View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Catholic Writers

This topic has come up before. It reared its head again last night at my Secular Franciscan Order formation session.

I was talking about putting my novel on hold because some of what's in it conflicts with the spiritual direction I'm taking in formation with the Franciscans. Too dark.

We strayed of into other writers, including Catholic writers (with an honorary "Catholic" label on C.S. Lewis.) The subject of my own writing came up. Why not write Catholic fiction, poetry and drama?

Yes, I know that a work does not have to be overtly "Catholic" to be Catholic. What it needs is to contain within it a Catholic sensibility, a Catholic vision of the world. That requires the writer himself to be full of that spirit so that is what pours out of him/her. Such writing can help to evangelize, to help others find direction.

I mentioned when I try to be religious in my writing it tends to come out as trite and superficial - a reflection of my own limitations spiritually and as a writer. But if I keep trying, keep plugging away, maybe I can break through.

One thing I do need to do is to read more writers who can help me get a sense of direction and who can feed me spiritually.

So I need to add such contemporary writers to my "pile" of works to be read. I've already read some or own some. I just need to dig in.


Anonymous CO said...

Well, Flannery O'Connor wasn't exactly Ms. Sunshine in her writing, yet she is a deeply respected Catholic writer even now. Judging by J.R.R. Tolkien, if one's Catholicism informs/pervades every area of how one thinks and responds in the world, it'll come through. Maybe similar could be said of Murray Bodo when writing what some may call rather fancifully of Francis now and then -- Murray's Franciscanism comes through whether we've read the author's religious title or not, you know?

Why not write the thing, then run it past some Catholics around you.. now's certainly the time, and you can certainly write well.

4:30 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

CO - Not talking about sunshine here. Talking about exploring some dark things - the kinds of things that are not suited to a "family" blog! It's a horror novole, and if you're familiar with contemporary horror, there's some pretty awful things in it. (Of course, there are some pretty awful things in me, too!) And its often quite graphic in its descriptions of those darker things.

One thing I am trying to do is to see if I can simply cut out some sections and reduce the focus on some things. It will force me to refocus certain aspects of the mass murderer (sick dude) and the main cahracter (a conflicted fellow).

6:49 AM  
Anonymous Mary Kay said...

Lee, first, I'm glad you decided to continue your blog.

As a fellow dabbler in fiction writing, my two cents is to just write it. Don't write it for publication; don't try to write a "Catholic story." Just write the story that's there, darkness, gory stuff, and all.

Bring the story to prayer and ask God to show you what aspect of your life prompted the storyline and various details. THEN you'll have the raw material for a story for publication.

I can't reconcile the horror genre with Christianity, but.... on a related note, Mary Higgins Clark is a Catholic who has prolifically written mysteries. You might want to find some of her books in the library.

12:55 PM  

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