33 Book Introduction

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
O my God, please help me to write a book abut You and homosexuality.
I ask this through Christ our Lord.

St Jude Thaddeus, pray for it.
St Francis of Assisi, pray for it.
St Valentine, pray for it.


'The heart has reasons of which reason knows nothing' ~ Blaise Pascal

'He lays upon everyone he longs to bring into bliss something that is no blame in His sight, but for which they are blamed and despised in this world - scorned, mocked and cast out. He does this to offset the harm they should otherwise have from the pomp and vainglory of this earthly life, and to make the road to Him easier, and to bring them higher in His joy without end.' ~ St Julian of Norwich

'And you shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.' ~ Gospel of St John 8:32


Scott Woltze said...

I've enjoyed checking in on your blog over the last several years, but apparently I didn't visit often enough because I just now saw your book. It's fascinating, deep and took real guts to write. The Church needs thousands of more "fools for Christ" just like you. Now I'm going to read your book more slowly--I read it so fast the first time I wasn't sure if Beatrice was a real woman or a literary device! BTW--you have the best-named Catholic blog--love that Psalm.

Andy said...

Your book is the greatest load of egocentric self pitying nonsense I have ever read. Rather than seeing that your purpose in life should be to love and serve God by following Christ you just indulge yourself, and imagine Christ wants to go along with it.

Heterosexuals, married or otherwise, trying to follow Christ have a far harder road to tread than than a single man with homosexual tendencies. Get a grip and get on with what you have been dealt. In other words be a man, not a total wimp. Oh and keep your crazy (sinful even) thoughts and behaviour to yourself, rather than spray them around and scandalise others.

Sally said...

Pahahaha, that's great. Just read the first bit, I assume (hope) it was intended as a very good joke. It amazing 'cos some people do actually write books like this!! You're a genius Laurence. It's got everything: lack of plot, lack of style, bad grammar, frustratingly poorly written, written from the perspective of an idiot, completely irreligious, delightfully irritating twunt of a narrator who thinks about buggery all day long, sits on his fat ass, ruins the lives of his friends, then tries to come over all preachy about it!! Such a riot.

I think you could turn this into a proper book somehow - maybe something a bit like Confederacy of Dunces (you know how the 'hero' is a loser Catholic who sits writing insane prophecies all day long while not doing anything about anything). You could have a book where the 'hero' is an unemployed loser who writes 33 and thinks it will catapult him to literary fame. Then sits on his ass all day thinking about buggery and complaining about the pope!!

john haggerty said...

Andy is wrong.
We straight men have an easier life than those who are gay and Christian.
We can get married in the church with all the blessings of that sacrament.
Gay people have a cross to bear; many gay men and women carry a wound.
The videos on YouTube of the Pentecostal preacher Derek Prince address the issue of spiritual healing and the laying on of hands.
See Derek Prince preach 'How Demons Can Cause Negative Thinking' which deals with spiritual depression.

Christians, straight or gay, need continual inner healing.
Our Lord told his disciples to pray constantly.
Having weekly prayer meetings in homes is a good way of praying together under the protection of the Holy Spirit. But ask the permission of your parish priest.

As for Laurence's writing I see real potential.
Watch a YouTube video, Writing As Therapy, by K.M. Rice, a gracious and beautiful young woman from northern California. Kelly has numerous writing videos and she always makes me laugh for joy. I pray for her conversion.
The Iowa Writers Workshop videos on YouTube are also excellent.

Books I recommend would include:
Writing Down The Boxes by Natalie Goldberg, The Art of Fiction by John Gardner, Becoming A Writer by Dorothea Brande, Writing A Novel by John Braine, Mysteries And Manners by Flannery O'Connor, The Naive And Sentimental Novelist by Orhan Pamuk, The Craft of Verse by Jorge Luis Borges, The Writing Life by Anne Dillard, When I Was Old by Georges Simenon, Raw Material by Alan Sillitoe, Homage to Qwert Yuiop by Anthony Burgess; all the essays of George Orwell; all the poems and essays of Seamus Heaney; both the fiction and non-fiction of Italo Calvino; Austerlitz by S.W. Sebald, who died tragically in a road accident at the height of his powers .
Kipling and Lawrence were the greatest short story writers in English in my opinion. They were also considerable poets.

The Russian poet Joseph Brodsky was a ladies' man; he revered the work of W.H. Auden who was homosexual. (See Brodsky's collected essays.)
Sexual orientation counts for little in the field of writing. Virginia Woolf said the artist is a kind of hermaphrodite.
A.S. Byatt is one of our finest novelists; her online interviews are worth reading.

I am reading 'The Importance of Elsewhere: Philip Larkin's Photographs' by Richard Bradford, an attractive book with generous quotations from Larkin's verse, who echoes of Thomas Hardy to my ear.

Watch a YouTube documentary on the late Denise Levertov, who was born in England but emigrated to the United States in the 1950s, where her reputation as a poet was established.
Her father was a Hasidic rabbi who converted to Christianity and became an Anglican priest. Denise, who converted to Roman Catholicism, writes about her father in her autobiography, published by Bloodaxe.

Many people without belief in God turn to nature and wildlife.
Read a superb biography of J.A. Baker who wrote the classic wildlife quest, The Peregrine.

My House of Sky by Hetty Saunders (Little Toller Books) is a beautiful book with evocative photographs. She goes on a quest for the enigmatic Baker as he went on a quest for the peregrine.

john haggerty said...

Further to my above comments, there are a lot of helpful videos on YouTube under the TED-university sponsored programmes.
I write down the names of these in my notebooks for future reference.
They cover everything from science to music.
Here are some on writing, therapy and self-esteem.

Writing as a way of calming, centering and making meaning: Cassie Premo Steele.
Thinking forward for your future self: Diamond Wilson.
Writing is the only magic I still believe in: Jarred McGinnis.
How the story transforms the teller: Donald Davis.
The Power of Story: Susan Conley.
The power of writing: Rebecca Wallace-Segal.
My awesome obsessions - writing, reading, saving letters: Nina Sankovitch.
Learning to listen: Helen Filenowski.
How to write your own story: Beth Reekles.
Look deeper into the wonders of writing: Nicoletta Demetriou.
The power of dreams and memories: Jeff Gould.
Learning how to learn: Barbara Oakley.
Writing your future, revising your past, moving forward: Yvonne Battle-Felton.
Expressive writing therapy can help you: Suzi Strong.
How I became an extreme writer: Freya Wright Brough.

Listen to an illuminating conversation between Dr. David Hanson, a spinal surgeon, and Mark Owens, a wildlife conservationist. It is titled:
Expressive Writing as a tool to address chronic pain, anxiety and stress.

Starting a writers' group is important.
The great writers from the past who are read today all had their own rich network of support ... Even that isolate soul Franz Kafka had his great friend Max Brod.

The writer needs both encouragement and helpful criticism.
Only a bunch of kindred spirits can do this, together.

At the moment I am reading Patrick Hamilton, a great and bleak novelist who stands comparison with Dickens. He lived in Brighton for a time.
Will Self has written the introduction to one of Hamilton's classic stories.

I intend to reread all of Elizabeth Taylor, the least known of English fiction writers. Nicola Beauman has written her life, 'The Other Elizabeth Taylor' (Persephone 2009).
Kingsley Amis, who attended her funeral, said how bleak and empty the godless service felt to him.
This couldn't be in greater contrast to Rose Macaulay the devout Anglican novelist, whose two volumes of letters to an Episcopal priest in America are worth tracking down in a secondhand bookshop.

Who would be an atheist?

john haggerty said...

Thanks for printing my off-subject comments, Laurence.

A title to add to the reading list is Alan Garner's 'The Voice That Thunders' (1997) a book of personal essays and autobiographical sketches that touch on the numinous. They are equal to William Golding's collection, 'The Hot Gates' which I read at school in the 1960s.

I saw Alan Garner speak at the Cheltenham Literary Festival just before the Millenium, and his spoken words lived up to his writing. There are two videos about him on YouTube, The Edge of the Ceiling and The Shovel.

P.J. Kavanagh (once director of the Cheltenham Festival) has two books of essays which are in the same class as Golding and Garner.
The second of these, A Kind of Journal, is his collected pieces from The Spectator dealing with his observations on wildlife, the countryside of Gloucestershire, poetry and Catholicism.

P.J. Kavanagh was an accomplished actor yet seldom gave readings.
I am glad I saw him read just once in Cheltenham (he lived near Cirencester).

I will always remember the tone of his voice as he read his poem 'Edward Thomas in Heaven'.

Read about him in a blog - P.J. Kavanagh, No Country For Old Men.

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