You Need Me on Your Next Pilgrimage, And You’ll Get a Novel Out of It!

You Need Me on Your Next Pilgrimage, And You’ll Get a Novel Out of It! April 30, 2013

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!

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  • My friend pointed out to me that for fantasy settings, nothing beats Google Earth for research, which is why he put his version of Avalon halfway between Cornwall and Ireland, right on top of the very real King Arthur’s Shoal.

    • chezami

      Yep. And I plan to make use of that and various other resources (period National Geographics can be nifty).

  • MClark7

    Decided my comment was not helpful and deleted it.

  • Bren R

    Nothing beats being there and being there for a reasonable amount of time I might add. 🙂 I once lived in Germany for a year and a half and I don’t think I could have ever imagined the beauty of the Muenster Cathedral or realized the terror of captivity that the Berlin Wall enclosed had I not been there myself. I pray your benefactor materializes soon! I wish I could help but you and I are pretty much traveling in the same boat. :/

  • Mike

    This is so refreshingly honest, after seeing a 20 year-old tele-evangelist last night talk about how he was going to travel to every tropical island under the sun on an evangelisation tour, and knew that God would inspire some of the audience at home to give $100 or $1000 to help!

  • Jason C.

    As long as you promise to do this cruise during Lent.

    • chezami

      Tempting as that is, it’s not a cruise. I need to go from Rome, up through France (to Dunkirk) and then on to England, particularly Oxford, Glastonbury and Wales.

  • kenofken

    Look into “crowdfunding” like kickstarter etc. I can tell you the pagan community has had very good results with that lately. For a movement with a reputation of broke-ass hippies (not entirely undeserved), we’ve gotten some serious fundraising done with these things in the last two years or so. Library/community buildings, various legal fights etc., but also a number of film and recording projects that needed maybe $10,000 or so to get off the launch pad. If you have a fan base and reputation of some depth in your community, people seem to step up with their money for something they want to see. I don’t know exactly how these funding sites work, but something about the formality of it seems to encourage people to look at it as an investment for something they want to see, rather than a one-off pity donation that might come through a paypal appeal. Look into it, and maybe read up on how its worked over at wild hunt. Jason has covered a number of crowdsourcing campaigns.

    • JeffAStevens

      I like it. I’d buy in.

  • Sarah

    Catholic Pilgrimage tour companies like the one I work for will comp your trip if you can get 20 or so people to sign up for one…

    • chezami

      Hey! 20 readers! Let’s go to Europe! Whaddaya say?

      • JeffAStevens

        I’m in.

  • If there is a Mark Shea pilgrimage through Europe to see wonderful sites, tell bad jokes, grow beards, fulfill every European’s worst stereotypes about Americans, and have an altogether good time, what has two thumbs and would like to go? This guy! Assuming my duties for the job which would actually provide the Euros for such an adventure do not interfere.