Welcome to Knoxville’s New Literary Foray

Like all good things, it began with need.

Up to a few years ago, I wrote in relative isolation. Songs, poems, and the occasional story never made it into the public eye until they stood, to my mind, ready. One myopic person—me—was all the quality control they had. I shake my head at the rubbish that I put in front of people in those days. That was before I saw the Rabbit Room.

Wise people have sent manuscripts and drafts to trusted friends for centuries, but it was all new to me. The Rabbit Room had an editor who was a personal friend of most of the contributors. They went out for burritos together. The editor’s brother used to be part of a songwriters’ group in which the members gave themselves assignments and engaged in a sort of unspoken friendly competition. The whole thing was a gentle, well-tended cohort, each compatriot pointing out flaws in the others for the sake of love and excellence. It was workplace oversight, not dreaded and foiled, but cherished and besought. The further I searched, the more I found that such groups are the norm. This was a thing I longed for.

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