My first memories of my father are of his absence. World War Two was raging. He was a soldier somewhere in France, or Luxembourg, or maybe Germany. At times, nobody knew for certain until a letter arrived from the war front. Written three weeks ago, the letter could only tell us where he had been.
As recently reported in the media, the Chicago Archdiocese has released 15,000 pages of its files related to substantiated priest sexual abuse against minors. Previously, the Archdiocese of St. Paul, Minnesota in response to legal action, released a large trove of similar records. While these public disclosures are good news, they also have the effect
Not long ago, a former student asked me when I had first ‘gotten serious’ about writing stories. This, of course, is a ‘loaded’ question, and so I replied that I no longer remembered. At my age, now seventy-three, you can get away with evasions like that. In truth, it was a long, long time ago.
Marvin’s nephews … The conclusion was too obvious when they brought along their computer games and their cell phones and shrugged off their uncle’s suggestions about activities he had enjoyed as a boy. Fishing, exploring the lakeshore for agates, whizzing downhill on a toboggan, and reading Tom Sawyer had no appeal. Fishing and whizzing they could do
There is nothing new about writers promoting themselves and their writing. Writers have only recently had television talk shows, Internet, and Facebook, but they have always found ways of bringing themselves to public attention. Notoriety was one way: Sir Thomas Malory is reported to have written Le Morte d’Arthur while in prison for a variety of crimes,
Readers of fiction involving ordinary people, everyday life, and easily imagined predicaments, often suspect such stories must be autobiographical. Sometimes this is a correct assumption, as in the case of Charles Dickens’ classic David Copperfield, and often it is not, as in the case of another classic, Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. Both novels seem true-to-life and believable,
Given the opportunity, I will say to almost anyone that I think novelists take themselves far too seriously, and for that matter, some even expect to be regarded with awe. The creative engine, though a mighty machine, is easily thrown into reverse. I do not, by the way, exclude myself from this. In a few
By the time I graduated from Loyola High School in Minnesota, I had read almost everything G.K. Chesterton had written. Not long after, at St. Louis University, I found myself in the office of Dr. Edward Sarmiento as he shared the story of publishing a poem in G.K.’s Weekly years before I was born. Sarmiento, Professor of
During my student years at St. Louis University, Father Claude Heithaus, S.J. taught in the Classical Languages Department. I was far from one of his star students in a course devoted to translating and studying the Roman poets Catullus and Martial. Father Heithaus was a classical archaeologist. Student gossip suggested that he had once noticed
Much we know about the world would be lost were it not for artistic renderings of the past. Memories otherwise would seldom outlive those who remember. Eamon Duffy’s The Stripping of the Altars forced professional historians and casual readers alike to revise assessments of the Catholic religion in England in the years immediately preceding the Reformation: If