Month: October 2007

Every other century or so, someone writes a book about house museums.

Luckily, this time around that person was Brock Clarke, author of An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England. He’s coming to Wordsmiths in Decatur, courtesy of that very bookstore, y’all’s truly, and Baby Got Books.

Housewarming: Brock Clarke Visits Wordsmiths

An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes of New England is chilling, scorching, and devastatingly funny. Take it from me– I just finished it this morning. It’s as quick as it is literary*, and definitely a story worth your attention.

Look here for further proof: (praise) (first chapter) (blog).

But don’t get too excited! Neither run nor walk to your closest bookstore!  Instead, hang out with us at Wordsmiths on the 19th and buy your copy there.

* Literary, but in a good way. Promise.

Movin' On Up

Hi. My name is Matt, and this is my inaugural blog post.

Matt Grilling

You may have seen my bio on the about page. If you must know, the reason I haven’t been blogging is because I’ve not been allowed indoors. But all that changed one fateful day last week.

See, Lain has been quite the traveler lately.

Last week he left me stranded to make a presentation to the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau.

ATL Logo

Trouble is, I’ve never spoken on behalf of the Wren’s Nest before.

Meanwhile, he and Mercenary Amelia Trace bailed and flew off to San Francisco to visit Former Wren’s Nest Intern Carson–ironically, with the very plane tickets MAT won in an ACVB raffle!

Lain and Amelia in front of the Full House House

Typically the constructive things I do at the Wren’s Nest involve hedge clippers and an axe, so the chance to speak to a group of people that help us spread the word about the Wren’s Nest was a welcome change of pace.

And I did it! Successfully! Let me tell you, having a room full of people laughing “with you” as you nervously present a Power Point that features no more than four words per slide is pretty reassuring.

Plus, the kind folks at the ACVB don’t mind the fact that Lain, Amy and I don’t necessarily have “training” in house museum management (overrated!). We like to think they keep us around because we’re awesome and just funny enough.

Not only did I avoid a humiliating failure, but I got to eat free and delicious snacks from Breadwinner and left with an armful of great music and an invite to a concert from Bob Ephlin at Eddie’s Attic. For a split second I even thought I won a big-time gift certificate from Spa Sydell (what I wouldn’t give for a free pedicure…).

In short, an afternoon that had me initially terrified turned out to be a smashing success. Thank y’all again, ACVB, for having me out.

Lain and Amy, y’all can head to San Fransisco anytime to visit Wren’s Nest Intern Carson. And Carson, you’re great!

Carson Chop

ps One sentence of this blog was added by FWNIC. Can you guess which one?

It's true.

In a flurry of nonsense, Imani released this truism on me: “Hey hey hey Amy! You have fingernails and stuff!”

Imani the Goofball

(Imani’s reaction to this photo: “I want to see my pants.”)

She is the greatest.


As a historic house museum, representative of this community and its traditions in days of yore, it’s our job, NAY our duty to participate in community events. If we had a charter, this would undoubtedly be part of it.

Which is exactly why Lain skipped town last weekend.

Luckily, Matt and I have been hired to be far more noble, which is why we nobly participated in a Beltline cleanup this past Saturday, just a few blocks from the Wren’s Nest.

Plenty of Volunteers

(Ahoy, volunteers!)

Yes yes, I know, you thought the life of a Wren’s Nest employee was one of fans, reclining, and grapes. And occasionally it is, though with fewer grapes and fans. Last weekend, however, Matt and I got down and dirty- literally.

First was the dirty. As part of a trash removal crew, we were given bins and, thank the heavens above, work gloves. These hands shan’t callous! The directions were pretty clear: trash in bins.

Asian Cajuns Stick Together

(The lengths Asian Cajuns will go to for trash. Bravery at its finest!)

We got down sans-dancing when it became clear that though there was some trash near the street, the real work to be done was down in the ravine, where the Beltline track is/will be.

That's One Crazy Beltline Tunnel

(Here are Matt and Lauren considering escape options from the floor of the ravine. There were few.)

While I will let Lain wax poetic about the Beltline in a future post, as he is far more of a public transportation nerd than I (the best term for me would be something around “foaming at the mouth lunatic” thanks to my privileged upbringing), it was great to be a (very, very small) part of something that, in about 10 years, will drastically change the way Atlanta functions for the better.

That's One Crazy Beltline Tunnel, Again

(Trash! And check out the guy top left who was going for it, big time. He may or may not have had a safety line. His mouth said yes but absolutely everything else said no.)

So yes, while we did encounter some rather stinky, puzzling (a bag full of videotapes), and overwhelmingly wet trash, we also got to pat ourselves on the back… plus a free t-shirt and lunch! And you know how the Wren’s Nest feels about free food.

View From the Tunnel

(Behold! The site of the future! My, how clean it looks!)

Oh and then we drank beer all afternoon. Did I mention we’re noble?

It’s been a slow day at the ole Wren’s Nest.

I have about 500 emails to sort through from this weekend, Amelia updated the Museum page, and one lady called asking for the phone number of “that Aquarium there in Atlanta.” Gosh, why wouldn’t I have that number at my fingertips?

In slightly more exciting news, the homeless guy refused to get off our porch this morning and Outdoorsman Matt briefly electrocuted himself. His ear, specifically.

Regarding the porch, it was Joel Chandler Harris’ favorite spot at the Wren’s Nest–

Joel Chandler Harris sits on the porch of the Wren's Nest

We definitely need a rug like that, and I definitely need some britches like that.

Kind of related, I scanned a few more miscellaneous items back in March, but must’ve forgotten to post them. Enjoy!

First, a note from Buckingham Palace–

Dear The Wren's Nest, Love Buckingham Palace

Dear The Wren’s Nest…Love, Buckingham Palace.

Do people often send books to princesses? Was that once the done thing? I’d like to think that Princesses Margaret and Elizabeth demanded that someone fetch them a copy of Brer Rabbit directly from the source, and not some peasant bookshop, you buffoon.

The following invite, I believe, is from 1946.

Meet The Disneys at the Wren's Nest!

Hey y’all–meet the Disneys! That’s how I would’ve written it, anyway.

Presumably, the next one is taken that very day, with Walt (left) and Julian LaRose Harris, the eldest son of Joel Chandler Harris, sharing a guffaw over the Uncle Remus Tales.

Walt Disney and Julian Harris

Song of the South was released this very weekend, and this may be the day that they had the press conference and tea at the Wren’s Nest. From last year’s AJC article:

“The city played the premiere up big. There was a parade down Peachtree and a luncheon at the Capital City Club and a tea at the Wren’s Nest, where a crowd of autograph-seekers got out of hand and knocked Disney to his knees.”

Hello, there. You’re looking nice today. Perhaps it is the glow that comes from knowing it’s Friday. Perhaps you are thinking about Chinese food for dinner, Mom. Or! Perhaps it is that smart Wren’s Nest t-shirt you are wearing. Lookin’ good!

Brer Terrapin, lookin' good!

(Brer Terrapin could be yours in a matter of days!)

Now, while the fronts of these t-shirts tend to be the attention-getters, it pays not to overlook the back. Literally!

That’s where our sponsors are!

I see the effects of some of our sponsors on a daily basis (thanks Rentokil!), but frankly, I wasn’t sure Stone Mountain, one of our biggest sponsors, even existed until this weekend. Giant mountain? Near Atlanta? Then why can’t I see it?!* Nice try, wiseguys.

But it looks like it really does exist. And how!

Stone Mountain!  Twice, practically.

Lain and I hiked/wandered around the aptly named Stone Mountain Park last weekend, which I would especially recommend if you’re into things like water and leaves, like I am.

Stone Mountain water and leaves

(Look at that water! And those leaves! Beautiful.)

If you’re into the War of Northern Aggression or the War Between the States (or the Civil War to folks from my neck of the woods), I would also recommend Stone Mountain for it’s giant, crazy, temporarily abandoned carving of Confederate generals. Nutty.

Nutty, I told you.

(Our lighting technique is questionable, and thus true to form.)

If you’re more into beer than the Confederates, perhaps you would be interested in the Decatur Beer Festival, the debauchery-laden shameful step-sister of the oft-mentioned (on this blog at least) Decatur Book Festival.

I’ve had my fill of Confederates carved out of granite. Thankfully, I’m nowhere near beer capacity. See you there!

*I still don’t have an answer to this question.

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