Saturday, December 29, 2012

July: “I’ve Shaved the Beard, But I Haven’t Lost My Enthusiasm”

July was my first full month home since March. I was back from the Camino de Santiago (left) and preparing a talk about it, which I gave twice before the impulse petered out. 

But the desire still burns. Not only to do another Camino, maybe as early as 2014, but also to prepare a longer-lived one-man show.

This is something I’ve dreamed of doing since I saw Hal Holbrook in the original Broadway production of “Mark Twain Tonight” in 1966. I’ve done a short piece on Walt Whitman for a CL get-together. Now I’ve done a beta-version Camino piece.

I have two other ideas in mind, and this leads to my next resolution:

The first idea is to write and stage a one-man show based on Sigrid Undset’s The Master of Hestviken. I’ve called this four-book series about a 13th-century Norwegian man, Olaf Audunson, the best books I ever read. In July, I wrote a post about a new collection of essays by Undset. She remains an abiding passion: a Catholic convert like me, best known for Kristin Lavransdatter, and one of the few female winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature (1928).

If Undset is my favorite novelist, then Norman Maclean is my favorite writer of nonfiction. My other one-man-show idea is to transform his great book Young Men and Fire into a performance piece. Like The Master of Hestviken, Young Men is an old man’s story—making it an ideal vehicle for a guy too old to play Hamlet, who may still have some Lear left in him.

So my resolution for 2013: To inquire after the secondary rights for both The Master of Hestviken and Young Men and Fire, and to secure the live performance rights for one or the other so that I can proceed with the dream.


  1. Please Webster be sure to let us know if you do anything with Master of H!! We will come to Boston for that...and maybe you could travel on the Crossroads circuit with it?!
    Also in response to another post, I think the work you did on and with Guardini was amazing so even if your "friend" to whom the posts were addressed did not respond, know that none of that is wasted and all the better for the revisiting. I think you have so much in common with Fr Giussani-- not just your book preferences but first and foremost your desire to share, accompany, and be accompanied toward change (conversion) profoundly human and quintessentially catholic.

  2. Thanks, Suzanne. God bless all my friends in The Movement.

  3. Hi Webster - I really enjoyed your series of posts on the Camino, very moving and the best writing I have come across on the complexities in motivation and the various received.

    Best wishes Kevin

  4. that should have read ...........on the complexities in motivation and the various Graces received.


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