Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cleaning Up My Desktop

Random thoughts accumulating on the desktop of my mind over the past couple of days:

I was taught that Western civilization began with the Greeks. Now I’m wondering, will it also end with the Greeks, and their debt crisis?

I have never written a novel, much less have I been a bankable novelist, the kind a publisher goes back to year after year. So my thoughts about Catholic novelist Michael O’Brien, a franchise for Ignatius Press, may smell of sour grapes or simple ignorance. But it seems to me that if you are a novelist, or a published author of any stripe, each of your books should pass the first-book test. That is, would a publisher publish this novel if it were your first novel? Because I am over 700 pages into O’Brien’s 1000-page The Father’s Tale, and I find it hard to believe any publisher would bring out this book from a first-time author, not without a 50 percent page slash. It takes the protagonist over 600 pages just to get to where he’s going. And except that he probably shares many characteristics with O’Brien, and with me too, protagonist Alexander Graham is not even that interesting. Although his Russian is unbelievably fluent and his knowledge of Russian literature, church history, and theology encyclopedic.

Still, gems are scattered in this hayfield, including a fascinating meditation on the place of Russia in world history, particularly with regard to the end times.

One more thought before temporarily closing the O’Brien drawer. (If I ever finish this book, I will have much more to say.) . . . Can anyone recommend a non-fiction book about the schisms and other partings of the Way that have occurred since Christ’s death and resurrection that have resulted in, among others, the Russian Orthodox Church, the Greek ditto, the Ukrainian Catholic Church, the Copts, and so on . . . ? You recommend it and I promise to read it. Three and a half years a Catholic, I still haven’t sorted out any of this history.

There is nothing more moving than a funeral where the only people in attendance are close family and friends. I served at such a funeral today. It makes me wonder who will show up at my funeral. But as long as the celebrant is as compassionate and convincing as our own Fr. Ixon Chateau (cool name, hunh?), it will be fine. The new parochial vicar in our parish does a beautiful job with his funeral homilies and other comments to and prayers for the family. You don’t have to know the deceased to be moved by his dignity and love.

Is anyone watching the World Series outside the Central Time Zone? I don’t know a single player on either team, other than Albert Pujols, but I’m cheering for the Rangers, if only because it’s high time someone threw manager Ron Washington a bouquet. The Rangers?! Two years in a row?! Washington must have had something to do with that. And he chews a mean stick of gum.

Osama bin Laden killed. Khadafy out of commission (captured? dead? who knows). When will Obama get credit for his foreign-policy victories? Maybe when we pull out of Afghanistan? Maybe he will have to do some grandstanding over the European financial crisis, and good for him that he isn’t tempted. You can bet there’s as much going on through back channels over The Debt as there was over bin Laden.

Still, I can’t vote for Obama. As my friend Ferde says, I will have to vote for Donald Duck before I vote for someone so deaf to life. I hope Romney gets the Republican nomination. Although his social positions have proved more agile than a team of acrobats, the other likely Republican candidates look like idiots to me. Romney’s no idiot, and I think he could make a good president, better than Donald Duck anyway.


  1. Hi Webster--just stopping in! I knew the publisher of the first Tom Clancy book at the Naval Inst. Press.They are non-fiction publishers but when Jim started to read what became Hunt for Red October, he was sold on his first fiction enterprise---and enterprise it was, requiring months of careful editing. Once Clancy was recognized, he left NIP in the dust for greener pastures. Notice how very unedited these subsequent tomes are!! While gleaning huge profits, publishers lay down in the dough and don't bother with cutting and such like. Same with JK Rowling---long and rambling as they come (after the first success of course).
    On another note you sounded, Gadhafi is dead by all accounts--did you hear something else?
    And yes, let's stay away from idiots (fact is all the smart guys stay out of politics but maybe with the economy tanking we will see our success stories back in politics!)Time for a good dose of Dorothy Day for all.

  2. About the Greeks, who knows, maybe this is the end of capitalism. But what is there to replace it? I wish it could be the Christian idea of sharing the wealth.


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