So here’s the deal: I know a lot about the Catholic faith. I also know a heck of a lot about Catholic Marian teaching and spirituality since I wrote Mary, Mother of the Son (which will be out again as a single volume by the end of May, according to my new publisher, Marytown Press! Yay!).
Well, it’s like this: I’m now trying to research a rather wild fantasy novel set in Europe during the opening days of World War II. My problem, of course, is that I am a lower-middle class Washingtonian who has never been to the continent (though I have seen a little bit of England, where the second and third acts of the novel will happen). Now, of course, the great thing about fiction is that you can just make stuff up, and this particular novel will be making up a lot of stuff beginning with a lulu of a liturgy celebrated at St. Peter’s by a Mysterious Stranger (no, not Jesus) and half the dogs, cats, rats, pigeons, mice, children, hobos and hookers in Mussolini’s Rome–as well as a lot of very confused Swiss Guards, tourists, gobsmacked clergy and maybe some over-active statues and a mule. And that’s just the first chapter.
Still and all, there’s this thing called “versimilitude” and I’d like to be able to have some idea of what I’m talking about when I babble about a journey across Europe. So I’d like to get to Europe and see the places whereof I will write. Now, being what is known as “broke” that ain’t happening as a vacation. But it *could* happen if I went as part of work for somebody else. Work such as “helping teach on a pilgrimage”.
So, says I to myself, since you’ve got this blog that people read, and some of those people go on things like pilgrimages in Europe, why not brashly throw out the idea of offering yourself to assist in teaching on a pilgrimage? The worst that can happen is that nobody responds. The best that can happen is that somebody says, “Hey! Let’s bring Shea along on our pilgrimage from Rome, up through France, and on into Britain. He can periodically teach stuff about the faith and, in his down time, take notes for his novel!” Win/win!
So here I am brashly tossing that idea out. If you or somebody you know is interested in such a proposal, please let me know. My son has already read the early draft of chapter one and hath pronounced it, “Awesome”. I don’t know that I agree, but I do know that all novelistic awesomeness that beats in my breast will remain merely potential if I don’t have any idea what I’m talking about. So do let me know!