Friday, June 21, 2013

7 Quick Takes

1. What I am Writing.

Fiction: Penelope is much harder than Helen, because she does not have the volumes of secondary sources and much of who she is, is based on her long endurance sans husband.  Not a lot of dialogue, even less action, though as Grace Kelly said in Rear Window, fending off wolves is the hardest job a woman ever has to do.  So maybe I'm just not that into her yet.  I'm not a patient writer, it's part of why I blog. Lots of volume, little returning to reflect or rewrite what you wrote yesterday. I'm writing Penelope in part because I think the story is important, but I need to sit with her longer to hear her voice.

2.   Why I am Writing. 

I've started a project, Stories of the Holy Spirit.  As a monthly contributor to the Catholic Stand and Catholic Mom, I needed some sort of hook, some sort of corner of the Catholic blogger universe that was mine. Simcha has the corner on big family laughs paired with thoughtful commentary, followed by Jennifer Fulwiller, with six under 8 and a conversion story to boot.  I'm not a theologian so I can't argue from the intellectual vantage point of being any more informed than anyone else and felt my writing on Catholic matters lacked focus.  Firing from the hip works for blogging, but not for trying to write something of merit, so I am giving myself a focus.  My friend Sarah Reinhard writes about the Blessed Mother, she's made years of meditation with Mary the focus of her reflections and the result is, she has written a few books and become a resource for those wanting to deepen their relationship with Jesus' mother.   Who did I have a good relationship with in Heaven?  Saint Anthony and the Holy Spirit.  I decided that few blogs/writers focus on this third person of the Holy Trinity, in part because we aren't as familiar with the Divine Advocate as we are with God the Father or His Son.   We'll see how it goes.

3.  What am I reading? 

Next up on my reading stack is The Gargoyle Code.  I've had this book for over a year and am finally getting to it.  It's supposed to be a sequel of sorts to the Screwtape letters. It takes no small amount of courage to stand on the back of a theological giant like C.S. Lewis, so I'm eager to see how it turns out. 

4.  How is Parenting? 

I noticed that my children become more animated about unreal things than real ones.  While this is partly normal with respect to childhood as kids live in the world of imagination and slip easily from the real to the not real in conversation and in thought, it is partly a result of our culture creating a whole way of living that touts the unreal as real. 

Animal Crossing, Sim City, Rock Band, Facebook, twitter, tumbler,DS, Wii, all of these allow for virtual relationships that require very little but consume tremendous amounts of time, and so our children come to value what is not real --the accomplishments in the world inside the X-box, more than the world around them.  They will spend hours looking at pictures on the internet, but not go outside where the pictures were actually taken.  How do we help them to become more real, to appreciate the struggle to master the difficult things of real life when a virtual life gives so much appreciation and reward for so little effort?  Yes I turn off the machines, but it is still a matter of getting them to willingly embrace more than day to day existence.  I have to sell work, struggle, slow progress...not an easy thing.  They know the computers will return, ergo, most of the time, they can wait me out.  

5.  I am Still a Mess

Some days I just should not be allowed outside.  We were getting gasoline and I went into the store to purchase diet cokes. Getting back into the car, I proceeded to put my purse to rights.  As such, I discovered I'd left my wallet inside.  Within the same week, I also managed to send my sister two books and two presents for her children for their birthdays, only to discover I'd written down the address incorrectly.  (Sigh). 

6. What I See

There is a product we lack in this country. I know, you wouldn't think a nation that created whole new unhealthy beverages that we consume by the truckload monthly would in any way have any want that isn't marketed to within an inch of its life and sold for 9.99 plus shipping and handling.   But I see it in politics. I see it in sales, in testimonies, in responses to celebrities and their trials, in Facebook blow ups that deal with more sensitive issues like race, same sex marriage and abortion.  We are lacking the salve of society that allows for difference of opinion, the presumption of good faith, that it is the rare bird who affirmatively seeks or wishes ill for the country, regardless of political affiliation.  We no longer grant to a person unknown once his or her political stripe is known, the benefit of the doubt and charity of gracious respect for a diverging opinion from our own.   Society will not long withstand the assault on civility borne of the presumption  everyone who disagrees with me is deliberately filled with ignorance or malicious.  We have to reapply the salve of graciousness before we forget its incredible power to sustain friendships, create them, and build bridges between seemingly intractable positions of policy. 

7.  What I Hope

That we will start to remember to be more salt to the world, even as we cut back on our use of it ourselves.  Vacation ends tomorrow.  This has been a good retreat for the heart, head, body and family, if not the wallet.  Hope they hold the memories of this week, I know I do. 

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