I’ve just returned from Santa Fe, New Mexico, where Anne and I enjoyed The Glen Workshop for the fourth year in a row. What an extraordinary gathering. More and more, my year is divided into two halves: Anticipating The Glen, and Absorbing All I Experienced At The Glen.

This year… what a rush: Memorable and inspiring encounters with Bret Lott, Barry Moser, Over the Rhine, Daniel Tobin, and so many more.

It was quite a privilege to join Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist for dinner and hear them dreaming about their musical future.

It was riveting to hear Barry Moser talk about his remarkable history as an illustrator of childrens’ books, and how he overcame his “prejudice” against childrens’ literature.

It was spellbinding to hear Daniel Tobin’s poetry.

It was inspiring to receive a pep talk about my writing from National Book Award finalist and all-around fantastic gal Sara Zarr.

Married to Anne, befriended by Sara.
Luckiest guy in the world: Married to Anne, befriended by Sara.

God stole the show as we hiked around Bandalier National Monument and explored the Pueblo cliff dwellings there. Spooky and awe-inspiring.

Posing as a cave-dweller.
Posing as a cave-dweller.

I got teary-eyed watching the second graduating class of Seattle Pacific University’s MFA program gather on the platform to receive their diplomas. They worked so hard, immersed themselves in such great literature, and wrote beautiful new work.

And at our apartment on Thursday night, thirty three people packed in to read original work aloud to one another from 8:15 p.m. until 1:15 in the morning. Glorious. And what an honor to have the accomplished Bret Lott in attendance.

Bob Denst reads his poetry at fourth annual Thomas Parker Society in Santa Fe.
Bob Denst reads his poetry at fourth annual Thomas Parker Society in Santa Fe.

Image journal has developed a little preview of heaven every summer in Santa Fe, and I hope to see you there next year.

In fact, I have some exciting Image-related news that I’ll be sharing with you very soon.

If you’re curious, head on over to Flickr and check out a collection of photos from my week at The Glen.

OVER THE RHINE RELEASE NEW LIVE COLLECTION,
KICK OFF CHRISTMAS TOUR IN SEATTLE THIS YEAR

Over the Rhine live at Christ Church last Wednesday night in Santa Fe.
Over the Rhine live at Christ Church last Wednesday night in Santa Fe.

The new Over the Rhine live collection — Live from Nowhere vol. 3 collection is the best of the series so far, featuring a version of “Trouble” that’s better than the one on The Trumpet Child, one of Mickey Grimm’s wild-and-crazy drum solos (Animal lives!), a particularly cocky version of “Don’t Wait for Tom,” and some vocals from Karin Bergquist that make me thankful for recording technology. It’s a joyful party record, jazzy as hell, with a few wintry touches (selections from Snow Angels), and for a live album it has pristine, glorious sound.

But here’s the big news: On the weekend after Thanksgiving, Over the Rhine will kick off their Christmas tour at Seattle’s Triple Door with two shows. Last year, Karin Bergquist told me it was her new favorite room for singing. I was there for both of those shows, and I plan to be there for both of these. See you there.

For pics from Over the Rhine’s show at Christ Church in Santa Fe last week, visit my Flickr page.

I love these guys. They’ve even inspiring breakfast company.

A quick meal before the Over the Rhine songwriting class at The Glen Workshop in Santa Fe.
A quick meal before the Over the Rhine songwriting class at The Glen Workshop in Santa Fe.

FAREWELL TO NARNIA’S ILLUSTRATOR

The great Pauline Baynes died on Friday in her cottage in Dockenfield, Surrey.

CHATTAWAY NOTES CURIOUS HEADLINES

Peter Chattaway just pointed this out to me:

Headline in the Hollywood Reporter, July 29: R-rated comedies suffer at boxoffice

Headline in the Associated Press, August 4: Hollywood strikes gold with R-rated comedy wave

And now, back to the Hollywood Reporter, August 6: R ratings might help comedies

Confused yet?

PETER BUCK’S FAVORITE ALBUMS?

Peter Buck is talking about his favorite albums. And hey… there’s Sam Phillips’s Martinis and Bikinis!

DAILY DOSE OF PITT

The first “review” of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is up!

And speaking of Brad Pitt… he’s signed on to be in Quentin Tarantino’s WWII flick, Inglorious Bastards, and it looks like he’ll have some interesting company… like The Office‘s darkly browed B.J. Novak and Hostel director Eli Roth.

USA TODAY ON THE ROAD

There’s a photo gallery from John Hillcoat’s film of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road up at USA Today. I’m reviewing this for Christianity Today when it comes out. I cannot wait. I finished the book many months ago, and I remember it as vividly as if it were yesterday.

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