A Surprising Land of Splendor – Part 1

 Forward

Consider me an ambassador: an emissary from a foreign land, a place whose name I dare not mention for risk of causing you to turn away before the end of this very sentence. Do you truly have faith in that age-old hope of finding beauty where you least expect it? Can you let go of what you thought you knew, what you thought you feared, what you remember feeling when you were young? Can you forgive?

Imagine a land of exquisite, other-worldly splendor. Some would call it ‘exotic,’ though when you look more closely you see but an amplified, glorified version of the types of landscape features that are familiar to you. The hidden connections and relationships between the myriad pieces of our own natural world have their incarnation here; what is invisible is here proclaimed, and the complexity will quickly overwhelm you if you aren’t careful to take in the scenery in small bits. Natives of this land continually experience the bittersweet sense of knowing and loving a place of profound beauty, with few people around to share it. The rest of the world believes only what they’ve heard, the misconceptions about the place that lead them to believe it uninhabitable. Those misconceptions fall into three main categories.

Read More

The WordPlayers Present: Little Women

For the fourth year in a row, The WordPlayers are bringing a musical production to the historic Bijou Theatre in downtown Knoxville. Louisa May Alcott’s beloved story about the adventures of the four March sisters will be brought to life this weekend in Little Women: The Broadway Musical.

It’s fitting that this particular production, being based on a novel that’s all about family, is in many ways a family affair. The show is being directed by veteran WordPlayer Terri Lloyd, and her husband Matthew is the Stage Manager. Lloyd also has four children and a niece involved in the musical, which premieres this Friday night at 7:30 p.m.

“We’re not a regular family,” says Lloyd. “Regular families go to soccer practice. We take broadsword lessons.” Lessons that came in handy when choreographing a fight scene written by the headstrong Jo March, the second of the four siblings.

Read More

Hiking, or The Reason to Abuse a Left Knee

A few years ago, my wife decided to give me a birthday present in the form of abandonment in the wilderness. To be clear, this was what I wanted. My version of a vacation is fairly Spartan. Give me a sleeping bag, a hammock, a tarp, and some basic necessities, and leave me to wander. This is distinctly different from my mother’s version of camping, which involves things with agitators—a washing machine, a hot tub, and cable television, for example.

My sweet wife dropped me off at Cosby Campground, where Cosby Creek churns down a mountain gully in fresh cascades of whitewater. The trail from there to Low Gap averages a thirteen percent grade. I was newly thirty-two years old. Surely sixty additional pounds up a mountain posed no problem.

Read More

Fund The Mosleys’ New Record!

Once in a while, you run across people doing good work, and you ask yourself: Why isn’t everybody excited about this? Much of that good work requires a little digging to unearth, so we wanted to do the labor for you and make sure you got a chance to participate in something wonderful.

Stephen and Rachel Mosley have been crafting tunes as a folk duo for about three years, starting at their house in Serenbe, Georgia, and ending up in a Floridian plantation mansion that’s spitting distance from the Gulf of Mexico. Some of you might recall Rachel’s splendid, honest writing about the good perils of family. This year saw the Mosleys not only deciding to produce new music, but to produce a full-length record with Phil Madeira and Jimmy Abegg.

Read More

The Rumor of Good News

The Potato Eaters – 1885, Vincent van Gogh

What is it about Vincent Van Gogh that continues to inspire artists? Painters mimic techniques he perfected. Scores of filmmakers, songwriters, and poets have created their own works of art with Van Gogh as their subject. What is it about this artist that so inspires other artists? A definitive answer to that question may not be possible, but as a songwriter who has himself written a song about Van Gogh, I can at least speak to what inspires me.

Read More

Looking You in the Eye

We’re still excited at the success of Echo Hill, our latest venture, and we thought we’d take the time to look into what we’re doing here at Foundling House in the first place, and why we would put together a dinner and concert in which people look each other in the eye, taste delectable food, and drink in well-crafted, truth-bearing art. Also, here’s a great chance for those of you who missed our evening to get a glimpse of what transpired:

Read More