Archives for August 2012

New Bob

Surprize Me

Speaking of prizes, there’s this from our friends over at the New Orleans Review:

“We are now accepting entries for the 2012 Walker Percy Prize in Short Fiction ($1000 prize) until December 12, 2012. Visit our submissions manager to enter.”

Inspired by faith, Catholic businessman seeks to underwrite beauty in Catholic fiction

(This article first appeared in the August 23 issue of The Catholic Times, newspaper of the Diocese of La Crosse)

The modern Catholic fiction writer has a tough row to hoe. On the one hand, he is expected by his fellow Catholics, at least those unfamiliar with the complexities of modern literature, to write simple moral stories where good wins out over evil, the princess is saved and happily ever after becomes the only acceptable conclusion to a story.

On the other hand, the Catholic fiction writer is also hoping to reach out to the modern non-Catholic and mostly non-Christian reader with the assumption that his story is worth hearing – and yet he must not say too much about the “R word” (religion) lest his readership begin heading in a panic for the exits.

The 20th century southern Catholic writer Flannery O’Connor puts the dilemma this way in her 1957 essay “The Church and the Fiction Writer:”

“Part of the complexity of the problem for the Catholic fiction writer will be the presence of grace as it appears in nature, and what matters for him is that his faith not become detached from his dramatic sense and from his vision of what-is. No one in these days, however, would seem more anxious to have it become detached than those Catholics who demand that the writer limit, on the natural level, what he allows himself to see.”

In fact, besides being pressured by secular and Catholic readers to fit into their own notions of what fiction should be, the Catholic writer’s row is made all the tougher to hoe because of the dearth of publishing houses willing to give Catholic writers a chance to show that they can write compelling, well-written and grace-infused stories for the Catholic and non-Catholic alike.

But Boston businessman Peter Mongeau is doing his best to make sure that the Catholic writer does find a voice within the milieu of today’s bestseller lists.

Fed a steady diet of good Catholic fiction throughout his life – including works by O’Connor, Graham Greene, G.K. Chesterton, Walker Percy, and Evelyn Waugh – Mongeau has started Tuscany Press, a startup publishing company which seeks to provide the Catholic fiction writer a platform and the Catholic fiction reader a lodestone for quality storytelling. He’s also announced an annual prize through the press which pays winning fiction manuscripts in cash and publication contracts.

A graduate of Boston University, Mongeau received his master’s in business administration from Boston College. After working in New York City for a time in the investment field, he returned with his wife and four children to Boston.

Boston bookworm

It was in Beantown that Mongeau first got the itch to enter the publishing business.

Before starting Tuscany this past June, Mongeau had already founded Christus Publishing, a Catholic press which specializes in books on traditional Catholic spirituality, with a strong emphasis on Carmelite writers.

As coordinator of his parish’s book club, Mongeau became familiar with Catholic publishing and noticed a demand for books on Catholic spirituality – which led to his starting Christus. Developing plans to expand the number and kinds of Christus’ titles, Mongeau noticed the hunger for quality fiction.

“As I looked into expanding Christus, I kept running into two things,” he said. “First, that people were looking for Catholic fiction along the lines of Flannery O’Connor, Chesterton, Percy, and Graham Greene, the Catholic literary novels of the 50s and 60s,” he said. “Second, there was a dearth of modern-day Catholic fiction.”

Talent and treasure

Consulting publishers, literary agents and writers, Mongeau undertook an analysis of the publishing industry which led him to recognize an underserved market of writers and readers.

“I thought there was a definite need from a reader’s perspective in terms of Catholic fiction and from a writer’s perspective with people writing Catholic fiction but couldn’t get published,” he said. “So that’s how Tuscany Press was born.”

Mongeau also took his cue to start a Catholic fiction publishing house from the writings of Blessed John Paul II. Quoted on Tuscany’s website (, the late pontiff’s 1999 “Letter to Artists” encourages writers to use their talents to promote a culture of life.

“In order to communicate the message entrusted to her by Christ, the Church needs art,” John Paul II writes. “Art must make perceptible, and as far as possible attractive, the world of the spirit, of the invisible, of God. It must therefore translate into meaningful terms that which is in itself ineffable…. The Church has need especially of those who can do this on the literary and figurative level, using the endless possibilities of images and their symbolic force.”

In Tuscany’s light

It was another Christian writer – Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky – who led Mongeau to naming his foundling press after the picturesque region of central Italy.

“Dostoevsky said that ‘Beauty will save the world,’” Mongeau said. “God is beauty and one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been has been Tuscany. That’s why I chose the name – it’s where I found beauty. When I was out in Tuscany, it epitomized the beauty we have in art – and the beauty that God provided us in this world.”

While Mongeau is banking on beauty being a bestseller, he also wants to sweeten the deal for writers – by attracting them to Tuscany with a literary prize. With cash awards and publication in the novel, novella and short story categories, the Tuscany Fiction Prize has four criteria, Mongeau said.

“Is it a good story? Is it well written? Does it capture the imagination of the reader? And does it have the presence of God?” he said. “If a book doesn’t have these four things, it’s not going to be good Catholic fiction.”

This last criteria – the presence of God – Mongeau acknowledges, isn’t a matter of making sure God is a character in the novel so much as the writer sees in a fallen world a possibility for redemption. He stresses that the Catholic imagination seeks to bring God to readers “symbolically, subtly and deliberately.”

“The Catholic imagination takes into consideration the whole world as we know it, as we live it, as we believe it,” he said. “God is present in the world and events don’t just happen. There is a God, a living God who is active in the world in which we live.”

The deadline is Sept. 30, he said, and already he’s being inundated with manuscripts in all three categories.

“The prize is there to encourage writers to take up the craft of writing Catholic fiction and stories, to promote Catholic fiction and to recognize the talent when it comes along,” he said.

Rewriting the market

Optimistic about the success of Tuscany Press, Mongeau said the publishing world is vastly different from what it was before the so-called information age dawned.

“The barriers to entry are lower today in publishing than they’ve ever been,” Mongeau said. “Technology has provided the ability to start a publishing company on short dollars. While it’s still significant dollars, it’s not like it was years ago. The industry has changed dramatically in 15 years.”

In those 15 years, Mongeau said, the advent of online distribution through Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and the creation of e-book platforms – Kindle, Nook and I-Book – have led to an explosion of independent publishing houses.

“The distribution channel alone has changed dramatically,” he said. “If you’re selling books through Barnes & Noble, Amazon and electronically [through e-books], I’d say you have over 50-60 percent of your distribution channel. Plus you have global worldwide distribution that way also.”

In addition, it goes without saying, Mongeau said, that Tuscany Press is also taking advantage of the social media empires to spread the word about Catholic fiction – including Facebook, Twitter and a blog which Mongeau maintains on Tuscany’s website.

“We have to go out there and prove that Catholic fiction works, and is written well, and there is a market for people to buy Catholic fiction,” Mongeau said. “But we do believe we can do this.”

For more information about Tuscany Press or the Tuscany Prize for Catholic Fiction, call (781) 424-9321 or contact Peter Mongeau at

The Extemporary Reflections of Marquis de Grouchy

Le monde est plein de fous… -Le Petit

What is history but a fable written by fools?

Or the mirror’s vaunting – as if necessity could be
Reclaimed by parting hairs split to their roots
The way the Greeks had before the tumbled gates
Of Thermopylae would yield to history –
(The price of fame? The cost of being there…
The price of anonymity? Ah! But who would care?)
And Sparta, greasing up, combed and handsomely oiled
For one more shouting jag with spear and shining shield,
Knew that any final preening primps and glances
Wouldn’t hurt nor help survive their chances.

Or the mirror’s haunting – as if mortality can
Capture alive even by a winking sidelong
Glimpse at the backside of one’s head (Wouldn’t Armstrong
Forget to live or breathe or ride a bike or dance?
Or remember weightlessness, pulling on his pants?
Or sigh in frequent out-of-spacesuit-experiences
As evening stilled the wind, saddened the autumn air?
He turns the porch light down low: full moonrise out, out there –
A bald spot on the dark side of nostalgia says,
“Unreachable now – or ever again.”).

Or the mirror’s taunting – as if passivity mixed
In great men and small souls coincidentally
Imparted smarting clarity, an explanation
Of what occurred on St. Helena, colonized
After Waterloo and Wellington: champagne
Luncheons surrendering secrets of each campaign
With rue as fragrantly bitter as the weed it baptized –
(Ah, un malheur ne vient jamais seul!)
What Josephine saw in her modest vanity
As she sat and primped in history’s boudoir –

The abattoir of sanity! The playground of the fool!


All is Vanity

Angelico Press, you say? Hmmmm…

What has our nostalgic and handsome friend been up to?

And looky here at this cover! Strangely familiar, that.

New WordPress Plugin


“I wish my mother had aborted me.”

The mystery of suffering.

My weekend on retreat at Prince of Peace Abbey

Oh, I do love me some Benedictines…

Favorite hymn (though the hymns can never quite match the psalms…)

The abbot kindly asked me if I wanted to try this out – perfect for the weak Catholic afraid of death…

The Seventh Station, the Second Fall:  pray to resist discouragement.

And finally, what sort of graffiti do you find on the wall in the bathroom at a Benedictine monastery?

It sure beats the stuff on the garage door at my parish!

A wonderful weekend, a genuine retreat.  There seems to be a pretty strong Benedictine vibe around here.  We should get sponsorship.

It’s the Same Underneath


The boys of…winter?

There seems to be something twitching in the cultural scalp that’s got so many folks itching about the fate of boyhood.

There’s this little gem from the fellow over at Wondermark which is just a hoot.

But it got me thinking about Hanna Rosin’s recent report in the Atlantic (WARNING: Much stripping of mystery and manners to the crude and obscene throughout):

One of the women had already seen the [porn] photo five times before her boyfriend showed it to her, so she just moved her pitcher of beer in front of his phone and kept on talking. He’d already suggested twice that night that they go to a strip club, and when their mutual friend asked if the two of them were getting married, he gave the friend the finger and made sure his girlfriend could see it, so she wouldn’t get any ideas about a forthcoming ring. She remained unfazed. She was used to his “juvenile thing,” she told me.

Which in turn reminded me of Jeff Minick’s piece in Chronicles (WARNING: much discussion of the restoration of mystery and manners throughout):

We begin by teaching boys from an early age the romance and adventure of life. How did the adolescent who played a high-minded knight-errant evolve into a sullen, nihilistic teenager? How did that same adolescent become the 30-year-old who wears his baseball cap backward, plays more video games than the teenager, and lives with his parents? Boys who come of age watching sex and violence in movies, or the cynicism offered by most television comedies, who listen to loveless music drenched in ugliness and despair, who possess no sense of responsibility or consequence, will likely join Peter Pan’s tribe of Lost Boys. To buck this trend, we must keep a vigilant watch on the culture. To grow men, we must teach our boys heroism, taking our models from literature, movies, and living examples.

Which in turn recalled that this book will be coming out sometime soon:

From his celebrated appearance, hatchet in hand, in Parson Mason Locke Weems’s Life of Washington to Booth Tarkington’s Penrod, the all-American boy was an iconic figure in American literature for well over a century. Sometimes he was a “good boy,” whose dutiful behavior was intended as a model for real boys to emulate. Other times, he was a “bad boy,” whose mischievous escapades could be excused either as youthful exuberance that foreshadowed adult industriousness or as deserved attacks on undemocratic pomp and pretension. But whether good or bad, the all-American boy was a product of the historical moment in which he made his appearance in print, and to trace his evolution over time is to take a fresh view of America’s cultural history, which is precisely what Larzer Ziff accomplishes in All-American Boy.

For the Neko Case fans in the house…

…a bit of thoroughly nasty satire, starring Ms. Case as a blonde pop tart. This should probably be on the Supplemental (it comes within a finger-width of being its own entry for Today in Porn), but I don’t have access over there.

“The once-dignified portrait now resembles a crayon sketch of a very hairy monkey in an ill-fitting tunic…”

Her predicament reminds me of this.

The Epicure of Turin, Wisconsin

A slightly plump middle-aged man with a wave of blond hair that struck a curious contrast with his black clerics, Father Torkel Erlandson sat before the deep dish of steaming penne all vodka, studied it, and then gave thanks to his senses.

“To my eyes for catching the glistening pink cream dripping through the textured tubes,” he whispered as he set his elbows on the table, flanking the plate, and folded his hands, as if in prayer. “To my olfaction for the delightful pungency of acids and bases mingling with the sour yet pleasant hint of liquor rising in the steam.”

He next thanked his hearing for the pleasure of the fork’s clink against the chinaware. He thanked the nerve endings on his fingers and lips – the fingers to feel the texture of the dinner roll serving as soft buttress to the fork’s tensile strength pushing at the payload of penne – the lips to tease the tongue as the penne brushed them like sticky fingers stretching and straining to touch the taste buds…

The taste buds.

No, not taste buds. Bliss-bringing nodules of Nirvana! – Bleb-vessels of Valhalla! – The very Holy of Holies!

Allowing himself a small irreverence, as penne and tongue became one, Father Erlandson paraphrased Solomon… My dove, in the clefts of my palate, in the hollow places of my mouth, show me thy taste!

As he drew in the perfect network of flavors and textures, the priest looked around the restaurant, chewing with heartiness and considering his good fortune.

He had to laugh at himself. Two months seemed like two centuries ago.

When Bishop Linseed told him he was going to be reassigned to St. Florian Parish in Turin, a little town in the northernmost part of the diocese, his heart sank like that gold watch his grandfather had given, slipping through his hands into the tannic murk of the Mississippi backwaters.

It was a sunny September day, as he recalled, and, for late Midwestern summer, unseasonably cool. And it was the colder weather that got his grandfather out there so early – usually they waited until October. He told young Tork – as he was called back then – that he worried about an abridged autumn and wanted to get out on the river pulling the snapper traps before winter had a chance to seal the river.

His grandfather had that morning given him a battle-tested gold watch as a going away present – he was going to start high school seminary in a few weeks. The moment he saw it, he was crazy about the watch – it was his grandfather’s, he knew, when he was a rail man working for Union Pacific on its Mississippi lines, but he only knew it as the watch he brought to Mass. Tork would see it twice during that time – once to untangle it from his billfold at collection time and once at the end of Mass when, after kneeling in the front pew before the tabernacle to say a final prayer, he pulled it out as if he were looking for a polite way to take his leave of the Lord. Well, look at that, Lord, don’t time like to get on a bit?

In all its fazed gleam and heft, the watch was waiting for him on the breakfast table beside his plate of sugar-cured bacon butt and three fried eggs. Inlaid with a silver intaglio of a buff and burly English R-Class under full steam in tandem with its tender, the watch’s case was scratched with a million miles of his grandfather’s watching time, timing couplings, counting releases, recording junctions, scheduling sidings, formulating interchanges, calculating roundhouses and so on… Tork popped open the case and noticed it was one of those watches that had the Roman numeral four written as four I’s – “IIII.” It also had a small crack at the top of the glass protecting its face – such that it blotted out the XII and, he noticed after he wound it up, that whenever the second, minute or hour hand ducked under the crack, it too was obliterated until it came out on the other side, passing on to the first hour.

Later that morning, out on the river, in the course of retrieving the empty wire cage traps, young Johnny started reaching to pull up one of the wire boxes from its stake. In his other hand, dispite repeated gentle warnings from his grandfather, he carelessly held the watch – the same hand that was now gripping the john boat’s gunwale as he cantilevered for the trap. Leaning too far, Tork’s foot slipped from its wedged position between seat and bow. As he recovered his balance, he only had time enough to see the honey glint of the watch’s metal shimmer into muddy oblivion.

He heard a cry and turned to see his grandfather, morose with grief, watching the spot where the watch dropped out of sight. It was a long moment of long silence, broken at last by the chatter of an otter poking its head like a piece of blunt iron out of the water near a fallen log on the far bank and the scything rush of a pair of sand hill cranes’ wings as they loped across the morning sky. Johnny didn’t know whether to speak – and his grandfather only straightened himself up, pulled on the ripcord to start the outboard and winked at his grandson.

“Well, as a priest, I don’t suppose you’ll be worrying much about time anyway.”

Both tried to laugh but knew it was futile. As the gift was given in secret, no one but Johnny and his grandfather knew about it. Afterwards, when others would ask his grandfather whatever happened to the watch, his reply would leave the inquisitor to puzzle it out on his own: “Well, I already put in my time in the Mississippi.”

But he always thought back to the watch – and the cry. He was never sure – was it he or his grandfather that cried that morning? He never asked him.

It was a similar though quieter cry that he let out in the bishop’s office that day – but since the bishop was speaking at full bore he didn’t notice.

“…and the reason I’d like you to take on St. Florian’s,” the bishop continued, sitting small behind his oak and cherry desk, “is because it had some little trouble up there in recent months and it was too much for poor Father Fisher to handle.”

“Yes, your excellency.”

“Now, Torkel, I know it’s not what you’re used to, but I think a little time with the country folk might do you some good,” the bishop continued, rolling right over Father Erlandson’s squeak of obsequiousness. “Besides, they’re your kind of people, arent’ they? You’re from Norwegian stock, aren’t you?”

“Yes, your excellency – actually, I’m Swed –“

“Well, good,” the bishop said, looking at his ringed right hand as it pretended to feel the heft of the ballpoint pen that was to sign Father Erlandson’s walking papers. “I also hear you’re a bit of a horse enthusiast. Plenty of pasture land to ride your ponies up there, you know.”

So, the village of Turin had a population of 365 people – one for each day of the year. Like a once proud rock formation, its pronunciation was gradually deformed by an epoch of local usage from the original Italian metropolis famous for the Shroud into a word that rhymes with “urine.” It’s people were good and simple and probably had simple tastes.

Thinking of those simple tastes, Father Erlandson found himself in a farewell revery when he noticed that the bishop had suddenly stopped playing with the pen. His face reddened with the effort as he pulled his chair into the desk and leaned over in the manner of a confidant.

“Matter fact, Torkel, you didn’t know this, I know, but my first assignment was in a neighboring parish – a sister parish – Sacred Heart down the road, over in Wynesville,” he said and just as quickly pulling back in his chair.

“Of course,” sitting back now and flashing Father Erlandson that famous Linseed look that always seemed to be saying What I’m going to say next is the most important thing you will hear today if not all week, “Sacred Heart’s closed now. Been so for about 20 years.”

Bishop Linseed was a small barrel-chested man with gunmetal hair and grave features that would occasionally soften into a quizzical smile. It was a smile that an observer would note came from some interior jest or turn of humor rather than external pressures – as it came to life at the most surprising times. When he was delivering a mostly academic and uninteresting homily, it would creep across his face like a basement cat eluding a flashlight beam. When he was at a public function, sitting and listening to the endless palaver of a Rotary speech, it would settle like a lap dog and when the speaker would make the usual attempt at a humorous anecdote it would just as quickly scurry away.

The bishop’s driver, Father Robert Anson, a classmate of Father Erlandson, said the smile would come on almost like clockwork whenever they were driving on the state highway out of Hennepin, heading for a confirmation or a meeting with the other bishops in the province.

“I didn’t notice at first,” Father Anson told Father Erlandson once as they sat in shorts and t-shirts, drinking beers and watching a Sunday football game on TV. “But one day, we were going to the Diocese of Madison for the spring meeting of the bishops, I got enough guts to start a conversation and as I looked over to say the first word I noticed him smiling that smile. Then just like that it was gone again – and it was pure Linseed the rest of the trip.”

Father Anson threw out his lower lip and contorted his face to look as much like an angry turtle as possible and he began aping the usual litany of commands which became the extent of conversation on car trips with the bishop.

“‘Rosary…. Life Savers…..Brevary….Cell phone….Life Savers… Divine Mercy Chaplet…Life Savers.’” Then coming out of character, Father Anson would quickly add, shrugging his shoulders. “Always with the Life Savers – always after prayers.”

Like Father Erlandson, Bishop Charles Linseed was a native of the Diocese of Hennepin, and like the good father he spent most of his seminary days in Rome. His background was mostly citified – the bishop came from a family that made its money in logging – but as the Hennepin diocese was mostly rural – a quiltwork of forests and dairy farms stitched together with cities sustained by paper mills and breweries – even the citified had a secret share of the country.

Most of Bishop Linseed’s priests would be surprised to learn that he loved getting out on a Saturday morning with pole and flies to do some fishing in one of the diocese’s covert trout streams. It was, Father Erlandson knew, a secret that the bishop did not want too many of his priests knowing – and Father Erlandson only knew because he happened to be giving his horse a stretch of the leg one early morning and stopped to let the creature water. As the horse lapped eagerily at the cold current, Father Erlandson looked up and on the opposite bank of the stream he saw – well, what did he see?

“I didn’t notice him at first – not as the bishop, anyway,” Father Erlandson said. “Then gradually, it dawned on me … He was all done up in a pair of moldy green hip waders and a red buffalo plaid shirt and fishing vest. He was unpacking his tackle and he had on – Bob, you’re not going to believe this – but he had on a baseball hat that said ‘Las Vegas – Get Lucky!’ across the front. I tell you I just about fell off poor Pedasos seeing him there. And I think Linseed saw me about the same time I saw him.”

“What did he do? – what did you do?” Father Anson asked, recovering from the laughter, now ignoring the crushing offensive drive being executed on TV by the team in green against the team in purple. He grabbed a handful of pretzels from the bowl between them to sustain him for the finale.

“I don’t know – I guess we just waved to each other is all,” Father Erlandson replied, thinking hard because to be honest he hadn’t thought about what he or the bishop did after that. That he knew the bishop’s secret, he thought, seemed enough. “Pedasos was done about that time, too. So we just sorta moseyed off. But it’s funny – because I could have sworn just as I was turning her around to get back on the path – I could have sworn I saw the bishop make a motion.”

“What kind of motion?”

“I don’t know…he was either putting his index finger to his lips or…,” Father Erlandson suddenly tiring of the topic, waved the whole thing off, “Maybe he was going to pick his nose for all I know. Hey, look, they scored.”

Now he watched Bishop Linseed filling out the paperwork that was going to send him far from the 1,200 families of his sweet downtown Hennepin St. Michael the Archangel Parish. It wasn’t that Hennepin was itself any great shakes – it had a modest row of rather good restaurants – but more importantly, a bridge span across the Mississippi and a short shot up the Interstate gave him access to the toothsome possibilities of the Twin Cities.

In little more than ten minutes he could cross over into Minnesota on a Sunday night with none the wiser that for the last ten years Father John Erlandson had been holding back a few dollars – ten here, twenty there – from each of his Mass stipends (of which diocesan custom more than any canonical stricture called for priests to give half as alms to a favorite charity and half to the front porch ministry run out of the cathedral’s rectory.). A priest for the last 15 years, Father Erlandson still got the thrill of administering the sacraments, but he never questioned whether the thrill had lately become somewhat, well – mixed. It never occurred to him that he might be practicing a mild form of simony. For when he heard the phone ring, it triggered a habit in his mind which automatically prepared to triage the request waiting on the other end of the line.

Funerals. Upside: better than a memorial Mass – but only by a little. It meant a good read of the menu from the Tora Tora Japanese Steakhouse instead of the more quotidian Windmill Steakhouse (which is to say, the Tora Tora used imported massaged beef while the Windmill stuck to a choice of Wisconsin grass-fed and Nebraska corn-fed.). Downside: Stipend usually only amounted to what was left over in the family’s budget after the funeral director took his share.

Baptisms. Upside: two or three would fetch pretty much anything on The Blue Dauphin’s menu – including a bouillabaisse worth re-storming the Bastille for. Downside: less common than funerals – usually once every three months.

Weddings (the granddaddy of them all!). Upside: The stipend from one alone meant unobstructed access to Donny DiSciascio’s ingenious menu – anything and everything on it, literally, from soup to nuts. Downside: Least common of all – once or twice a year.

A “white-flight Joiseyite” as he liked to call himself, DiSciascio managed the Playboy Casino’s Atlantic City food service division before moving out to the Midwest. He was first generation Sicilian-American – and it showed. His parents were born and raised in Sicily – and as far as Father Erlandson was concerned there was no place on this side of the Atlantic to match the feats of plate and bowl that Donny’s parents had handed on, simmered, infused or sautéed, in ragu, olive oil or garlic, to their son. His restaurant was, for Father Erlandson, Mecca, Rome and Jerusalem all in one 1,200 square foot eatery, sheated in frayed linoleum and naugahyde, sticking out the back end of Minneapolis’ anywhere.

But now, even after all that had gone away, as if his grandfather’s long lost gold watch were recovered, he was sitting on a throne of contentment in the corner of a Wisconsin tavern, watching patrons push beer into their gullets and offer each other high fives as they watched sports on TV. The tavern was not yet busy – as he always ate early on Sundays to escape the dinner crowds.

He reached for his wine glass – actually a pilsner glass – filled with Chianti and raised it to his nose. In a whisper softer than the sotto voce thanksgiving that opened the meal, he exclaimed. “Now that’s a bouquet!”

“The librarian shall have charge of the library…”

The King Applies Another Korrektiv



That Southern Expat reminded me of the splendid Eve Tushnet.

That the splendid Eve Tushnet reminded me of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s new short story in The New Yorker.

That F. Scott Fitzgerald’s new short story in The New Yorker treats of grace in the manner in which it does.

While we wait for the heat to break…

…here’s a little video my brother made of our hometown in winter…

Winter Lights from Mark Thomas Lickona on Vimeo.