Sunday, April 29, 2007

Never again have an unpublished thought!

Today a fan knee-deep in work wrote in and asked me to post some distracting updates. I think this update, "Never again have an unpublished thought," will, if properly pursued, lead to at least an entire week of distractions!

A bit of brainstorming and inspiration conspired to serve up the Big Rock Candy Mountain of writer's websites:
http://cfp.english.upenn.edu/cfp.html

That's right: a whole site devoted to "Calls for Papers in English and American Literature." Jump on the listserv, browse the archives of announcements, or join in a conversation on Brit Lit. Hours of entertainment, and a listserv subscription too!

If you yearn to deliver papers on Catholic writers such as Flannery O'Connor, Walker Percy, John Henry Cardinal Newman-- or examining how Catholicism influenced and haunted writers like Hemingway and Hawthorne... here is your site!

As well we must remember that to be Catholic does not always mean pursuing theology... Pursuing beauty for its own sake is good. After the VA Tech tragedy, the world could benefit from a sound paper on "Call me Ishmael," [not Ismail Ax] or an analysis of what George really meant when he showed Lucy Honeychurch the interrogation mark [another literary illusion possibly copied by the assassi, whose paper header one day replaced his name with a "?" Is this to be taken at face value? Or was this a bright loose cannon who was trying to flirt with the teacher, Brit lit style? Was a literary allusion mistaken by illiterate journalists as a sign of deep disturbance? Surely the eventual killer had read "A Room with a View."]

The disturbing VA Tech massacre, perpetrated by a student of English, causes us to pause and think about the real purpose of letters. Art and beauty can lead us to God, or we can distort the arts into an egoistic and meaningless pursuit. Catholic writing must serve our ultimate end and the glory of God.

A frivolous distraction has provoked some serious thought. We need good papers, hard-thought, courageous papers, to address the topic of literature's moral purpose, and we need good literature that honestly address free will, good and evil, our ultimate end of Heaven, and the like.

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