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.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Off wandering

We will be in Lake Placid for a week. No writing - no computer - but I will be jotting notes and ideas.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


Another 696 words today on the novel - more than 2,600 since I restarted it. I am taking the week off next week for the Lake Placid trip with the Good Looking One, so I'm trying to get a jump on it. I will be bringing a notebook and will will be jotting ideas.

I'm feeling optimistic about that 18,000 goal for the summer (to bring the novel to 35,000). I've even introduced two new characters I hadn't thought of before - a "true believer" disciple of Staples who will help provide a faith input, and a cynical spy working for the bad boys.

I also have to take that Cambridge History class (online) in prep for the next school year, write a new play, and write that article for the Gates Historical Society.

The class is for teachers to prep them for teaching the advanced level history classes we are introducing.

The play has to be more factual/historical that previous plays I've written for the school. The home church/school wants less humor, less silliness in school productions in keeping with their beliefs. Since I work for them, I must go along. I will still try to get humor in - but more facts as well. The last paly, The Cure, was a hit. My Robin Hood still is the biggest hit, though.

Currently I'm doing some research on Hershey (of Hershey Candy) who created his business, but was a social idealist. A play about his decision to start his business after some failures?

Another possibility is something about the Underground Railroad, as we were one of the major routes here in Rochester.

The article is about the history of Presidential campaigns visiting Rochester - the next issue of the Historical Society newsletter is in the fall, so that topic fits. Carter was the last one to campaign here. Truman, FDR, and Garfield also campaigned here. Teddy did when he was running for VP. We also had some non-campaign visits by Bush II, Nixon and Taft that I've found so far.

A busy summer ahead.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Novel - and more

492 words this morning.

Professor Staples, cancer, and Liza, the witch.

I keep getting these notices from a deacon chat group I joined, and forgot about.

I should cancel. Good people, but with that door closed, a reminder I don't need.

Getting ready for my trip to Lake Placid next week. A week during which I will not write - away from the computer. I can make notes, though.

And with more than 1,970 word over the last three days I'm well on my way to my goal of 18,000 by summer's end.

(Of course, quantity doesn't mean quality!)


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Novel - starting

I finished reading what I'd written. Some sections need revising, and I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the troubled sections involving the "monster" and the sexual issues surrounding him.

How graphic can you be in a "Christian" horror novel?

I also started writing new material. 462 words this morning.

I need to research allegory and witchcraft. After all, one of my characters is a witch.

And she's one of the "good" guys.

Monday, June 23, 2008


I read through the first seven sections yesterday.

Some good stuff in it. Two passages that bug me, though.

One gives some background on the main character, but I think it spends too much time doing so. I need to cut out that section, move it, reduce it, something.

The other section is kind of graphic. Appropriate for a secular horror novel - maybe even tame - but if I aim to create a Christian/Catholic horror novel, I don't know if this fits. At the same time, it gives some explanation for one of the "monsters," humanizing him.

Hmm. More reading today.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Swedenborg: The novel

Years ago, I began a Christian "horror" novel. The working title is "Swedenborg" because I had used one of his ideas as a jumping off point. The final title has not been selected.

I wrote about 17,000 words, then stalled.

Plays, short stories, poetry, blogs.

I've probably written more than 100,000 words on those, but not on the novel.

Now that the newspaper blog is over, the most recent play (The Cure) completed and performed, and summer is upon me, I am not going to let other excuses intrude.

By summer's end, I want to approximately double the length of the novel.

So my goal is 35,000 words by August 31. In 71 days. That works out to about 253 words a day.

Of course, I have a week's vacation next week where I'll not be near the computer, and a couple of days in August when I'll be taking Emily back to school. And I have to reread what I've written to get back up to speed (that will take a couple of days), so I really have less that 71 days. More like 55-60.

Figuring 55 days, that's closer to 330 words a day. That's doable on a first draft.

No more excuses. 35,000 words by August 31.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

I will (thou)

In every YES is green silence.
Aamaa Yuh Hai Ken Aye Ha'oh sì 是
kyllä ja はいsim da Naam Jaa Haji Yis
Ôhô Héewi да ano हाँ tak Ji Èwé Tiim Ndiyo Beli
Aou' Aa Haw Ita Taip Yebo Kha ναι Yeah Vâng
Ba'leh Ie Owí Heh-heh oui Yup sí 그렇습니다Ia
نعم Po Air Gese Ii Aidh Bai Haugh


Yo Umbá E Rey Chai Ava Jes Aàn

In every YES is green silence.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Aardvark (first spasm)

The anthropomorphic aardvark with passionate indifference
conjugates the infinite concrete.

Mon superego est farine d'avoine avec de la cannelle.
Ihr Superego ist Hafermehl mit Zimt.
Το superego του είναι oatmeal με την κανέλα.
Il suo superego è farina d'avena con cannella.
Nosso super-ego é oatmeal com canela.
Su super-ego es harina de avena con cinamomo.

But all this hydrated oatmeal is desperated with tricalcium aluminate under duress.
And the ovoid aardvark declares: “That which was never is,” not knowing or understanding himself in the yeast.

Then he dances, green tomato paste suffusing the room with glowing YES.

He mimics from shadow to shadow, forming a round square: Invoking the Muses: WORDS ARE THE SHADOW OF THOUGHT.

((While Calliope plays euchre with St. Cecelia))
the mucilage in his soul seeks verbal raisins
with adherent coffee.

The aardvark rests in 4/4 time in the middle class shadows.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A biography that revealed much

I love to read biographies. Sometimes, I come away from them admiring or at least appreciating the subjects even more.
Sometimes, though, I learn too much, and the persona is torn away.
I just read I biography of Shel Silverstein that falls into the latter category.
A Boy Named Shel by Lisa Rogak reveals the kind of person Silverstein was. Words like selfish, self-centered, difficult, womanizer, troubled, irresponsible, and immature come to mind. Artists reputedly tend to be like that to some degree - even ones who are grounded in faith - but he was excessive about it.
Yeah, he wrote some great children's books. And some of his songs - "A Boy Named Sue," for one - are classics.
But he is no role model or inspiration. I certainly like him less after reading the book.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Fr. Mitch Pacwa to talk at St. Theodore's

Fr. Mitch Pacwa of EWTN will be speaking at St. Theodore's Church (168 Spencerport Road) in Gates Friday July 18, 2008. (My parish here in the Rochester Diocese.)
I wonder if he will also visit the nearby St. Padre Pio Chapel?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Rock of Faith

Here's the logo of our group, Rock of Faith (off the cover of the program from last night's Mass).

It was our third Mass. We also debuted my original song, "Proclaim to the Nations."

It went well - except for the string I broke on one song! We're getting a better feel for the sound system at the church, and the vocals are getting stronger and more confident.

I'm now working on a second song.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Story of Milo

There once was a boy name Milo who was afraid of his shadow.

He believed his shadow was after him, and that if it ever caught him, it would do terrible things to him. He believed other shadows were also after him.

So whenever he saw his shadow, or any shadow, he would run as fast as he could to find a safe place to hide. Some days he would stay in hiding until the sun went down or it was so cloudy there were no shadows. He would huddle away from the light, crying. The other boys and girls, and even many adults, laughed at him and would say cruel things.

Gradually, Milo went out of his home less and less, then not at all. His parents tried everything they could to get him out. Coaxing. Bribes. Yelling. Threats. A wooden spoon.

Nothing worked.

So they turned to Baba Dada.

Baba Dada sat with Milo in the living room.

“You are afraid of shadows, my little sprout?” Baba Dada said.

The boy warily nodded his head.

Baba Dada leaned close and said in almost a whisper, “I am afraid of shadows.”

Milo’s eyes widened.

“But,” Baba Dada continued, “I AM a shadow. So are you. So are your parents. So is that stuffed aardvark on the coffee table, which is also a shadow.”

Milo looked puzzled.

“We live in a world of shadows,” Baba Dada said. “And as shadows other shadows can hurt us.”

With that, Baba Dada pinched Milo’s arm. Milo yelped.

“The shadow that is me hurt the shadow that is you,” Baba Dada said.

But then he turned on a lamp next to the chair where Milo was sitting. He moved his hand between the lamp and Milo, the shadow of his hand touching Milo. Baba Dada pinched the air, the shadow of his hand closing on Milo's arm.

“Did you feel that?” Baba Dada asked.

Milo nodded no.

“That is a shadow of my shadow,” Baba Dada said. “A shadow can hurt a shadow, but a shadow of a shadow cannot hurt a shadow. Shadows of shadows are two manifestations away from reality. Do you see?”

Milo nodded.

“Shadows of shadows are harmless,” Baba Dada explained. “Shadows are dangerous to fellow shadows. And reality? Hoo Boy! But ours is not to worry about reality, only to seek it and know it and ignore it, and to understand and live with the shadows that we are.”

There was a glint of understanding in Milo’s eyes.

"So your shadow cannot harm you," Baba Dada said. "But the shadow you can hurt that shadow."

He turned off the lamp, and the shadow of his hand disappeared.

"Poof. I have control over my shadow."

Milo smiled.

"So you see, sprout, you have nothing to fear from your shadow. But it has much to fear from you. Growl at it!"

Baba Dada turned on the lamp and pointed to the wall. Milo saw his shadow there.

"Growl," Baba Dada said.

Milo growled.

"Now turn off the lamp."

Milo did. The shadow was gone.

"Poof," Baba Dada said.

Milo laughed. "Poof! Grrr."

“And now,” Baba Dada chuckled, “I think milk and cookies are what we need.”

“Shadow milk and cookies,” Milo said, smiling ever so slightly.

“Ha!” Baba Dada laughed. “We have a Baba Dada shadow in training!”

They spent the next hour drinking milk, eating cookies and playing shadow games on the wall.
Baba Dada showed Milo how to make many creatures’ shadows.

Milo was very good with rabbits and fish.

And Baba Dada was, naturally, good at aardvarks.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Baba Dada Speaks

I have been having a bit of fun with our local newspaper.

Well, fun for me, anyway.

In part of its effort to create an Internet presence, the newspaper allows blogs.

Some of the blogs are fine, offering insights and observations. Some are just pseudo advertising. Some are, well, let's just say reflections of their writers.

I post some legitimate observations of my own, but I have also inflicted Baba Dada on them in reaction to some of the other blogs and to some of the new age "wisdom" that's out there. It also gives me a chance to play with dada.

Every day I post some insight from Baba Dada. Some of the insights actually have some meaning. Some are silly. Some are just absurd.

Here's a few of them:

You either do, or don't do. But not doing may be doing, and doing may be not doing. It all depends on what you are doing.

History is often just officially approved legends.

The rich get richer, the poor get billed.

When reality proves too much, deny it.

Wealth can't make you happy, but it can pay the bills.

He who is full of himself has no room for anyone else.

Go beyond detachment to infinite indifference.

There are those who say, "Be here now."
I was there yesterday.

He who talks a lot often has little to say.

The more you do the more you do. Just be sure to clean up after what you do do.

The path to true wisdom begins with the aardvark.

One who heeds the advice of others always has someone to blame.

Whether you choose or don't choose you choose.

Birth is the beginning of death, death is the beginning of life, life is the beginning of beginning, and beginning begins to begin when you are ready to begin at the beginning.

The enlightened soul practices passionate indifference.

Not sure what I will do with these. Maybe a book of pseudo wisdom? I'll have to ask Baba Dada for some advice.