In my last post, I shared ten (really thirteen) resources that were primarily for writers; however, most of the books mentioned are valuable for anyone who loves words, stories, and anything good, true, and beautiful.
This time I would like to provide a list of online resources I’ve found valuable either specifically as a writer, or generally as someone who loves stories and is curious about the moral imagination. After reading, you may click on the title of each site to explore on your own.
I can’t remember how I first discovered the Rabbit Room, but I know it must have been shortly after discovering Andrew Peterson. My first few years of teaching I didn’t have a classroom but traveled with a rolling crate to several of my colleagues’ classrooms. One teacher would write a different quote on the board each week, and one of those quotes was Tolkien’s bit on “Longing for Eden.” When I commented on it he shared that he’d found it on the flyleaf of one of Andrew Peterson’s albums. A few weeks went by, and I was helping this same teacher and his wife with one of their drama productions. During rehearsals and in the mix of playlists including the Piano Guys and Lecrae, I kept hearing songs referencing Peter and Wendy and Jodie Baxter, and so I decided to pursue this literary music artist myself, and that’s about the time I discovered the Rabbit Room, an online community of writers, musicians, and visual artists. I’m not quite sure if I discovered it myself or if it came recommended, but that’s not the important part. What is is important is that through reading the blogs of the Rabbits and listening to their podcasts, something inside the busy English teacher who never had time to write herself was nourished and encouraged.
About a year ago, my former boss’s wife and I were chatting about writing over ice cream and shoe string fries at a fundraiser for the school. A few days later, she forwarded me one of Jonathan Rogers’s articles from The Habit, and I immediately subscribed despite being someone who prefers to keep her inbox fairly uncluttered.
Each Tuesday Mr. Rogers sends a bit of advice for writers, including examples from great literature, his own writing, and his workshop students. (If you have the extra money, he does offer online writing classes and workshops.) Some of my favorite articles have been “Which Writers Make You Want to Write?”, “Every Sentence is a Promise,” “In Which I Analyze Two Sentences Within an Inch of Their Lives,” and “Let Nouns and Verbs Carry the Freight.” He also has written two beautiful posts featuring the work of Richard Wilbur.
While The Habit is pretty much writer-exclusive, Stage and Story focuses predominately, but not completely, on drama and film for both the creator and the consumer. This site was actually created by a friend of mine who has been fascinated by the intersection of faith and the arts since childhood. He and his wife spent about a decade of teaching Bible and starting theatre programs at three different schools, and now their dream of cultivating a distinctly Christian and artistic community is coming to fruition in their hometown in Orange County, California. The site includes blogs, podcasts, and other resources to challenge your thinking and fuel your own creative ministry, and I’m also including a link to a free webinar that walks you through thinking Christianly about the media you consume called Engage the Trojan Horse.
I started reading Circe as a teacher learning about classical education; however, I didn’t subscribe until I began my master’s with Faulkner’s Great Books Program. In addition to articles and podcasts, I’ve been able to attend a few webinars, primarily on classical education, but not limited to those who teach. Many of the resources deal with education for both those in the classroom and home school environments, but many of the articles also apply to those who see themselves as lifelong students of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. Currently, I’m listening to Andrew Kern’s Mending the Discarded Image, a lecture series on C.S. Lewis, as if I haven’t spent enough time with old Jack. (If I ever marry, you can guess whom my husband’s unintended rival will be…)
In Faulkner’s Great Books Honors Program, students and tutors share weekly articles on the liberal arts, theology, philosophy, history–you get the idea. I subscribed to The Imaginative Conservative after I realized that many of the shared articles that piqued my interest came from this site.