Monday, February 07, 2011

Rolling rolling rolling, keep those doggies rolling




I am overdosing on polemics at the moment. I recognize within me an anger towards people I usually call "pro-choice" but am creeping towards throwing in the towel and labeling "pro-abortion". Yet, I am awash in a sea of relationships with pro-choice folks. My own mother was pro-choice. Some of my children are. Close friends are.

For what are we, human beings, if not perpetually awash in non-tidiness?

Oh, and I've got a miserable cold also. Ironically, two days after I received the blessing of the throat on St. Blaise's Day, I came down with the worst sore throat of the season. A reward for my hubris, or (as Bill says), I'd likely be in the E.R. without it. What's so common about the cold? And if they ever cure it, what will happen to the world?

Time to turn to the pleasures and conundrums of fiction. I will be hosting a blog tour of various newly published offerings of some of the cool writers I met at the Catholic Writers Conference in August. So... time to get into Fiction Mode.

I read The Man Who Was Thursday by Chesterton on my Kindle. I'd tried to read this a few years ago with no luck. Chesterton's fiction is like Flannery O'Connor's for me - I respect it because so many respectable people like it, but I've never really enjoyed it. It baffles me as to why not.

I found myself really missing the physicality of printed word on paper, bound together into a physical book, for the first time since I've gotten my Kindle. I got caught up in the story, but as it spun out into a wilder and wilder nightmare (as Chesterton labeled it), I lost my exhilaration. Then afterwards, I went and read Amazon reviews and the Wikipedia entry, and wanted to try it again.

For someone who loves fiction as much as I do, I have an obtuseness that I don't understand. For truly transcendant reading pleasure, I read poetry, theology and scripture. In fiction, I like the pleasure of the weird. The Man Who Was Thursday was definitely weird. But not weird enough? I really need to figure this out. The fiction that comes closest to the joy of poetry, scripture and theology for me is Stephen King. Weird, bloody, peopled with self-centered, mean-minded people with teeny tiny flecks of love creeping in.

Oh, and Leonard Cohen's music. It's awesome, Stephen King-like music. Judee Sills also. But "Anthem" is playing on my L. Cohen pandora station right now:

Ring the bells that still can ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack, a crack, in everything.
That's how the light gets in. That's how the light gets in.

We asked for signs, the signs were sent
The birth betrayed, the marriage spent
Yeah, the widowhood of every government
Signs for all to see

I can't run no more with that lawless crowd
While the killers in high places say their
prayers out loud
But they've summoned, they've summoned up a thundercloud
And they're going to hear from me

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

2 comments:

Paul Smith Jr. said...

I'm betting the reason you have trouble with Chesterton's fiction is the same reason I do: It's frickin' weird. The Man Who Was Thursday was just bizarre.

Rae said...

Glad to hear I am not the only one, Paul! It was starting to feel like a personal moral failing...