May this be a year of deep spiritual growth and fulfillment for all. May it be a time of closeness with God and an opportunity to follow Him ever more closely.
Recently in Personal News Category
Last night had an opportunity to speak with someone--my friend of longest acquaintance. We don't speak often, and don't share e-mail nearly often enough. While talking I had a moment--not long, but a few seconds of many years ago when we would talk for incredibly long stretches of time in conversations that would wind round and round and round and come out here. He even took me to task (quite correctly) for an opinion espoused some years ago about Hemingway. (And, it is, indeed, an opinion I hold to this day. Hemingway may or may not have been a genius, but his legion of imitators mostly have not been.) And it was refreshing to have had someone who took seriously enough what you said to be able to remember it after lo, these many years.
And perhaps that is what true friendship is about--someone who takes seriously what you take seriously and understands how very important that can be and someone who holds up a mirror and says, look closely, do you like what you see?
I am very pleased and gratified to announce that as of September 1, 2009, my lovely spouse and I will have experienced 25 years of domestic (bliss/tranquility/union/you supply the word). In the course of that time I have learned that the only way through it at times is one day at a time--but that at most times it seems that we swallow days, weeks, even months whole--that time flies by us and we grow used to each other and familiar. But there is never an end to surprises and to the joy that comes from them.
I implore your prayers for a continuation of this until it pleases God to see us home. No half-measures please.
Is there any point in apologizing for being so absent recently? And what empty promises I make if I say it sha'n't happen in the future.
But I would like to make a determined effort that I post some short thing each day. And today it is a personal news item:
Over the past two days I have written two complete short stories. One of them is sketchy and tentative, but the other I think robust and fully "incarnate." Of course the speed of composition suggests allowing them to rest before reconsideration--but I do think that after their rest they shall shape up to become quite good.
There are a great many ways in which God has blessed me on this trip to Dublin. I was able to see the houses of W.B. Yeats, James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, AE, Robert Griffiths (founder of Irish Geology), many wonderful Churches and other such magnificent things.
However, one way in which He has chosen to enrich me beyond bounds is in my reading of Ulysses. When I knew I was going to Dublin, I decided to reacquaint myself with one of the most magnificent novels of the twentieth century.
Today I found myself reading the section knows as "The Lestrygonians." In it, Leopold Bloom walks down O'Connell street to Grafton street--right in front of my hotel. There are brass plaques all over with sentences from this chapter. On the way to watch a performance of Riverdance at a small, gorgeously appointed theatre, I found one that I had not seen to date, in front of a statue on the way to Trinity College, labeled simply, "Moore." I just about jumped for joy, because now, I was able to chart the amble up O'Connell with some precision.
I know this doesn't seem like much, but reading Joyce's masterwork in the city it was meant to commemorate and even enshrine is such a humbling experience and an enriching experience. Where before I had some vague idea of people walking around a lot (the travels of Ulysses), now I had a sense of where they were walking and what they were doing.
Okay, so not the most exciting thing in the world, I suppose. And yet, it is. I could have continued with an intellectual appreciation of Ulysses as a work of art, but now I also have a bones-deep visceral appreciation of its amazing reality--the reality not only of the city but also of the thought of the characters.
Tomorrow I leave, but today God vouchsafed my a glimpse of real genius that I will be able to appreciate and reflect on for the rest of my life.
I hope time allows me to share more of this truly wonderful trip with you in the future. I have even thought of calling it something like--"Keeping Track of His Hat in Europe."
I have been fortunate enough to be assigned a trip to Dublin--a situation I frankly dreaded, but which has proven one endless delight.
I started out with a trip to Sandycove to view the Martello tower at which Joyce starts Ulysses. And you know, there is a great delight and depth to reading the greatest book of the 20th century in the place that it eternalizes. Seeing what Joyce saw, being where he was and experiencing some sense of it, even at some remove in time. Also on that day, I walked to Dublin Castle, the gardens, Trinity College, the Liffey, the Pearse street Garda Station, and probably a dozen other places.
Tuesday to the General Post Office, the O'Connell Memorial, the Parnell Memorial, the James Joyce statue and south to St. Stephen's Green. Then to temple bar, and through Trinity Campus again. Haven't been able to see the Book of Kells yet.
Today, no time for touring, but lunch again in a pub.
And tomorrow--Iveagh Gardens, Oscar Wilde's memorial, Wilde's home, perhaps his Birthplace, and Nichols' Mortuary (A Joyce place). And then out to the Medieval Part of town to see Christ Church, St. Patrick's Cathedral, and some close by, even more ancient churches. And then to other Joyce locations. As I have said, it deepens the delight of the reading. I can revel in Ulysses in a way I think Joyce meant us to. Setting is so tremendously important.
Too much to say, too condensed, but let it rest at the profound delight I experience reading after dark Joyce in Dublin. Wonderful--oh, and morning starts with Yeats. I'm so profoundly blessed to have a Kindle.