Blog Hiatus

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I have decided to take a hiatus from regularly posting on my blog for a few months.  I have two novels floating around in my mind, both of which I have begun writing.  As the mom of a toddler, I have limited time to write, and I feel like the novels should be my primary writing project right now.  I will continue to post here as I have time or a post.  I will eventually finish the series that I am in the middle of on sexual ethics.  I will also continue to write for CatholicMom.com and will share those posts here.  Thank you so much for reading.  I hope Our Lord has blessed you through this blog.  I will be back to regular writing after I have rough drafts completed of the novels.  God bless!

A Few of My Favorite Books-Sleety December Day Version

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It is a gray and dreary day here with a mix of rain and sleet.  This type of day makes me think about my favorite books.  It is the perfect kind of day to tuck in with a favorite book and a peppermint mocha.  Yeah, still working on that coffee addiction.  Thank Our Lord for his patience on the path to holiness.

 
Here are some of my favorite books.  They are both fiction and non-fiction.
 
1. Til We Have Faces- CS Lewis.  This is my all time favorite novel.  I re-read it every year.  It is the re-telling of the Greek myth of Psyche and Eros.  Wonderful book!
 
2. The Seven Storey Mountain-Thomas Merton.  The most profound autobiography I have ever read.  I re-read it every couple of years.  It is the conversion of a secular modern to Trappist Monk.  It is a beautiful book!
 
3.  The Great Divorce-CS Lewis.  The story of a visit to Heaven by those who are in Hell.  It shows brilliantly how we condemn ourselves.
 
4.  Persuasion-Jane Austen. Most people put Pride and Prejudice at the top of their Austen list, but Persuasion is my favorite.  It is about second chances, overcoming pride, forgiveness, and enduring love.
 
5.  Rediscovering Catholicism-Matthew Kelly.  I have to credit this book with helping me to return to the fullness of the Catholic Faith.  This book showed me that the meaning of life is to be a saint and that the Catholic Faith is the best guide on our journey to holiness.  
 
6. Bridging the Great Divide-Fr. Robert Barron.  I have struggled greatly in my current Diocese with remnants of the “spirit of Vatican II”.  Fr. Barron’s book helped me to better understand the philosophical and theological underpinnings of these mistakes and how to focus on the beauty of the Faith.
 
7. Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Heaven-Dr. Peter Kreeft.  Like all sinners I need to be converted to Heaven.  Our former parish priest recommended this book to me to help me better understand Heaven.  I took it with me on a retreat to a Trappist Monastery and it really helped me with a lot of my questions.  Plus, Dr. Kreeft is brilliant!
 
8. The Lamb’s Supper-Dr. Scott Hahn-This book is about Scripture and the Mass.  It is part of how the Catholic Church understands the Book of Revelation as the Heavenly Liturgy.  This book completely changed my understanding of the Mass.  It showed me how we step into the supernatural, into Heaven, at Mass.  This book would change so many lives, if people would read it.  Mass is not boring, it is our foretaste of Heaven!
 
9. Space Trilogy (Out of Silent Planet, Perelandra, That Hideous Strength)-CS Lewis-This series is amazing.  It is about the Fallen nature of man and how he struggles with evil.  
 
10. Lord of the Rings-JRR Tolkien- Not much needs to be said.  A brilliant book about the path of holiness, how the small can fight evil, how evil never expects the weak to win, love, hope, I could keep going.
 
These are just a few books that I really enjoy.  There are so many wonderful books that I have read over the years.  What are some of your favorites?  I am always looking for suggestions.  Advent blessings!

Flow

I have learned a lot about writing in the last two days.  I have had the most intense days of writing that I have ever experienced.  Characters pressed themselves upon me and I had to put pen to page, literally.  I have written 36 pages by hand in two days.  Not only that, I have written fiction.  While I have had occasional ideas for a short story or a novel, I usually brush them off and assume that if I am going to be a writer it will be non-fiction.  Then all of a sudden a character told me her name, and I began to understand what previous authors have said about characters introducing themselves.  I was a medium for the characters to tell their stories.

 
Writing is an art form.  It is a way to create, bring beauty, and truth to the world.  The will cannot impose itself on the writing.  The will is driven by the ego and pride.  I am not meaning to sound Freudian here.  What I mean is that when I over think what I am doing, the flow of ideas stops.  When I start to think about what I am actually doing, I start to tell the character how the story should go.  In order to be truly free in writing, I have to let my imagination run free and allow the character to tell me the story.  It is a strange and wonderful experience. 
 
When I had two short stories written, in a rough draft form, I was amazed.  Two very different pieces with one underlying theme: Love.  Not the romantic love that our society holds up as the ultimate good.  No real, authentic Love.  The laying down of one’s life for another.  The choosing of good for another even in the face of death.  I now understand how it hurts the writer when a character dies.  I never imagined that I would write a novel that contained martyrs.  I have the story started, now to fill in the rest.  I was heart-broken by the end of it.  While I let the ideas flow, they are mixed with my own life experience.  Some of the characters have traits of people I know or have known.  Some of the characters are my idea of how people I have known could be truly great.  Many experience the power of conversion, which leads to sacrifice.
 
My way of seeing the world is a Catholic one.  There is no way to change that.  History, current events, the everyday, is seen through they eyes of one who has chosen the hard path of following Jesus Christ.  As Christ promised, history has not been kind to his followers, and the future will not be kind to them either.  While the novel I am working on has not yet happened, it could.  It is my very real, deepest fears come to life on paper.  Those fears are redeemed in the story of salvation.
 
When I told a couple of friends and my husband about the two short stories, they all agreed that I needed to turn at least one into a novel.  When we got home and I asked my husband his thoughts. He said that he was taken aback.  The story mirrors our life, and yet is not our life.  He knows that it is the fears that I keep in my heart as a Catholic, wife, and mother.  He was amazed that I would actually write it down knowing that it must have been difficult for me.  The thing is that the main character is me and is not me.  The other characters are my family, friends, or people from my past, but not them at the same time.  It is how I imagine them, it is them in a very different lifetime, or how I imagine some of their traits built up in one person.
 
The story is full of suspense, betrayal, pain, violence, but great hope and redemption.  It is the human story, in all of its brokenness.  Redemption in the darkest of hours.  I move onto the next phase with fear and trembling.  If I think about it too much my insecurities come out.  As I write, I constantly hear that voice telling me that it is garbage, pointless, that I should not be writing anything.  That is when the will has to come into play and push passed the criticism.  I have been criticized for my writing in the past.  I have learned that I can not show some of my work to certain people because they just will not understand.  I have become more selective with age.  For now I will see where the characters lead me and try to enjoy the journey.  Keep writing!!!