Mel Gibson alert

mel2Paul Elie:

Gregory Wolfe in a memorable (if unappealing) formulation insists that the current generation of Catholic writers is a “whispering generation.” Which leads me to ask: Whispering why?

The answers usually have something to do with the state of the church or the state of the culture or some such.  But my approach to the issue begins with the conviction that literature is made by individual writers, not by the surrounding culture or the spirit of the age – by individual writers who for whatever reasons are (the religious word is undiminished here) inspired to make written works in some ways rather than others.

I wonder if the “whispering generation” is really a cowering generation – writers who are timid when they ought to be bold.

See also?

What The Korrektiv Did for Its October Vacation

Perhaps Percy’s most intriguing work, Lost in the Cosmos is a weird yet satisfying book – a hybrid of philosophical inquiry, satire, cultural analysis, multiple choice questions, thought experiments and (“What the hell, why not?” you can hear Percy say) even fiction. Perhaps the book most closely resembles Melville’s own loose but not-so-baggy monster, Moby Dick. But Lost in the Cosmos stands well on its own. The quality and quantity of presenters at the conference attested to its enduring worth—with more than 40 papers covering everything from liturgy to pornography to interstellar exploration to mimetic theory to Marshall McLuhan.

“Which movie do you want to see?”


The Catholic Beat reviews Surfing with Mel!

Happy All Souls Day from Covington

photo copy 8

Pictured, clockwise from upper left: Matthew, Deirdre, Bunt, Walker

Korrektiv New Orleans Confidential


Surfing with Mel available for pre-order

Spread the word.


Flannery and Me


The New Mexico Nurse (long since transplanted here to La Mesa, where all good people live) was kind enough to email and let me know that the latest issue of the New Yorker magazine carried a collection of excerpts from the grad-school (some place in Iowa?) journal of Flannery O’Connor. The entries are addressed to God. I haven’t read them yet (waiting ’til I can savor), except for the line “Please help me to get down under things and find where You are,” which naturally jumped out at me, and the last bit, which I couldn’t help but notice:

My thoughts are so far away from God. He might as well not have made me. And the feeling I egg up writing here lasts approximately half an hour and seems a sham. I don’t want any of this artificial superficial feeling stimulated by the choir. Today I have proved myself a glutton – for Scotch oatmeal cookies and erotic thought. There is nothing left to say of me.

Isn’t it fun to find you have things in common with one of your heroes? Scratch “oatmeal cookies” and replace “half an hour” with “five minutes,” and it could be me writing that entry! Just not, you know, in the New Yorker.

Happy Labora Day!


Big news. Labora Editions is going to do a print run of my very recent historical fiction Surfing with Mel. Naturally, I’d be thrilled about any kind of print run, but Labora Editions isn’t just any kind of publisher.

Not too terribly long ago books were works of craft, at least, often works of art. So it shall be again, I believe. I call Labora Editions a publishing studio, rather than a company, because I alone constitute the whole operation at present, but also because the quality to which I aspire is of a kind more native to art than to commerce.

Release date is October 1. Please spread the word. And keep checking Labora Editions for production photos!

Because nothing is more interesting than someone else’s dreams

I dreamed I was a priest receiving the news of Matthew Lickona’s earlyish death.

Trolle, Lege

comic extant


Now maybe were Alphonse an alien….


Matthew wouldn’t hate me so much for posting this little tidbit of massively hemorrhaging success

(The Easter egg within the roiling cauldron of envy, of course, is that such things can lead one to the dizzying edge of hope…)

How the heck did I miss this?

Miss Ellen interviews Mr. Matthew … and does crackerjack job of it.

Join the fray…

USA. New York. 1950.

Where they discuss the not-so-usual suspects – including you and you and you and you and and you and you and…!


Lost Renoir Discovered


Desert Years or, Forty Lines (To Be Performed As a Quartet of Cocktails) in Which an Otherwise Staid Grammarian Dons His Buffo Cap-n-Bells to Tease out a Paean to Age and Wisdom and Hammer out a Good Riddance to Youth and Folly



To Matthew

I. Prologue
Before that booze and business of the sharpened pen
Began for you, your early training took a look
At primer lines, a triple-stitch of pen-lined track
That shaped and drove your words with sober sense. And then
You learned to hold your liquored ink with limes and gin,
To jig your syntax, pour your words in equal parts.
These forty years you’ve freighted life with art and arts
Have kept your straight-and-narrow crooked and cracked awry
Enough to balance bitter prayers with sweetened rye –
A doubled up Manhattan with cheery cherry hearts.

II. Adjectives
Before you wed or fathered, adjectives became
Your necessary evil (fruitless, sparse, morose) –
Such drossy throwaways, from pages of loess,
Alluvial paragraphs, diamonds in the gravel all the same…
But, writerly and forty, adjectives now come
To you as sharp as clocks with ticks that whittle your stick
Of wants and desires to memories (anachronistic),
Of days and hours to moments (funereal);
But minute hands have also held you (prodigal)
With verbs that drank (prodigious) and loved (prolific).

III. Verbs
And let’s linger a bit on these timely verbs of yours,
The ones that peg your heart and date you to degrees
You’ve lost with bachelorhood. All stormy seas
Are transitive calendars. On yours, you bent your oars
To fight the flood the intransitive tide implores.
But then a simple verb of being linked your bliss
To Juno’s paycocks and fairer fowl: for love is
Like Noah’s pigeon feathers. Brassy nib and beak
Both hunt and peck unbroken ground to seek
That person, place or thing of love – the is of does.

IV. Nouns
We come at last to blocks that spill upon the floor,
And build from words to names to children: Winn,
Therese, Elijah, Olivia, Isaac, Fin
Each child has your byline (each lamb you held before
You, marveling that the power of creation bore
Such tiny headlines). The power that thoughts to paper give,
All verbs receive as wholly nouns; each adjective
Of youth and folly yields to something more worthy:
What fathered forth from these, your desert years to forty,
By age and wisdom that fast became your feast of love.

This one goes out to Matthew on his birthday

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A young Catholic grows old

A young Catholic grows old

Good Country People: Play Me lyric video