Archive for February, 2008

Wren’s Nest Construction Company and Brown Middle School Outreach

Written on February 28, 2008 at 1:03 pm, by Lain Shakespeare

We’ve got two new programming ideas we’re considering, and we need your help! Please let us know what you think. Ready?

1. The Wren’s Nest Construction Company

The Actual Wren's Nest: the Mailbox

Our successes with wren’s nests, both long ago and recently, may lead you to believe that we are experts at building birdhouses. You would be wrong–but we’re working on it.

Here’s our first programming idea, in list form:

  1. Kids come to the Wren’s Nest.
  2. We teach them how to build functioning birdhouses that look exactly like our mailbox, the original Wren’s Nest.
  3. We also teach them about the subtle architectural differences between the Wren’s Nest (Queen Anne Victorian home of Joel Chandler Harris) and their own wren’s nests (home of birds).
  4. They construct said birdhouses.
  5. We help them place it along the Beltline Arboretum, while discussing both the nesting habits of birds as well as the historic evolution of West End.
  6. They periodically check up on their nest, and the progress of the birds that have nested there with the help of, say, someone like the Atlanta Audubon Society.
  7. We call it something cute, like The Wren’s Nest Construction Company.

Fledgling, you say? Well that’s why we’re looking to you for suggestions!

Is this a good idea that promotes hands-on education of the Wren’s Nest through architecture, preservation, and Atlanta history? Or is it a bad idea?

2. Brown Middle School Educational Outreach

Brown Middle School

We’ve been given permission to start an after-school program at Brown Middle School, approximately three blocks from here. Here’s our idea, again in list form:

  1. Go to Brown Middle School.
  2. Have our storytellers teach a weekly class on storytelling to 6th graders.
  3. Have our staff teach a weekly class on newspaper publishing to 7th graders.
  4. Have our staff teach a weekly class on blogging to 8th graders.
  5. We call it something cute, unlike Brown Middle School Outreach.

All of these would be very hands on with the students, a la the Wren’s Nest Publishing Company.

Too ambitious, you say? What if we had a three year roll-out? So we’d start with storytelling in year one, then add newspaper in year two, and finally add blogging in year three.

We’re assuming that newspapers will still exist in two years. While that may not be a safe bet exactly, I’m willing to go out on a limb.

Now: if you’ve read this far, you probably thinking along these line: (1) these ideas are terrible; (2) these ideas are the best thing I’ve ever heard; (3) these ideas need some work, and here’s how.

Please, enlighten us, and don’t be afraid to hurt our feelings!

To Our Potential Visitors Who Tried to Visit the Wren’s Nest Between 2:05 and 2:30

Written on February 27, 2008 at 5:25 pm, by Lain Shakespeare

We’re sorry. We couldn’t stay open today.

Jeri lost power when a tree fell on her neighbor’s house, Amelia had to be at her other job, I was away at a meeting until about 4:00, and Nannie was busy picketing the new World of Coke because she likes Pepsi so much.

Eduardo Makes the Magic Happen, Favicon-Style

Written on February 26, 2008 at 12:11 pm, by Lain Shakespeare

As Scotty pointed out in last post’s comments, we have added our logo to the window address bar and the window tab.

The Wren's Nest Favicon: It's a Wren on a Fountain Pen

I understand this is called a “favicon.”

Whatever it’s called, Eduardo suggested we do it.

Eduardo and our Best of Atlanta Sign

Then, after we added it so easily, Eduardo figured he’d email every website that he liked that was lacking a favicon.

Did it work? I don’t know, does Kenyon have a favicon now? It’s that easy to change the world, folks.

Other things Eduardo has done:

  1. Written this article (not sure why I was credited!)
  2. Populated our new database
  3. Modeled a t-shirt

In other news, we’ll be playing around with the blog today. So if things get hairy, stick with us, we’re working on it. “It” being “providing more links on the right side, and figuring out how to distinguish between different kinds of links.”

So far it’s harder than it sounds. Most of our links have disappeared!

The Beltline Begins!

Written on February 23, 2008 at 2:55 pm, by Amelia

Today Lain, visiting chum(p) Heather and I went to the West End Trail Groundbreaking. This is the very first (!) step towards the construction of the Beltline project, which will eventually be the greatest combination of rail, trails, and parks approximately ever in Atlanta.

Atlanta Beltline

Here’s Mayor Shirley Franklin giving the opening address, with Atlanta City Councilwoman Cleta Winslow to her right. And an important man wearing the t-shirt I also own to her left. Booyah!

Mayor Shirley Franklin at the Beltline Groundbreaking

There was a pretty good turnout, complete with camera crews, politicians, many of local folks, the man (Ryan Gravel) who came up with the idea for the Beltline as his thesis project (!), and an assortment of schlubs like ourselves. Plus one man confused about where to look.

Crowd at the West End Beltline Groundbreaking

For the real go-getters there were shovels to get in on the action. With a camera in one hand and a brownie bite in the other, I was not considered a go-getter, so much as a go-observer.

Beltline Groundbreaking Shovels

For people like ourselves who are Beltline supporters through and through, this was a pretty darn good way to start our day. Plus, did I mention there were brownie bites?

Joel Chandler Harris MADE Mark Twain!

Written on February 22, 2008 at 12:32 pm, by Amelia

I’m sure you’ve often wondered (aloud, I hope) “How do Lain and Amelia write such inspiring, thoughtful blog posts day after day?” I’ve wondered that myself, truth be told.

Yet somehow, always, we have something to say! And today, the New York Times told me why.

Edith Wharton's Mansion

I would like to make an enlarged poster of this lovely piece about the unique inspiration derived from visiting the homes of writers, and point to it whenever anyone asks why we preserve the house of a dead guy.

And even if we didn’t make this (high-rolling) list, we do have a pretty spectacular connection to one of the houses mentioned in the article. So awesome, in fact, I will tell you about it now.

Mark Twain's House in Hartford, CT

Lain and I took a trip to see good-friend-of-Joel-Chandler-Harris Mark Twain’s house about a year ago. After being shown where JCH slept when he visited, Lain and I took the general tour. And what did we see in the room of Clemens’ daughters?

Nights with Uncle Remus!

The author of the article notes the inspiration he feels from seeing the homes where his literary idols drew inspiration themselves. Using that logic, Mark Twain was inspired by Joel Chandler Harris! JCH made Mark Twain!

Where are our royalties?!

For Serious.

Written on February 20, 2008 at 12:36 pm, by Amelia

Sometimes weird things happen at the Wren’s Nest. When they do, we glibly say things like, “Only at the Wren’s Nest!” and admiringly pat each other on the back.

Strawberry toilet paper.  Yep, that's what I said.  At the Wren's Nest.

But then other days you go to the bathroom and find the top of a strawberry in the toilet paper roll and think “Seriously. What is going on here.”

Today is one of those days.

Ding! Publishing Round Two

Written on February 20, 2008 at 11:56 am, by Amelia

You may recall the awesomeness that was last year’s Wren’s Nest Publishing Co., our summer publishing workshop/camp for high school students. If you’re someone we like, you also probably own a copy of the fruits of our labors, Soy Nut Butter: Nutritious, Delicious, Fictitious. Good work on that.

Front Cover of Soy Nut Butter

However, we realize that some (many) of you probably missed out, judging from the copious copies of Soy Nut Butter we’ve retained. (Note: it’s easy to remedy that!)

Maybe you just didn’t get your hands on a copy or missed our literary salon at the Decatur Book Festival. But maybe, just maybe, you are a driven high school student who wants nothing more than to devote your summer to creating, editing, and contributing to a literary magazine.

Buddy, have we got an offer for you. We’re going for Round Two!

Cat Explains Soy Nut Butter

(Three of last year’s editors, hawking their wares at the book festival.)

While this year’s ball has just begun rolling, it’s rolling big time. Packets with info and a copy of SNB have been sent to EVERY high school English department head in the Atlanta area. Some of them were even lucky enough to receive a note from Lain and me, asking them to pester their SNB-alum students for details.

But they’re not the only ones who should be pestering! There’s plenty of opportunity for everyone, whether you’re a parent who wants to dump your teenager on us during the summer, a student who thinks your teacher should have definitely mentioned this opportunity by now, or a professional in the area who wants to teach these punks a thing or two about how it’s really done.

Jamie Allen, Professional and Impatient Person

(With an eye on the clock, apparently.)

For students, all the info you need is right here. There you can find applications to be an all-powerful editor or a contributor. Adults, if you have something to offer (and boy, I hope you do), just let us know through email, comments, etc. We’re pretty easy to reach.

Game on!

Br’er at Beep Beep Gallery

Written on February 18, 2008 at 5:23 pm, by Lain Shakespeare

Br'er, a collaborative show between Michi and Dosa, at Beep Beep Gallery

From Thought Marker:

“At BEEP BEEP [map] is the first collaborative show between Michi and Dosa. The work will cross a number of media, and focus on issues of race with particular reference to the Uncle Remus / Br’er Rabbit tales.”

Br'er, a collaborative show between Michi and Dosa, at Beep Beep Gallery


Beep Beep is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays during the afternoon. The staff at the Wren’s Nest suggests that you take off Friday early sometime over the next month to check out the show.

102.5 Grown Folks Radio at the Wren’s Nest

Written on February 16, 2008 at 1:24 pm, by Lain Shakespeare

102.5 Grown Folks Radio Visits the Wren's Nest

Thanks, y’all.

In case you ever wanted to know what’s across the street from the Wren’s Nest, here you go:

102.5 Classic Soul Visits the Wren's Nest

I didn’t realize they had parked there until it was too late.

At any rate, we don’t have very far to go for paint. Or hair stylin’.

All Grown Folks, All The Time at the Wren’s Nest

Written on February 15, 2008 at 1:27 pm, by Amelia

We have three primary goals at the Wren’s Nest:

  1. Raise enough money to stay in business and maybe, just maybe, pay the staff.
  2. Preserve the legacy of Joel Chandler Harris and the heritage of African American folklore.
  3. To once, just once, be considered grown folk.

Against all odds, we’re closing in on #3!

Grown Folks Radio is coming to the nest!
(The Wren’s Nest is going on! The Wren’s Nest is going on!)

Tomorrow morning Atlanta’s own 102.5 Grown Folks Radio will be coming to the Wren’s Nest! They’ll be broadcasting live from the Nest as part of their Black History Month tour from about 11am – 1pm. You can find out more about the tour here.

Grown Folks Black History Tour

Tune in, Atlanta readers!

Note: If you hear someone in the background asserting they’re a “grown folk” and then giggling, that’s me! Being famous!

Also, this may become the Wren’s Nest’s new catchphrase, if I have anything to say about it:

All Grown Folks, All The Time, Thorhetically at the Wren's Nest

No fledgling folks allowed! Except for assertive toddlers. They’re cool by me.