Five Quick Takes

Five Quick Takes February 13, 2020


I haven’t really got out of the doldrums I described in my last post (or, indeed, that go back to Advent). I don’t know whether to attribute it to spiritual or natural causes—the latter seem likelier. God knows the incessant, cold, half-hearted rain that’s plagued the Chesapeake for the last month and some hasn’t put me in a better mood. The ongoing and thoroughly despicable corruption of the current presidential administration has been more than a little discouraging too, especially given how many of my fellow believers I’ve seen making excuses for it. And the idiotic decision of several prominent Democrats to choose this, of all moments, to double down on abortion, thus playing directly into the hands of the GOP’s barely-even-pretending-any-more lip service to the pro-life cause, has me furious as well as sad.

What is going to become of this country? How long do we have before our sins catch up to us? Who else is going to pay when our empire collapses?


The Anglican Use calendar, like the pre-Vatican II calendar, has a brief sub-season leading into Lent: unimaginatively referred to as “pre-Lent” is most books, the traditional English name for this period is Shrovetide, deriving from the (now obsolete) term shrive meaning “to hear confession” or sometimes “to confess” (hence also the idiom short shrift, which originally referred to the hasty absolution that might be given to a criminal before execution). I like Shrovetide; it gives you some time to think and sort out what you plan to do for Lent, and I haven’t been able to settle on anything. I might start saying Evensong again, which I haven’t since I don’t remember when. The last few years I took some volume of spiritual reading and divided it into forty-odd sections, one for each day, and did that as a spiritual discipline; I might do that again, though I don’t know what I’d read. Perhaps it’s time for me to take another crack at St Teresa’s autobiography.


On a more positive note, my third book is out! The Seventh Trumpet, a collection of post-apocalyptic short stories, is available via the publisher, Clickworks Press, or on Amazon (where, mysteriously, there is apparently already someone selling a used copy for a few bucks more than the price of a new one). I think it’s my best work to date. You can read a selection from one of its chapters, “Sunset on Yamato,” here at my old site.


I’ve been toying, for some time, with the idea of writing a book on gay issues for Catholics: what not to say and why not to say it, an introduction to the actual (as opposed to the imagined) history of gay rights both nationally and internationally, distinguishing between different kinds of queerness, maybe even trying to explain some of the fundamental issues of trans identities. What gives me pause is the possibility that, in doing so, I may be throwing my pearls before swine. I know this blog has helped people, and I believe that helping one single person makes this blog worth it; that is, I believe that in principle; but I’ve faced a lot of discouragement and exhaustion here. It’s hard to pour your energy, your heart, into something that most people—even close friends—ignore or contradict or dismiss. It’s hard to have confidence that something’s important when other people tell you it’s not or behave like it’s not, because we are wired to listen to other people and not just ourselves. So I guess I’m saying, if you think that book would be worth writing, and that I’d be a good person to write it, speak up! I could use some encouragement.


Someone told me the other day that I should be in porn. I’m mostly confident that that’s a compliment.

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