I didn’t hit forty. Forty hit me.
She: Sometimes I think you drink the way you do just so you can stand to be in the same room with me.
He: Well, you know the old saying — “In vino caritas.”
She: “Veritas,” dear. “In vino veritas.”
He: Surely not.
I almost hesitate to link to this piece by D.G. Myers on Catholic fiction over at the Books and Culture website, because the print version of Books and Culture is one of the best-designed bits of religious magazine publishing I have ever seen. Maybe subscribe? Anyway, here are some authors who are more successful than you (me):
Neither Christopher Beha nor William Giraldi is a Catholic novelist in the simplistic sense of dressing up Catholic doctrine with what Paul Elie calls “the old power to persuade.” Nor is either of them a Catholic apologist in any form. They are not trying to defend the Catholic religion nor even to make it plausible for readers likely to reject it. They are Catholic novelists for all that, however, with a literary project far more profound—to display religion as inextricably woven into human life, or what the great Catholic poet Gerard Manley Hopkins would have described as its “inscape.” They are nothing like each other, their religious convictions are nothing alike, but between them Beha and Giraldi are redefining how religious fiction, especially Catholic fiction, might be written by those with small need to shout.
Religion is not like baseball. There are no baseball novels; there are only novels about baseball. True, a novel may be about religious faith, although to say this is to say very little about it—crucially, it is to say nothing whatever about the novel’s point of view toward religious faith. The greatest religious novels are written out of a religious discernment much the same way that surrealistic poetry is written out of a particular vision of reality: it soaks the work from top to bottom. Critics may go on complaining of a lack, but those who are looking for religious fiction written from the ground up should find themselves copies of the striking recent novels by William Giraldi and Christopher Beha.
Remember The Body of This? Author Andrew McNabb was an attendee at the first-ever Gerasene Writer’s Conference, way back in the day! We here at Korrektiv did our darnedest to push the book, and it looks as if our efforts may have borne some fruit. Lo and Behold, Wiseblood Books is reissuing the blessed thing (this is where you click to buy it), and best of all, there are NEW STORIES in it!
With 10 full days to go, we are astonishingly close to our goal of 301 likes! (We had no idea we were so likeable.) We sincerely thank each and every one of you for sharing Wiseblood with the world!!
In appreciation for your help, we’re raising the bar:
1) We’ll draw a name as soon as we reach 301 likes. The winner still gets any Wiseblood original of their choice, but they don’t have to wait until June 30 like a chump to get it.
2) If we reach 350 likes by June 30, we will draw a second name–this winner will receive an autographed copy of A Waste of Shame and Other Sad Tales of the Appalachian Foothills by Geoffrey Smagacz.
DISCLAIMER (FROM THE CATECHISM):
2413 Games of chance (card games, etc.) or wagers are not in themselves contrary to justice. They become morally unacceptable when they deprive someone of what is necessary to provide for his needs and those of others. The passion for gambling risks becoming an enslavement. Unfair wagers and cheating at games constitute grave matter, unless the damage inflicted is so slight that the one who suffers it cannot reasonably consider it significant.
“Here I went to mass with Samantha, happy as a man could be, ate Christ and held him to his word, if you eat me you’ll have life in you, so I had life in me. After mass we’d walk home to Paradise through the violet evening, the evening star hard by the red light of the TV tower like a ruby and a diamond in the plush velvet sky, and I’d skip with happiness, cut the fool like David while Samantha told elephant jokes, go home, light the briquets, drink six toddies, sing Tantum Ergo, and “Deh vieni alla finestra” from Don Giovanni and, while Samantha watched Gentle Ben, invite Doris out under the Mobile pinks, Doris as lusty and merry a wife then as a man could have, a fine ex-Episcopal ex-Apple Queen from the Shenandoah Valley. Oh Shenandoah, I long to see you.”
— Walker Percy, Love in the Ruins
I was perusing Hugh Hefner’s Twitter feed, as one does, when I happened upon this item from his Saturday Scrapbook collection:
I’m not sure what it means that two of the great architects of my childhood delight – Bill Cosby and Shel Silverstein – enjoyed playing croquet (and possibly other sporting activities) with the guy who founded Playboy magazine, but I did think it worth noting.
Those really were the glory days for ol’ Hef. Here’s a particularly witty cartoon from the magazine during that era:
I’ve given JOB long enough to post this; for some reason, he refuses, though his duty is clear. Oh, well. Ye Olde New Yorker has a fun piece on some guy named Tolkien who went and translated Beowulf and then never published it…
“…Spoilers proliferate. When Beowulf goes to meet the dragon, the poet tells us fully four times that the hero is going to die. As in Greek tragedy, the audience for the poem knew the ending. It knew the middle, too, which is a good thing, since the events of Beowulf’s fifty-year reign are barely mentioned until the dragon appears. This bothered many early commentators. It did not bother Tolkien. The three fights were enough. Beowulf, Tolkien writes in his essay, was just a man:
And that for him and many is sufficient tragedy. It is not an irritating accident that the tone of the poem is so high and its theme so low. It is the theme in its deadly seriousness that begets the dignity of tone: lif is læne: eal scæceð leoht and lif somod (life is transitory: light and life together hasten away). So deadly and ineluctable is the underlying thought, that those who in the circle of light, within the besieged hall, are absorbed in work or talk and do not look to the battlements, either do not regard it or recoil. Death comes to the feast.
According to Tolkien, ‘Beowulf’ was not an epic or a heroic lay, which might need narrative thrust. It was just a poem—an elegy. Light and life hasten away.”
Be sure to follow the link for a throwdown between J.R.R. and some clown named Seamus!