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.

So, I invited my writer and blogger friends, and we met at 15 Emory Place. The scarred tongue-and-groove boards, high ceilings, and airy lighting provided perfect surroundings, and the church that met there was happy to let us borrow a room. Over the course of two years, we brought our work together and threw it against the wall to see if it stuck. Friendships and appreciation grew out of our time. We began to understand one another. Since then, we’ve changed locations, missed meetings, published pieces, lost jobs, had children, ignored the stock market, and done the hard work of loving one another enough to critique each other’s work. The old urge of inward ire still creeps up on me when a friend says, “No, that won’t do,” over a sentence of mine, but our trust is too founded to be shaken by that anymore. We named our mottled collective Knox Writes, and we began to discover something as we wrote and crafted.

Not only must we do our work, but the work must continue to effect change after we have relinquished it. Part of the fight against isolation, part of poking a hole in the hermetical dark, is allowing our efforts to touch people. We prod and cajole our art, excising whole paragraphs of nonsense and killing our most darling sentences. We make our prose eat its vegetables and go to bed early. The reason for this is so that, when the day finally arrives and we set it loose on the unsuspecting world, it is ready not just to hold its own, but to accomplish something worthwhile.

Thus, we have created Foundling House. It is a place to find and engage with good work, whether that be writing, music, craftsmanship, painting, or something we haven’t quite imagined yet. We’ll release something new every week. We hope that the writing—along with other grandiosities and oddments—both challenges you and allows you space to breathe. We’re committed to working together, and to bringing you the best of what we have.

Welcome, friend.

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