Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Catholic Fiction: Talk ...and Action

Some time ago, someone out here in the E-cosmos wrote something complaining about how people no longer care about poetry. No, I do not have the e-link; moreover, it is not important, because I wrote a poem as a reply, which you can find here.

Now, I have recently read another discussion about fiction, specifically Catholic fiction, begun by a wonderful poet named Meredith, which you can find here. I am not going to enter that discussion, as interesting as it is, but because I have something to tell you - yes, I have a Purpose in this posting (some of the Tooks sat up and listened attentively, hee hee) - I must state that what I am about to tell you did not arise because of that discussion.

But perhaps I will write just a quick word on the issues raised by Meredith and her commenters. It is not an easy discussion to have, dealing with matters of classification as well as suitability for publication, and the difficulties related to getting one's writing published (in the sense of having it printed by an existing company which prints books). I cannot speak to that, but the issue of classification is hard enough to solve. I don't recall noticing that fiction is classed according to religion, but I understand "Catholic Fiction" to mean a story which either (1) includes Catholicism as a real part of the lives of its characters or (2) speaks to, or about, the Catholic faith, or (3) has a strong sense of the One True Story and reflects that One Light. Note: just because a writer is a practicing Catholic does not in itself make his work "Catholic" - though it should. But I am not writing about this, particularly, or as a scholastic endeavour to distinguish... you'll understand why shortly. This is a preamble to something else... a Purpose. (drum roll begins here)

Yes, for such diverse titles as The Man Who Was Thursday, Manalive, or the non-Father-Brown fiction of GKC, or Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings or Janney's The Miracle of the Bells or even Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth might be argued to be "Catholic" within one or the other of these senses... We are talking about fiction, not necessarily fantasy, but imaginary worlds which somehow have a Catholic style, or present uplifting characters (who may not be precisely Catholic, but act so)...

But when we say fiction, we aren't looking for technical texts, or dogmatic studies, or prayer books. We want a story. And as we all know (let's say it together) "Every short story does truly begin with creation and end with a last judgment." [GKC, The Everlasting Man CW2:379] But I am sure Uncle Gilbert will agree that perhaps this may also be true of longer stories.

Well, then. I have been moved to write something... and perhaps my writing might do for fiction what I previously did for poetry - but better, for that poem was a joke, and addressed the topic in counterargument by its very existence.

Yes, I have written a story. It may be considered "Catholic" in some sense, though it is not at all about details of doctrine or practice, except in the most incidental manner. The religion appears, in a manner similar to the way the food eaten by the characters appears: just as a matter of every-day life. When one writes about food in a story, one rarely bothers with the recipes, or the metabolism, or the intervening details of getting the food from the kitchen to the mouth. But typically one likes to hear what the meal was! In the same manner, one might wish to know a little more than the mere fact that someone "went to church" - without giving the dogmatic issues, the precise liturgical forms, a summary of the homily, or the interior dispositions of the characters (even assuming the author himself would dare to judge such things!) After all, I like Rex Stout's "Nero Wolfe" mysteries, and like to read what Fritz made for dinner; I like to hear about the altar and the statues in St. Michael's church in Russell Janney's Coaltown... But where am I to find a story which has food and Catholicism and humour, and believable technology, and that right mix of Chestertonian magic?

I don't know.

So, like the Little Red Hen, I have done it myself.

It is a mystery, of course, and is based on my own experiences, yet is quite a fantasy, since its world is now long past and vanished, as much as castles and dragons are gone.

But I think it is good, and I think you might also find it so (though you must remember it is a story, not a textbook or a tech manual or a prayerbook, hee hee!)

Very well. (Insert symbol crash here, hee hee)

So if you are ready for a new, Catholic (in some sense or other), Chestertonian, high-tech adventure, please go to:

and see for yourself: cable TV, cars, rock-and-roll, Latin, food, swimming, shipwrecks, puns, books, Greek, secret passages, Carmelites, magic, work, beer, murder, humour, drugs, love... all kinds of things. Very Chestertonian.

I hope you will enjoy it.

Paradoxically yours,
Dr. Thursday.

PS Yes, I know it's already been posted over on the ACS blogg and at Flying Stars, but I've been busy, hee hee. I have posted this now because there will most likely be other books forthcoming from this same source, and you may wish to get started reading. And if you do happen to know someone who deals with the printing of books, and is interested.... we may talk.

PS: I forgot to tell you that it has pictures...

Say - don't you wonder why they have Latin quotes on those big screens? Heh, heh. Yep, real Latin. And that, believe it or not, was based on reality. Very high tech.

A revised index - as of July 29, 2008

For your convenience, here is a revised (as of July 29, 2008) partial index to some of the items on this blogg. I hope it is useful. If you have any suggestions for improvements or additions, please let me know.
--Dr. Thursday

The Call
Three Calls
The QWERTY Parable
For Best Results, Set The Volume To Max
The Only Begotten
The Shape of Water
Why Mary Wears Blue
The Legend of Lance the Bird
Secret Arts
Playing Saul's Spot
Playing Saul's Spot (part II)
The Great

HalloweE.n coli
Ass, Ox, Sheep
Books, Ancient and Modern
Words (and) Knock Knock
Does Anyone Care About Poetry?
The Cross, the Price
How It Is Done
On Any Subject But the Queen: "A friend..."
O Generous Queen
Night Watcher
The Trillions of Planets Are Simply a Waste
Rusty Droppings
The Song of Laundry
The Logical Chestertonian
Timeout for Thanksgiving
Located In Kenya
Signed, Sealed, and Delivered

A Family Matter
Experienced Armies
Green, Green and Green
Mike's Job
Sean and the Professor: 1. How They Met


What Happened Then
The Meeting of GBS and GKC

The Division of the Waters
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 4

Light From the Rosary
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
(back cover)

On the Nature of the Papacy: Exploring Some Secular Parallels (excerpts)
Part 2:

Part 3: Metallurgy
Part 4: Bridge-building
Part 5: Computing
Part 7: The
Gift of the Papacy

Other Essays
A Prime

Enumerating the Rationals
My Favourite GKC Quotation
Math: fun and dangerous
Ron's Puzzle
31,536,000 Seconds, or Once Around the Sun
A Mathematician, a Catholic, and a Witch

GKC Motifs
Two Ways of Getting Home

Other short entertainments
Clock Day
Getting in Trouble with Ancient Rome
Revealing an Ancient Secret in The Vatican Code
Protection against Eetook
A Hero at Work: the Encoding Monkey
GKC: Why the Chicken Crossed the Road
Coat of arms for the Love2Learn "Word Gang"
My attempt at analyzing the Chicken/Road Joke

On Reason and Humour (Columns by Father Thomas, O.P.)
Three Monkeys

Advent 2005: A Jesse Tree

Week II
Note for Immaculate Conception

Week III

The Greater Feria/O Antiphons
Note for the O Antiphons

Week IV

Christmas Day!

Advent 2006: The Amino Acids and the Mysteries of the Holy Rosary


(alpha by amino acid)

Alanine - Joyful 2
Arginine - Luminous 2
Asparagine - Sorrowful 5
Aspartic Acid - Sorrowful 2
Cysteine - Sorrowful 1
Glutamic Acid - Sorrowful 3
Glutamine - Sorrowful 4
Glycine - Luminous 3
Histidine - Glorious 3
Isoleucine - Joyful 5
Leucine - Joyful 4
Lysine - Luminous 5
Methionine - Joyful 1
Phenylalanine - Glorious 1
Proline - Glorious 5
Serine - Luminous 1
Threonine - Luminous 4
Tryptophan - Glorious 4
Tyrosine - Glorious 2
Valine - Joyful 3

(by mystery)

First: Annunciation - Methionine
Second: Visitation - Alanine
Third: Nativity - Valine
Fourth: Presentation - Leucine
Fifth: Finding in the Temple - Isoleucine

First: Baptism - Serine
Second: Wedding at Cana - Arginine
Third: Proclamation of the Kingdom - Glycine
Fourth: Transfiguration - Threonine
Fifth: Eucharist - Lysine

First: Agony in Garden - Cysteine
Second: Scourging - Aspartic Acid
Third: Crowning with Thorns - Glutamic Acid
Fourth: Carrying of Cross - Glutamine
Fifth: Crucifixion - Asparagine

First: Resurrection - Phenylalanine
Second: Ascension - Tyrosine
Third: Descent of the Spirit - Histidine
Fourth: Assumption - Tryptophan
Fifth: Coronation: Proline

The End of It

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

And now for some real USER power...

I feel like Flynn resting in the broken Recognizer....

as the blue gleams of energy flow out and re-activate a long-dormant system!

Idou kaina poiw panta.
"Behold, I make all things new" Rv 21:5

But then, it is "the purpose of ALL programs to know and to serve their User" - which might be exerpted right from the Baltimore Catechism. Hee hee. Imagine someone making a movie with that kind of dogmatic theology these days!

Stay tuned for more adventures...
--Dr. Thursday

(Yes, I've been watching TRON recently, my sister gave it to me for my birthday. Awesome!)