The ability to laugh at oneself ought to be a spiritual virtue, and the ability to laugh along with each other is a mark of true fellowship and community.
Do not suppose that volume four is entirely comedic—it isn’t. But I think you’ll find that even in pieces like Russ Ramsey’s “Joe and the Book of Giants” or Janna Barber’s “Cinnamon,” which deal with serious matters, there’s a kernel of humor in the mix, keeping the engine humming along smoothly.
So enjoy this year’s collection. It includes treasures like Walt Wangerin’s Suessish-yet-ghoulish “Solomon Grundy;” more recipes from Chef Lewis—fantastically illustrated by Stephen Hesselman; new fiction by Thomas McKenzie, Lanier Ivester, and Adam Whipple; a selection of poetry by newcomer Chris Slaten; and fine new work by the veteran Yokels. There’s even a sampling of Jonny Jimison’s comic strip world, a generous dose of oddity from the mysterious DKM, and something I can’t come close to explaining by Don Chaffer (isn’t that always the case?).
I hope part of this book makes you think. I hope other parts make you laugh. And I hope at least some of it makes you do both.
A. S. Peterson
Editor, The Molehill
Pete Peterson is the author of the Revolutionary War adventure The Fiddler’s Gun and its sequel Fiddler’s Green. Among the many strange things he’s been in life are the following: U.S Marine air traffic controller, television editor, art teacher and boatwright at the Florida Sheriffs Boys Ranch, and progenitor of the mysterious Budge-Nuzzard. He lives in Nashville with his wife, Jennifer, where he’s the Executive Director of the Rabbit Room and Managing Editor of Rabbit Room Press.