I’ve subscribed to an epistolary novel, which may be of interest to readers of this blog. It is titled Ora et Labora et Zombies. Ora et labora (pray and work) is a motto of the Benedictine monks; et Zombies is where the plot kicks in.
The story is set in the present day. There has been some kind of cataclysm, and our protagonist has retreated with his son to a Benedictine monastery. His wife was out of town as the crisis broke, so he is writing letters to her, in hopes that she will make it to their agreed upon meetup location and one day read them.
If you subscribe to the story, one of the protagonist’s letters is delivered to your house each week. I’m four letters in, and I quite like the experience of reading the serial and just the pure fun of having a little chunk of novel show up in my mailbox. I’ve included an excerpt below, to tempt you.
Is it possible that there are cupcakes at the end of the world? Like a farewell party? Brother Anselm baked them after dinner for us — not for the other monks, he joked, just for us visitors in the Retreat House. They were yellow cake with chocolate frosting (my favorite), and he offered it to me with such joy that I didn’t have the heart to tell him I’d given up sweets for Lent. So I took one, and it was a beautiful fleeting taste of normal life. As I was savoring the last bite, I thought perhaps that giving up some paltry thing as penance rings a little hollow in our current situation. It may well be that we are in the process of being made to give up everything.
I feel compelled to add that when I went to college and saw the Grove Street Cemetery for the first time, I thought the inscription over the gates was a student prank. I didn’t know the scripture reference, and I assumed some zombie-related hijinks were about to begin to welcome us to school.
Oh, and speaking of that title, I had a great deal of success making rolls from this recipe for garlic sourdough bread, except I added two cups of grated cheddar cheese and upped the amount of garlic to two heads. Judging from their expressions when I unwrap a roll at lunch, my coworkers are at least part vampire.