On Being a Catholic Writer | Crisis Magazine9/3/12 Many Catholic writers have balked at being called that. They were Catholic and they wrote, all right, but they didn’t want to be read as if the point of their fiction was a religious message. As if you could earn…
I can’t say I gave this article a detailed read from beginning to end. Unfortunately, the great Ralph McInerny lost me a bit more than half way through. Obviously he was a talented writer but, on the internet, length is everything. If you go on too long, just about anybody will lose interest.
Two points he made in this article piqued my interest, though. They spoke to me and I saw myself in them…
“Every night at ten o’clock, after the kids had been put to bed, and Connie and I had some time together, I went down to the basement where I had put my typewriter on a work bench, and, standing, would write until two o’clock.”
For me it’s around 9pm and thankfully I have a laptop with a speedy internet connection. Writing until 2am is a little much for me but I have made a habit of turning in around midnight for the last few years.
I wish I could say I was writing the entire 3 hours each night but that simply isn’t the case. There’s writing, website maintenance, researching, television watching and sometimes just plain goofing off. I feel bad about the goofing off and TV watching parts since I could be spending that time with Jenny and Jack. Sometimes I just need to be by myself, though.
The other point and perhaps the one with greater long term implications for me…
Peter Wasn’t the Only One in Denial
McInerny’s article is about the conflict between being a Catholic writer who writes stories with Catholic characters who see things through a Catholic lens and being a Catholic writer who sees his faith as an “impediment” to good fiction writing. He remarks that Fitzgerald seemed to think his Catholicism got in the way and Joyce out and out abandoned his faith for his art.
McInerny brought the article back to himself so I’ll not hesitate to do the same. After all, this site is about my spiritual journey. I was a writer before I began this walk with God. Faith only made brief appearances in my writing up until that point. Now, as you can see, I have a whole website where I write about little else by faith.
Am I limiting myself? Is there faith writing or all other writing? Is my lens forever skewed?
Probably not. For me the bigger struggle is writing about my life and writing about other things. When it’s time to write about my own experiences, I struggle far less to find good subject matter than when I write about things that have no connection to my life. Call me selfish, I guess I find myself more interesting than just about anything else.
I know…that sounded horrible.
Stories of All Shapes and Sizes
I have many more stories to tell about my journey but I do fancy the idea of trying my hand at fiction writing someday. If I do give it a go, I think I’ll be ideally suited to tell stories about Catholic and non-Catholic characters alike. I have a whole life of experience as a non-Catholic to call on along with the last few years of spiritual awakening. It’s a good blend. I’m kinda psyching myself up now!
When it comes right down to it, is it a problem to write about faith and it’s role in my life? Since faith is at the center of my life it’s going to show up in everything I write about – that’s only natural. This is a good thing. Faith has done a great deal for me. I have a wonderful son, a great career, an awesome parish, and a beautiful home because of it. Everything good in my life has come from God. I wouldn’t dream of cutting Him out of my story. He’s the reason I have a story worth telling and the courage to tell it.
Question: Have there been times when you’ve thought you were all alone then just hearing someone’s similar story gave you hope? I’d love to read your story in the form of a comment below…