Croquet may be on hold today. I woke up this morning thinking maybe I should re-start this blog, and now the weather may keep me inside and off the lawn. Call it the confirmation of the heavens.
So, while waiting to see if my 9 a.m. game is on or off, here are a few things that have come up in Webster World since my last post four and a half months ago.
I have not been blogging because I’ve been writing my memoir. I find that I only have so much creative writing energy to spend each day, and I’m pouring it into my book. I have written 125,000 words, with maybe 30,000 left to go. Then I probably will be counseled to cut it back to 100,000-125,000.
After all, who needs to know so much about me?
But so now I am blogging again? Who really knows if this impulse will continue? But as the publication date for my book nears (private or public, who knows?) I will probably want to use this blog to let people know about it. So—
Did I mention that I am playing croquet? Since February, when Katie and I spent three weeks in the vicinity of the Sarasota County Croquet Club, I have played in eight tournaments and lowered my handicap from 10 to 5. Here’s the web site for the US Croquet Association, with lots of stuff about the American six-wicket game.
And here’s a great 4-minute summary of what hooks you (or me anyway) about this game:
This year in Maine, when I am not playing croquet, I am mostly reading John Henry Newman, thanks partly to a wonderful synthesis of his writings, The Heart of Newman, compiled many years ago by Jesuit theologian Erich Przywara. I picked up a copy at the book shop adjacent to St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Mass., and it has inspired me to learn more about the 19th-century convert from my old commmunion, the Anglican Church.
The book has led me back to Newman’s Apologia Pro Vita Sua and to a wonderful quote that has provided a new title and epigraph for my memoir. My memoir concerns falling away from Christianity around age 20 and falling under the influence of an alternative spiritual system; losing my way amid considerable pain and suffering; and ultimately my return to Christianity in its original, Roman Catholic form.
The quote from the Apologia is a healer for anyone who has run spiritually aground:
“Certainly, I have always contended that obedience even to an erring conscience was the way to gain light, and that it mattered not where a man began, so that he began on what came to hand, and in faith; and that any thing might become a divine method of Truth; that to the pure all things are pure, and have a self-correcting virtue and a power of germinating.”
“To the pure, all things are pure” is straight from Paul’s letter to Titus. And it has given me my title: All Things Are Pure: My Life with the “World’s Greatest Magician.” Given the circumstances of my life around age 20-25, to be able to conclude that all things are pure is nothing short of miraculous. (Well, you have to read the book . . . )
Speaking of Newman, my first pastor and early Catholic inspiration, Fr. David Barnes, has been appointed the director of the Newman Center at Boston University and now serves as the campus’s Catholic minister. From that POV, he continues to write his thoughtful blog, “A Shepherd’s Post,” which is always worth reading.
I promised myself that if I began blogging again, I wouldn’t go crazy, writing long pieces. I have to keep my energy for the memoir. So I’ll break off here.
But I hope to be back here again soon.