NaNo Day 30, Spanish and Polaroids

Of which I participated in the second day. Well, if I hadn’t pulled myself out, my job would have made the home stretch extremely difficult. I had to work nine days in a row of ten plus hour shifts, seven tens, and two twelves. Plus maintain my RCIA classes and readings.

I decided in the middle of that to resume my Spanish course. I hate to have so many things that I have picked up over the years remain unfinished. I could put that on my gravestone DID NOT FINISH. It was also my most common grade in grade school – an I for Incomplete. I didn’t fail courses I just didn’t do the work… or show up. Funny, never carried those habits into my work life…

De todos formas, tengo mucho trabajo por hacer!

For Pete’s sake I have three other languages that I tried at one time or another and didn’t get far. Latin – wasn’t sober enough. German, didn’t know anyone who spoke it (and not enough interest in the writing of German). French, their spelling rules are way too convoluted. I took one day of that and said, “NO way!”

Besides, I have Jorge el curioso (Curious George to you) the book still to finish! That may seem like a too easy children’s book. But not when you are a beginner! And I always loved Curious George when I was a child.

A trailer for the new Star Wars film popped up the other day. I turned it off. Done. Don’t care.

Impulse buy. The Polaroid instant camera is back! The film is pretty expensive. $14 for a cartridge that produces eight photos. I was driving home with it before I knew it.

What’s This Idiot Reading Now?

Well I just finished,

Gobbled that one down in five days. As good as the movie was, the book was far better. The elder priest’s story (played by Man von Sydow) was more fleshed out in the book and you got a sense of a saintly sort of man and a scholar. In the movie they try to convey that he was a scholar by dialogue but it is not the same. Also the demon and the elderly priest knew each other before the exorcism, that wasn’t conveyed as well in the movie.

There is also dialogue in the book that draws its theme that is not in the movie. I was struck reading the book how orthodox it was, the movie is not given that wide of a scope to do so. The movie does however, portray the Christus Victor in action, but I felt it was more from simple rage than how the book depicted it.

Good read!

Next, A Catholic Introduction to the Bible: The Old Testament

One may wonder by what right I claim no time for NaNo when diving into 1000+ page books. Good question, no answer! Also it is an introduction, but it is over a thousand pages. Yikes!

I also finished reading a few weeks ago Donna Tartt’s THE SECRET HISTORY

I am still in the middle of Triumph: The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church

I have such a problem with the minutiae of history. I get completely lost in all the Edwards, the Ottos, the Henrys, the Louises(sp?). And that is just the kings and the emperors. There are all the popes, Innocent, Pius, John, et all. The only sure foot I have on any one part of after the 8th century is the reign of Henry VIII. Maybe that is because I watched the series The Tudor as well as reading about the time several times. Maybe because More is a fascinating person. I don’t know. Maybe it is because I have read about that time in isolation whereas the others have always been read as parts of a world history.

Also the reign of Henry VIII is the stuff of sensationalism. I mean what a man-whore.

RCIA chugs along. We did two weeks of church history. It was rambling, but, hey, you try to get two thousand years of church history into four hours! The second week only me and one other person showed up for it. What the hell? Yes, the guy probably should have not gone into nominalism for ten minutes as people glazed over and thought about their laundry. But I loved it! Nominalism? Let’s talk!

I am willing to bet some of them were groaning “ug! I just want to show up on Sunday. what is all this philosophy stuff! and history! and sacraments! and stuff!” Wait until they find out you’re not justified by faith alone. What?! But I can go down the street, get justified, throw a nickel in the collection plate, be out at nine on Sunday, and be raising hell and treating my fellow man like shit for six whole days!

[I don’t say this about anyone in particular, nor anyone in my RCIA class, I know them not. Although they do seem bored out of their minds a lot of the time. One guy even checks his phone right on the table while the instructor is talking.]

Granted, the protestant churches (and the generics and the bizarres) will let you simply come and you are full on from the get go. I like the Catholic Church puts people through the paces. Hey, we want you to know what this is all about so you can be informed and make an informed decision. Then again, I view the Protestant churches as heretical and their existence as a historical stain.

Wife is up, gotta go!

NaNo 2019

I won’t call it a bust, but I started and I just didn’t feel like participating after the first day. I really don’t have the kind of time now to devote to getting 50,000 words done in 30 days. I also got the story off on the wrong foot, and I would rather just let it stew in the back of my mind that push ahead on what my muse is screaming is the wrong path. I went comedy when I should have gone surreal. The goofy names and antics were supposed to be misdirection to deadly serious themes, but I dove into the yucks and there is only so far you can go with that before the misdirection because the direction.

Also, the title sucked (I had changed it from IDIOT THROUGH TIME to NO TIME NOW). Also the pug didn’t talk. Well, that is no fun. I am letting the story mulch in me brain for a bit.

In the meantime, I have another percolating story called JEMMY that I have started to toy with…

NaNo! Day One!

Supposed to be day two, but I do not have the kind of time I used to have and I had a rough start even getting the first line out.

I am only at 447 words but I will quickly make it up throughout the week. I was really stuck for a start. Regardless of what anyone says, it can be very hard to get the first bit out and get the ball rolling. I almost despaired of it and, wasting time, I was looking through my digital music library and I found the missing piece that got me going. It is THE GYPSY PRINCESS by Emmerich Kalman. It is a piece of early twentieth century operetta. Almost absurdly gay in its merriment to modern music. And, even though I haven’t a clue what they are singing, light and frivolous sounding.

It was perfect for the goofy jaunt I wanted to send my characters on. A group of character, by the way, that I’ve been carrying with me for several years.

John Biscuit
Mopey Lederhosen
Flanammel
Clem Blule’
Ryebu Watanabe

And, yup, those pesky clowns will be in there as well. Perhaps not the same as the ones in Sad Face (like anyone has read it!) but they all know each other. You know they do.

I offer up the first part I managed to eek out today. No, people do not talk like these people. No, people do not, in general, act like these people. And that is my point, or my intention. I am not a realist, not in my writing, nor, even, in my life. Or, let’s say, I am a staunch realist, and, therefore, everything else is play.

Let’s Play!

It is tentatively called – IDIOTS THROUGH TIME – I believe I will be changing it. Then again, if I achieve a desired effect, perhaps I will not.

“Well,” said Clem, “it looks like a brilliant thing!”

“It does, doesn’t it?”

“Will it work?” asked Clem.

“It is hard to tell,” replied Flanammel, “all the tests have seemed to work. Luca here seems to have been unaffected by its use.” He pointed to a pug dog eyeing them from its bed a few feet away. The pug looked irritated and uncomfortable and yawned in exaggeration.

“Should we give it a whirl?”

“We shall!” exclaimed Flanammel excitedly.

At that there was a knock on the door.

“Who is it?” yelled Flanammel and Clem together.

A meek voice replied from behind the door, “It is I, Morley.”

Flanammel and Clem looked at each other. “Mopey.”

Morley, as his parents had christened him, was known by all as Mopey, Mopey Lederhosen of the somewhat notorious Lederhosen family of poets and self-employed philosophers. They were notorious not for their poetry, nor for their philosophies (although they all bore the mark of being highly uninspiring) but for their creative deaths. Nary died a Lederhosen from natural causes or disease, but more from pratfalls or bizarre sequences of happenings that left physicists scratching their heads. There was Lute Lederhosen who, in an ill-chosen adventure vacation, died in a game of mushroom roulette inside the Hoia Bacui forest. There was Diedrich Lederhosen, who preceded Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d’Arlandes, in the construction of the first hot air balloon. However he did not precede them in the first successful hot air balloon. The balloon actually balloon worked fine, but Diedrich failed to secure a bottom to the basket that could support his weight. While Diedrich was found in various places in a small Bavarian village, the whereabouts of his balloon are a mystery to this day.

Clem hurried across the room, opened the door and embraced Mopey in a hug and ushered him into the room. Mopey was a short man with small features, short stature and a small, shuffling gait. He had on a brown striped suit narrow rolled shoulders to match his brown hair parted in the middle and slumped down either side of his head. In his hands he held a quaint Homburg hat.

Flanammel called out, “Mopey! Lords! I would expect that we have already time travelled every time I see you! You could have walked off the stage of a Dickens novel!”

“Hello, guys.” Mopey said quietly. He walked over to the contraption in the center of the room. “Is this it? Is it done?”

“It is, and” paused Clem raising a finger significantly in the air, “Luca went through it just today and look.”
Mopey looked over at the pug laying in his bed.

Sola fide

I have been trying to wrap my mind around Southern religion since I got here. Let me start with an anecdote that happened to the wife and I shortly after moving here in March of 2018. Note, we live in the western part of North Carolina. Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee and all a short drive away. Deliverance the movie was filmed not far from here. In fact, from my parents place you can drive to the nearby Walmart (eight miles) and meet the guy who played the kid on the banjo in the beginning of that movie. At least he worked there as late as 2014. Long drawls and extra vowels fill the speech of many who grow up here. While some of the modern world has pushed its way in, Hilly-billy Heaven still has a strong streak here.

What happened was we were driving east on the I-40 when a vehicle whizzed past us and another vehicle going over 80 (they all drive insane here) and then cuts both of us off – the driver behind us almost colliding with the back of our vehicle. We were going about 60 miles an hour, which is about the same as doing 40 mph on any other part of the country. The person who cut us off sticks out his entire arm and flips us off and kept it up there for us for a good half mile before cutting off another person to get into an off-ramp.

The person had a bumper stick. It read:

WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?

This, in essence, sums up the southern religious attitude.

It nagged on me for months. I was suspicious that it was a case of justification by faith alone – sola fide.

Then I was at lunch break last week and a co-worker (whose name, though I cannot repeat, would seem to be made up if I told it, but it is not a possible name outside of where I live) sat next to me and another individual. He started to talk about large slabs of salted and boiled pig’s meat his wife cooks him. Indicating with outstretched arms the size of these size hunks of flesh (three feet and longer) I, amazed and grossed out, asked him jokingly if he went to the cardiologist afterwards.

Being a man without a humor of self he assured me he wasn’t afraid to die. No? I asked. No, he told me. I know where I am going when I die.

And like a tumbler in a lock I had the combination. You believe. Therefore you are free to walk about the cabin and act any way you fucking well please cuz you justified. It explains all the behavior.

I am about to eat dinner, but if it were not for Catholicism, I would have nothing but the same disdain for religion I had most of my life.

NANO 2019!!!

Alright, last year I had to skip out due to my back problem. That seems to be doing fine now, so it is time to gear up for NaNo 2019.

And, as usual, I have such a full plate that I am only now starting to think of it. Hell, I haven’t even read what I wrote for 2017 yet. And RCIA and house duties take a good portion of my time. But I am going in with both feet. I think this year I am going pulp. Although I never did use my Alt-Star Wars idea. Not really separate I guess.

Friday starts the writing. I will post throughout as progress is made (I am not sure if a really have that many readers anymore, but I will act as if I do). In December I am going to pull up The Five Deaths of Horace Gumble and see what can be done with it. I think there are actually more than one story in that thing.

Now onto some planning…

A Few Lafferty Quotes

I do not believe I have posted these before. The first two are from an interview Cranky Old Man From Tulsa, the other is from a talk he gave at DeepSouthCon in 1979 called The Day After The World Ended. The third is from the first book of Lafferty’s The Coscuin Chronicles: The Flame is Green

Q: My experience is that often if a story even touches on such things, the editor will freeze up and think he’s being preached at. You can write about, say, Hindu gods with no problem, but if you touch on Christianity, even if all the characters are doubters, the editor freezes. Have you ever found this to be so?

RAL: Yes, that’s very much so. But you’ve got it backwards. The preachers are really those of a religion that is not called a religion, which is secular liberalism. That’s really the established religion of our country, and of our world. It doesn’t allow too much opposition. Now people who go down the secular liberal line don’t want anything that challenges it. Hinduism doesn’t challenge it because it is too distant. Christianity does, even Born-Again Christianity and the emotional ones. They have something that the secular liberal world is lacking.

Q: What are your religious beliefs? Do you feel that your stories echo your beliefs soundly? Or do you try to keep these views from entering into your stories?

RAL: I am a Roman Catholic of what is considered an old-fashioned sort, as there are a number of modernities flickering over the Church right now, none of them very deep. I do not attempt specifically to put my beliefs into my stories, not to keep them out either. An exception is Past Master, because religion was the subject of that novel. But the belief is part of the person who writes the stories and it will be there naturally.

There’s a double standard in this area though. There is considerable preaching against preaching, and an amazing amount of decrying religion by the people of the most intolerant religions. Belief is religion. The most rampantly righteous religions in the world are the religions of secularism, humanism, liberalism, nihilism, scientism, inhumanism, and diabolism. We have those with hatred as the central commodity, those with perversions as central, those with disorder a s central, those with worthlessness as central. We cheap-shotting as a crusading religion. And it is out of these that militant preachers come. Certainly three quarters of SF is given over to the relentless preaching of those of the anti-religious religions. They are the ones who carry on the biggest feuds and the covert as well as open attacks and who recommend the boycotts. The longest work by an SF practitioner in recent years is a preachment for the worthlessness for the sake of worthlessness, and it will not accept anything but total worthlessness for everyone.

Cranky Old Man From Tulsa 1990

Science Fiction has long been babbling about cosmic destructions and the ending of either physical or civilized worlds, but it has all been displaced babble. SF has been carrying on about near-future or far-future destructions and its mind-set will not allow it to realize that the destruction of our world has already happened in the quite recent past, that today is “The Day After The World Ended”. … I am speaking literally about a real happening, the end of the world in which we lived till fairly recent years. The destruction or unstructuring of that world, which is still sometimes referred to as “Western Civilization” or “Modern Civilization”, happened suddenly, some time in the half century between 1912 and 1962. That world, which was “The World” for a few centuries, is gone. Though it ended quite recently, the amnesia concerning its ending is general. Several historiographers have given the opinion that these amnesias are features common to all “ends of worlds”. Nobody now remembers our late world very clearly, and nobody will ever remember it clearly in the natural order of things. It can’t be recollected because recollection is one of the things it took with it when it went…

The Day After the World Ended: Deep South Con 1979

“Things are set up as contraries that are not even in the same category. Listen to me: the opposite of radical is superficial, the opposite of liberal is stingy; the opposite of conservative is destructive. Thus I will describe myself as a radical conservative liberal; but certain of the tainted red fish will swear that there can be no such fish as that. Beware of those who use words to mean their opposites. At the same time have pity on them, for usually this trick is their only stock in trade.”

The Flame is Green: Chapter 5 Muerte De Boscaje

The Secret History

I don’t usually read contemporary mainstream fiction, or literary fiction – whatever name it goes by now. I am usually off on oddball excursions. I think the closest I have come to contemporary literature in the last twenty years is Stephen King’s (cue laugh track for some readers, I am sure!) 11/23/63. I guess Michael O’Brien’s Father Elijah: An Apocalypse and the sequel, Sophia House, counts. Goodreads has it categorized as Christian Fiction. I think that is Goodreads being the little libbie site that it is.

Anyway, this author, Donna Tartt, came to my attention via an adaptation of one of her works, The Goldfinch. I was intrigued, but actually was more intrigued by the plot of The Secret History. While one of the jacket blurbs relates it to Charles Dickens, I find the plot of this book (as described online) to be reminiscent of Dostoyevsky.

It will be, at least, a change of pace. It is much closer to concrete reality than what I usually read.

Anybody read her? Thoughts?

RCIA 2

So last week I started my RCIA classes, having attended two so far. This is a quick, rough sketch of the experience so far. They are very small, last week was me and two other people, this week it climbed to me and three other people. There is supposed to be two other people who are going to miss a few weeks. So the class is a total of six people and the instructor.

I wish the class were larger just for atmosphere. But, considering that it is in the mountains in western North Carolina, six really isn’t that bad!

The teacher is, though rambling at times, quite informative. This is good as I have read quite intensely on the subject for several years now and a more popular, common approach would be hard to sit through.

You are given a block of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to read for the week (last week was a hundred pages!) and then the instructor gives an hour and half talk and about a half hour video. Frankly, I could do without the video. I am rather philosophically minded and am not moved by popular testimony. The presenter in the videos is googly-eyed and goofy so it gives a cultish feel to the presentation. Perhaps it is helpful to the others. Frankly I would prefer going more into hypostasis and other such topics.

I think the Catholicism series by Bishop Barron (and his Pivotal Players) would be better. However, I have seen them already so…

Don’t make it easy! Don’t dumb it down!

These are the resources for the course:

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church

Companion to the Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Didache Bible (Midwest Theological Forum)

Daily Roman Missal (Midwest Theological Forum)

The Catechism of the Council of Trent

The Catholic Catechism: A Contemporary Catechism of the Teachings of the Catholic Church, by (the Venerable) Father John A. Hardon, SJ [highly recommended]

Triumph: The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church, by H. W. Crocker III [an excellent history]

Except for the Didache Bible I already own all of these resources. Although I have never cracked the Daily Roman Missal.

I use my Verbum program for the CCC reading because all the footnotes and annotations and abundant cross-references are a click or mouse hover away and eliminates the need of books two and three. It also means I don’t need a Bible sitting next to me as there is one in the window next to the window with the text of the CCC. Also available is the full context (the complete works actually) of any references to the Church Fathers.

This will be quite challenging in a few weeks as NaNo (Nation Novel Writing Month) is coming up. I missed last year on account of a busted back. This year I’m all in!