The Mudroom Turns 4!

We have been going strong for 3 years and we want to make our 4th year something special too. We’ve added a few features such as Dear Portia, our advice column with Heather Caliri and Flashback Friday starting next week, where we’re posting a piece from the archives. There’s too much good writing on here to let it gather dust in the Wayback Machine. 

We’ve said goodbye to some fantastic writers and have introduced you to some other ones. We’ve helped launch the books of our friends and our writers have been included in anthologies and have written their own books! 

 

These writers imagine life without walls and invite others into the cluttered and lonely mess.

We’ve handled some pretty touchy subjects like mental illness, sexuality, and race and will continue to create space for hard conversations. You may not always agree with our writers. We don’t always agree with each other but have committed to listening to and respecting one another. We’ve been challenged in the comments and on Facebook and Twitter but have always tried to respond with grace and compassion. 

We love the space we have created and hope you do too. Here’s the first official post we published. It still rings true for me. Thank you for you three amazing years. 

 

Flannery O'Connor quote

 

Back in the day I used to write for Cornerstone magazine. The staff was a community inside of a community: artists, proofreaders, marketing, writers, mail room. It was frantic and insane and glorious. I miss that sense of secrecy, the privilege of beholding a work of art before anyone else does, the camaraderie of common deadlines and late-night last-looks.

For the last few years I’ve been wanting to do something to bring back that feeling. Start something. Create community. Carve out a space for people to share and listen and smile knowingly.

Right now, I’m holding 16 secrets. These are stories, confessions, epiphanies that the authors are willing to share with you, too, for no other reason than to let you know you’re not alone.
 
The fear that takes your breath away and keeps you up at night? They’ve been there. The choice you made years ago that still makes you cringe a little? They’ve done that. They share that same epiphany. These writers imagine life without walls and invite others into the cluttered and lonely mess. We are all making that discovery together.
 
It’s an honor to be blessed with the entrusting of these secrets, to be the caretaker of these stories.  They made me smile with familiarity, get weepy from the deep wounds these words unearth, they made me laugh with their clever wordsmithing and ability to extract humor from their own flaws and foibles.

I want you to see yourself here. I want you to give yourself the same grace you will give these authors when you hear their hearts and find yourself next to them. I want you to claim your narrative as a wealth of richness worthy of bestowing on your fellow sojourners. I want you to picture each other, as Flannery O’Connor writes, “stalking joy—fully armed too as it’s a highly dangerous quest.”
 

I want you to claim your narrative as a wealth of richness worthy of bestowing on your fellow sojourners.

So dangerous, in fact, that we shouldn’t embark upon it alone. That’s where you and I, and the writers and the readers come in, we’re stalking this joy together. What are we armed with? Each other.
 
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a pastor in the Confessing Church in Germany, knew how desperately people need each other. He wrote a whole book on it, Life Together, in which he challenges and encourages us to find the kind of community that speaks Truth to us.
“God has willed that we should seek and find His living Word in the witness of a brother, in the mouth of man. Therefore, the Christian needs another Christian who speaks God’s Word to him. He needs him again and again when he becomes uncertain and discouraged, for by himself, he cannot help himself without belying the truth. He needs his brother man as a bearer and proclaimer of the divine word of salvation. The Christ in his own heart is weaker than the Christ in the heart of his brother; his own heart is uncertain, his brother’s is sure.
And that also clarifies the goal of all Christian community: they meet one another as bringers of the message of salvation.”
 That truth is the message of salvation, and we need to hear it day after day, because each one of us becomes uncertain and discouraged, day after day. That truth is not only uttered from altars by ordained individuals, it is spoken every day, everywhere, by people who are sitting in parks together, or gathered around a cafe table, or sitting side by side in a dark car where confession frees itself. It is shared in the simplest of ways, a Post-It note on a mirror, a child’s unbroken, affectionate trust, a phone call at a needful time, an email that says out loud what your heart is keeping quiet.
 
So here is us, on the raggedy edge, as Firefly captain Malcolm Reynolds says in Serenitythe raggedy edge of loneliness, discouragement, desperate discovery, and slow-coming joy, but even a raggedy edge leaves a place to stand. And that’s where The Mudroom comes in, standing on that raggedy edge together, keeping the darkness at bay, claiming hope for all of us, holding each other on the right side of it.
Tammy Perlmutter
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Tammy Perlmutter

Writer at Raggle-Taggle
Tammy Perlmutter writes about unabridged life, fragmented faith, and investing in the mess. She is founder and curator of The Mudroom and co-founder of Deeply Rooted., a biannual worship and teaching gathering for women. Tammy is a member of Redbud Writers Guild; writing blog posts, personal essays, flash memoir, poetry, and even preaching sometimes. She's an urban beekeeper and lives in an intentional Christian community in Chicago with her husband, Mike, and daughter, Phoenix.
Tammy Perlmutter
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