I begin this essay by stating some things fittingly paradoxical: sainthood, if and when it comes for G. K. Chesterton, will diminish him. It will martyr his broadly-based reputation for the sake of transient, Catholic parochial needs. He will be unfairly rebranded as a mere Catholic clotheshorse. His sainthood will invite longstanding suspicions and skepticism
We called her Sister Magpie, inspired by the black and white of her nun’s habit, her nimble movements, and those glinting eyes ever alert for that bubble gum we smuggled into her library. The comic books she confiscated from beneath the world atlas where we feigned an interest in Madagascar were invariably returned at the
Graham Greene had a troubled and chaotic relationship with the Catholic faith to which he converted the year before his marriage, so much so that his motives for conversion have even been questioned. At the same time, more than any writer of his day, he wrote novels rich in Catholic themes seeming to reflect his
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,