theology of the body

Image and Likeness Launch Day

At last, today is the day I’ve had in mind for nearly three years, when Ellen Gable first asked me if I had anything that might work for an anthology of Theology of the Body short stories.

Image and Likeness: Literary Reflections on the Theology of the Body available from FQP. See St. John Paul II's teachings on the meaning of human love in a whole new way. #shortreads #poetry #fiction #TOB

As I’d warned a few weeks ago, I’ve been spending most of my time on the Image and Likeness page.  Here, however, is where I get to speak not as an editor representing the whole work and all the authors whose pieces appear within the collection.  Here’s my author page, where I get to speak as just another author who has stories to tell, two of which got caught up in this anthology.

I’ve been working pretty hard.  I’m wondering if, in the world’s eyes, I’m working “smart.”  Am I working in a way that will give me some sort of return on investment?  I’ve poured a lot of time into this anthology, maybe even a bit of my health.  Will it be worth it? Will I break even in some fashion?

I don’t know.  I’ve done as many of the supposedtas as I possibly can, just as I have for all my other books.  Only this time I also have a troupe of other authors reminding me of all the supposedtas, giving me more, and correcting me when I fall short.  (BTW, that was not a type of pressure I anticipated coming into this project.  It’s been humbling, which is never a bad thing.)

Am I just selling stuff very few people want to hear? Nobody wants to hear that birth control might actually kill you.  Nobody wants to hear that we shouldn’t farm people.  And people aren’t exactly lining up to read that Mary, the Mother of God, was so much like us that it gives us very few excuses to pity ourselves.  Why should they hand over their cold, hard cash to find out that abortion just might be destroying people, that our definition of “love” might be pretty badly tweaked, that marriage is so bloody difficult even when your bodies do have corresponding shapes?

I mean, seriously, why? Who’s gonna fork over the Washingtons and the Lincolns to have someone point out that… they just might be wrong?  And hurting other people?  And hurting themselves?

Who?

Man, life is hard.  Writing is even harder.  Writing warning signs, “HEY, YOU ARE ABOUT TO DRIVE OFF A CLIFF INTO THE VERY MAW OF HELL, SO STOP DRIVING THAT DIRECTION, OKAY?” is hard: making the signs good, and true, and beautiful, knowing they’re so very likely to be ignored.  Every day as a Catholic writer is a bit of the Agony in the Garden.  I’ve heard it said that Jesus wasn’t sweating blood because he was afraid of the pain of the crucifixion.  No, he was sweating blood in Gethsemane because he knew, he knew and loved every single soul who would know of His sacrifice… and who wouldn’t give a crap about it and prefer to just die anyway.

It’s so easy to get sucked into that maelstrom, to stay in that garden and keep sweating blood.  It’s a heck of a lot harder to look for the consoling angels and listen to them and focus on those who will listen and care and let their own hearts break, too.

But broken hearts let in so much light.

If you have let your heart be broken along with mine, if you have been one of my consoling angels, I thank you.  From the bottom of my broken, tired heart, I thank you.  Let’s keep writing the good fight.

If Jesus, the Lord of the Universe, lifted His head and carried His cross, then I have no excuse not to do likewise.  Thank you for walking with me.  Thank you for reading my signs.  Thank you for standing behind me in the garden, helping me to go on.

That return on investment isn’t on this side of the cross, anyway.


Image and Likeness: Literary Reflections on the Theology of the Body is officially available today.

You are invited to attend the IAL Launch Party on Facebook on October 27, 2016 from 8-10pm Eastern Time.

Update: Image and Likeness

IALTwittter.pngJust an update: for the next several weeks, most of my blogging energies will be spent over at Image and Likeness: Literary Reflections on the Theology of the Body. It’s a collection of short reads, poetry and prose, that will breath life into St. John Paul II’s teaching on human and divine love in ways you’ve never dreamed possible.

The release date for Image and Likeness is October 22, that great saint’s feast day.  The anthology’s website will soon after populate with author interviews and in-depth discussion questions, almost like a book club that you can participate in as you’ve read each story or poem and as you have time.  I’m honored to have worked on editing this project with Ellen Gable and Full Quiver Publishing.  Do check it out!

Wildcard Wednesday for AUGUST: The “Get Discovered” Edition

 

 

 

Surprise!  It’s that time again.

This time, however, there’s a little twist! This time, WCW participants have a chance at having their stories appear in an upcoming anthology!

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So I’m helping Ellen Gable of Full Quiver Publishing glean stories for an as-yet-untitled anthology of short stories, all of which are to illustrate (not preach, illustrate) principles of St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body.  If you link up your story here, there’s a chance FQP might pick up your story for the anthology.  It is my understanding that stories will be bought on a per-word basis, and all rights revert to the authors.  Even if your story doesn’t get selected, WCW is a great way to flex your writing muscles, to get your work noticed a bit, to help build your own mutual support society, and so and so.

It’s really not much of a gamble for you, if you ask me.  You in?

The WCW rules are thusly:  

  1. I post a writing prompt on a sort-of randomly selected Wildcard Wednesday.
  2. In 10 minutes or less, you write something based on that prompt.
  3. Post it to your blog.   After you’ve written your response to the prompt, add the link for your blog post to the list by clicking next to the little blue frog face below where it says “Add your link.”
  4. Please make sure that the URL you submit is to your response to the Wildcard Wednesday prompt, not to your main blog URL.
  5. Include a link back here in the post on your blog.
  6. If it’s PG-13 or better and you don’t have a blog of your own, feel free to enter it as a comment on this post, but please note that this is my house, so if I find your post offensive, it’ll be shorter by the head.  I love free speech, though, so take this as your opportunity to get thee to a bloggery.

I invite you to Tweet the link to your prompt with the hashtag #WCW so we participants can find each other on Twitter.  Another fun Twitter tag to try is #improv, which will connect you with anybody on Twitter doing any kind of improv. #amwriting is another goodie.

PROMPT:  In St. John Paul II’s teachings on the Theology of the Body, he points out four “originals”:  Original Solitude, Original Unity, Original Nakedness, and then Original Sin.  Your prompt today is to take one of those four Originals and spend ten minutes with it, creating a piece of fiction.  

A note on responding to the prompt:  Use the prompt as a jumping-off point and go from there.  Just write for ten minutes and share it.  Don’t worry about playing by writing rules, because I don’t have any here, and if you’re looking for rules to follow on improv like this, you’re probably looking for an excuse to not write, in which case, try another hobby.  Scrapbooking.  Quilting.  Swimming.  Anything but this, because writing brings new meaning to the term “hot mess.”

Now, here’s hoping the linkup stuff will show up here:

 

My Writing Process Blog Tour

First, I must thank Leslie Lynch for inviting me to participate in the My Writing Process Blog Tour.   She’s a delightful colleague and a skilled writer, and I’m glad to be getting to count her among my “writing friends!”

Here’s the part where I actually talk about my, you know, writing process.

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Here I am with La Virgen Morena Papel at CMN 2013.

1)     What am I working on?  Spinning plates, that’s what I’m working on.  In between homeschooling, marketing Don’t You Forget About Me, and trying to figure out how to eat with hypoglycemia, I’m working on First Disciples, a series of books that will teach girls 8-15 the daily life skills that young Mary would have used as a girl living in Herodian Israel.  I’m also, slowly and painfully, drafting Never Let Me Down Again, the sequel to the aforementioned Don’t You Forget About Me.

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2)     How does my work differ from others of its genre? I’m not even sure I have a genre.  Theology of the Body murder-mystery isn’t exactly a category on Amazon.

3)     Why do I write what I do?  Because it hurts when I don’t.

4)     How does your writing process work?  I’m a planner but not in the traditional outline-y way.  Writing Jane_E, Friendless Orphan:  A Memoir got me into a writing habit that works rather well for me.  Since Jane_E needed to follow the same essential plot structure of Jane EyreI made a “To Do” list of narrative tasks that each chapter had to accomplish.  I’ve been using that technique ever since, putting the list at the bottom of each chapter and deleting each task as I write out its narrative.  It’s very satisfying to watch each list dwindle as I write.

I’m also supposed to give you my Facebook page, web page (which you already have if you’re reading this), and the link to buy my books. There ya go.

And now I tag the following writers:

Ellen Gable is a Catholic mom, writer, editor, blogger, Catholic Writers Guild president, and all around great lady.

Barb S. is a Catholic  mom, cook, blogger, technowizard, and busy feeding a child with Type I Diabetes.

Laura is another Catholic mom, blogger, and proponent of faithful environmental stewardship.

Enjoy, tomato pie fans!