Wiseblood report: 8 Days and Virtue by FOK Andrew McNabb

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 8.33.07 AM

On September 18, 2014, Divine Providence Press will publish, under one cover, both 8 Days and Virtue, Andrew McNabb’s book-length prose poem, or “mystical prayer.”  These two works are inextricably linked; as McNabb details in 8 Days, it was at the very moment he typed the period that would end Virtue that his odyssey emphatically began.

In 8 Days, he recounts the ecstatic mystical religious experiences that took place in his life over an eight day period in 2011. With literary attention, this career short-story writer, husband, and father of four details how he was swept up into a place “not quite here” and “not quite there,” a place in which he experienced both the ethereal and the terrifying, the awe-inspiring and the confounding.

Virtue is a paean, a poetic and prayerful work that seeks, also, to be instructive by way of a logical progression which culminates, ultimately, at that highest point on the spiritual mountain: union with Him in true love.  

Order it here.

Paging Dr. Percy

IMG_20140902_193709

“English poetry and biology should be taught as usual, but at irregular intervals, poetry students should find dogfishes on their desks and biology students should find Shakespeare sonnets on their dissecting boards. The latter, upon reading upon her dissecting board, ‘That time of year thou mayst in me behold when yellow leaves, or none, or few do hang’ might catch fire at the beauty of it.”

— Walker Percy, “The Loss of the Creature”

Wiseblood report: late to post about Late to Love by Sam Rocha

Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 9.47.13 AM

On August 28, 2014, Wiseblood Records released our inaugural collection of music, Late to Love, by Sam Rocha. Late to Love is musically inspired by the genealogy of soul music that scans the genres of spirituals, folk, gospel, country, R&B, blues, funk, jazz, hip-hop, neo-soul and nu-jazz. T-Bone Walker, Ray Charles, Gil Scott Heron, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers, and Curtis Mayfield—with dashes of Willie Nelson and Pat Metheny—are the old foundation for something entirely new: Augustinian soul music.

Late to Love is an original concept album that performs a reading of Augustine’s Confessions through soul music. It is not a generic ode to a saint or holy person, nor it is a neutral and uncontroversial celebration of an important ancient book. From beginning to end Rocha offers a bold and fresh reading of Augustine’s Confessions where the form is the content, where melody and verse take the place of assertions and argument.

You can order up a copy here. I bought mine, and will post again after I’ve worked the envy out of my ears and given it a good listen or two. In the meantime, ol’ Cosmos the in Lost is mighty pleased. And you can give it a preview whirl here.

Wood v. Percy

Walker Percy, “Another Message in the Bottle:”

It is no accident, as I have suggested, that the novel is almost exclusively a creature of Christendom. The fact that novels are narratives about events which happen to people in the course of time is given a unique weight in an ethos that is informed by the belief that awards an absolute importance to an Event which happened to a Person in historic time. In a very real way, one can say that the Incarnation not only brought salvation to mankind but gave birth to the novel. Judeo-Christianity is about pilgrims who have something wrong with them and are embarked on a search to find a way out. This is also what novels are about. In a word, it is my conviction that the incarnational and sacramental dimensions of Catholic Christianity are the greatest natural assets of the novelist.

James Wood, “Soul Cycle,” a review of David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks in The New Yorker:

I doubt that David Mitchell’s intention was to return the secular novel to theological allegory, but that is what “The Bone Clocks” does. Above all, his cosmology seems an unconscious fantasy of the author-god, reinstating the novelist as omniscient deity, controlling, prodding, shaping, ending, rigging. He has spoken of his novels as forming one “Über-book,” in which themes and characters recur and overlap: an epic ambition. Battles involving men and gods are, indeed, the life-and-death-blood of the epic form. But didn’t the epic hand off to the novel, in the last book of “Paradise Lost,” when the Angel Michael tells Adam and Eve that, though they will lose actual Paradise, they will possess “a Paradise within thee, happier far”? The novel takes over from the epic not just because inwardness opens itself up as the great novelistic subject but because human freedom asserts itself against divine arrangement. The “human case” refuses to be preordained. The history of the novel can, in fact, be seen as a secular triumph over providential theology: first, God is displaced; then the God-like author fills the theological void; then the God-like author is finally displaced, too. Despite Mitchell’s humane gifts as a secular storyteller, “The Bone Clocks” enforces an ordained hermeticism, in which fictional characters, often bearing names from previous Mitchell fictions, perform unmotivated maneuvers at the behest of mysterious plotters who can do what they want with their victims. Time to redact this particular Script.

Do read Wood’s review; it is, as they say, bracing.

Be Stillman, My Heart

The Cosmopolitans Movie HD Wallpaper

Metropolitan : The Cosmopolitans :: Fargo (film): Fargo (TV series)

The biggest shift (besides the move to Paris) is the splitting of Nick Smith into two characters: Jimmy (in the tan coat) provides the knowing charisma, while Sandro (sans coat) provides the raffish behavior. Hal, on the left there, is the new Tom Townsend, and Aubrey is, of course, the new Audrey. There’s even a new Rick Von Sloneker, though he’s much shorter this time.

It’s still delightful, but it’s much more familiar-feeling than, say, Damsels in Distress (which I need to re-watch). What remains to be seen if whether it can make interesting use of the new format the way Fargo the TV series did.

Envy/Despair, Caution

I sent Easter Island Humor to The New Yorker back in 1996. Needless to say, it didn’t meet their current needs. But it seems to meet their current needs now.

Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 9.55.39 AMSigh. It’s stuff like this that contributes to cartoons like this:

Photo on 9-1-14 at 11.58 AM

Beginnings

“Too, I found emotionally-charged debates between writers of reviews and their readers, who would fire off vituperative rebuttals of the ignominious stance the reviewer had taken earlier in the pages of the magazine or journal. These rebuttals fairly smoked with high dudgeon, and I could see that the readers had read Walker Percy’s books as if their very lives depended on it (which, of course, in one important sense, they do). These exchanges took on a real-life, win-or-lose significance for me.”
— from the author’s Foreword to Walker Percy: A Comprehensive Descriptive Bibliography, by Linda Whitney Hobson

Thought on Fargo, the TV series.

God is not mocked. Nor is He bargained with. But the man who loves his neighbor as himself might just walk through the valley of the shadow of death and make it to the other side.

Bat out of Hell theme song

JOB est arrivee

IMG_20140818_212633