Summer Planshttps://www.tryingtosaygod.com/

I fear this blog is digressing into writing conference memoranda and book reviews.  

I guess it could be worse.

On that note, my summer plans include a visit to South Bend for a Catholic Writer’s Conference:

Trying to Say God

So it turns out that I’m not just lacking in talent for finding Catholic publishers…there are very few of them out there.  And few reviewers.  And few “Catholic” writers who claim the title and write with a “Catholic” worldview.

Why the “quotes”?  I’ve been doing the suggested reading to prep for the conference (see below), and this is one of the big questions: what does a “Catholic” writer look like and write about in 2017?  It’s easy to look back (Flannery O’Connor, Evelyn Waugh, Tolkein, and friends are mentioned constantly) but that’s not particularly helpful when faced with the challenge of how to address our current challenges and a church, as writers, and as readers.  So what’s a budding children’s author to do?

Thus the conference…maybe I’ll have some answers afterwards.  But if you need some reading (including lists of the American Catholics authors you may or may not have missed in your public high school American lit class), check out the links below, courtesy of Kenneth Garcia, who is hosting the conference.

And seats were still available last I heard…come join me!

 

Dana Gioia,  “The Catholic Writer Today,” Dec. 2013, First Things (https://www.firstthings.com/article/2013/12/the-catholic-writer-today)

 

Paul Elie, “Has Fiction Lost its Faith?”  New York Times, Dec. 19, 2012  (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/23/books/review/has-fiction-lost-its-faith.html)

 

Kaya Oakes, “Writers Blocked: The State of Catholic Writing Today,” America, April 28, 2014 (http://www.americamagazine.org/issue/writers-blocked)

 

Randy Boyagoda, “Faith in Fiction,” First Things, August 2013 (https://www.firstthings.com/article/2013/08/faith-in-fiction)

 

Francis Spufford, “Spiritual Literature for Atheists,” First Things, November 2015 (https://www.firstthings.com/article/2015/11/spiritual-literature-for-atheists)

Blame it on Spring Fever

In an attempt to make up for the long, long silence, here are some pictures.  First, the “man pit” that Craig build over the old (dug out hole in the grass) fire pit.  It is now an oven and stove.  I picked up the brick off the curb, in my church clothes, no less.  Dad would be proud.

The roasted (in brick oven) vegetable quesidillas (cooked on brick stove) were really, really good.

We have done a little planting.  We’ve had several dafodills bloom, and the tulips and iris are ready to bust.

In other garden news, an orange bell pepper, orange mint, dill, lemon balm, dill, and chives are in the ground.  The lettuce which over-wintered is going crazy, and some of it tastes like bacon.  I don’t know what it is, because it’s from a mixed lettuce seed packet, and process of elimination hasn’t worked it out yet.  But it’s bacon-lettuce.  Who knew.

In Lucy news, she is fiesty as ever.  Wants to watch a movie every day, and rarely gets to.  But she likes “writing” scribbles and “reading” books she has memorized, or just looking at the pictures.  And she loves the zoo.

In Samantha news, she is getting the last four pesky teeth through.  She is running.  And she has a nice long list of words now, including Da, dog (which also means cat), doll, bowl (which also seems to mean spoon and basket), Papa, Ma, banana (which is sometimes “ba” and sometimes “nana”), ball, no, diaper, book, door, open, hot…those are all that come to mind at the moment.  She has been walking around the house “reading” books out loud over the last couple of days, which is really, really cute.

So that’s the update.  Craig’s working a lot, and I spent the day baking.  Which reminds me, happy St. Joseph’s Day.  Here’s the bread I made:

It’s supposed to look like St. Joseph’s beard.  Judge for yourself.  I also made egg-free chocolate chip cookies (surprisingly delicious, once you make it past the cookie dough that acts like toasted bread crumbs), vegetable broth, two pans of bread pudding, and dinner today.  I wish I could say days like this were the reason I haven’t written in so long, but it’s really been more a combination of distraction and laziness.  So hopefully more interesting things will happen soon for me to share with you, and I’ll feel like sharing it.  In the mean time, here’s a pic of the girls with their friend Cylis to hold you over.

Christmas Cards!

Here are the first photos from the Great Christmas Card Photo Round-up.  Thanks, Veronica, Tom, and Clark!  If you want to send a cool family picture with your home-made card by Lucy (or if you have not received your card and want to remind me to hurry up!) send me an email.

Greenwells and Christmas card

And here’s the card with their lovely description:

Greenwell's Christmas card

“I think it looks like Winnie the poo walking towards the right while holding a stick with a beehive on it, and bees following him.”

This was one where Lucy got her hands on the glue with out supervision…but at least it is appreciated!  Keep the pics coming!

Christmas Cards

So I was thinking…we didn’t take any pictures of the Christmas cards that Lucy is making before we sent them out. But it would be really cool if she got to see who they went to, so…if/when you get yours (there are still a lot to go in the mail and if you think I forgot you or don’t have your address, just email me) if you could send a picture of you and your family with the card, I could post them on the blog (if you don’t mind, of course) and that would be really, really cool. Maybe we could put up a map too, and make this a regular geography thing. Anyway, I would enjoy seeing your beautiful faces with Lucy’s beautiful artwork. : )

Poetry II

Well, I thought I needed more poetry in my life, so I wrote some.  (By some, I mean one short poem.)  And subscribed to the Writer’s Almanac RSS feed.  I’m not done being grumpy with NPR, but it’s hard for me to stay mad a Garrison Keillor for long.  In other news, the girls and I have all had a simultaneous cold, but the suffering should be over soon.  As should school – two more days and exams for me!  Despite how ready I was for the end, it has snuck up very quickly.  And without further adieu or any more sentences beginning with conjunctions (don’t tell my English teacher)…here is the poem, incomplete, perhaps, and titleless as yet, but my first in a very long time. 

On my hip
is where you belong,
little one.
 
Between these hips you rode
quietly
for nine long
(short) months;
 
Through these hips you passed
Turning that long
(short) night
into morning;

 

On this hip,
now right,
now left,
you sit watching, learning,
reaching with your short
(long) arms
for what catches your eye.

 

In my arms,
on my hip,
is where you belong,
little one.

 

 

Poetry…

…is something I think I need more of in my life.  Fortunately, Karen Edmisten puts a little something up every Friday.  I thought this one was worth passing on.  I’m going to have to look for more of Anne Porter’s work!

Somehow a Frog Finds a Pond

So I have found a new almost-all-consuming pastime. (!)  Searching for kid-friendly, good music which does not involve Disney or the same fifteen songs over and over.  Or anyone licking up baby bumble bees.  That’s just weird.

And I should profess again my love for NPR.  Last weekend we were driving to Baton Rouge and happened to hear the music review at the end of the Friday edition of All Things Considered.  Lucy was dancing in her car seat, and I was cracking up.

So apparently Stefan Shepherd‘s review has catapulted the South Carolina band Lunch Money to semi-stardom.  We ordered the CD almost as soon as we got to Baton Rouge.  And I love it.  And Craig doesn’t mind it.  And Lucy dances to it, and is already singing “Are You a Rabbit” around the house.  The lyrics are witty, without sacrificing good vocabulary (reticulated python!).  I love the fun, fast sound that dominates the CD, and the slower and calmer songs just make me happy.

So Samantha is no longer sleeping, so I guess I’m done, but if you are looking for some fun, clean music, check out Lunch Money.  Goodnight all!

Immaculate Mary

I wish everyone had gotten to hear the homily I heard tonight for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Father took us through Mary’s life, from her “Yes” to becoming the mother of God, through a desperate journey to Egypt, through giving up her son to his public ministry, to watching him die on the cross. I had to imagine giving birth in a stable – suddenly a hospital doesn’t look so bad! I highly recommend this as a spiritual exercise, especially for mothers. Put yourself in the Blessed Mother’s place for some of these events. Remember losing sight of your child at the park? Imagine losing him in Jerusalem! Anyone know of a book or web site which does this well? If I can’t find one, maybe I’ll have to write it!