Saturday, 22 December 2012


A lot of people, friends, readers, say that I ought to write a book. About what? Writing is very difficult, and you can't simply summon the muse and write prolifically some of the greatest literature known to man, and there is no way I could ever accept that mantle anyway. As Tolkien said, I am an ignorant man but also a lonely one. People seem to react positively to my Tolkien posts, even if most of them go without much comment, but I don't claim to say anything original, just ''this means this to me, for such and such a reason,'' and I would question whether that is the correct spirit in which to read Tolkien, or anything (especially Scripture!), in the first place. Applicability is one thing, coming to terms with the meaning inherent to a piece of writing is another, in which case subjectivism goes out the window. Liturgy? Well, there are far greater scholars of liturgy out there, and I can only claim to have an amateur interest in liturgy as part of a personal feud with fraud, deception and cliques, in the quest for authentic, apostolic Christianity. My life? Well, who wants to read about that? I am not original like Quentin Crisp; I am not as humorous and frank (even if I am brutally honest) like Susanna Kaysen; I am not a genius like Tolkien; I would say that my life has been quite boring to date. Three or four years ago I attempted to keep a diary, after having read the Diary of Kenneth Williams, with detailed entries for the days, and I ended up throwing it in the bin after two weeks for the said entries were depressing and, in one or two cases, disturbing to read back to myself. They would not be publishable, and I was too lazy to keep it up anyway.

I would be interested to know what you think about all this. What sort of book would you want from me? A memoir? An autobiography? A study of Tolkien in some field? Do let me know.


  1. From a longtime reader but intermittent commentor, I think you should write whatever you feel like you should write, for that -- whatever that is -- will be what you would write best. And if there is one thing I love to read the most, it is when writers are at their best.

    A bit of advice, if you don't mind: never be afraid to be disturbing or depressing or any of those other things we all fear. That's where the good writing happens. Even though I am not a good writer, I park myself in those things, look around and write what I see. And I'll never be Dostoevsky or Marilynne Robinson, but I keep at it.

    Best of luck to you. You're a fine writer. Keep it up.

  2. Thank you, aredstatemystic, for your kind comment. Probably the reason I started blogging more than anything else was to keep my mind alive when, especially in my work life, it was numbed to a greyish pulp by ''do this, do that;'' ''why?'' ''because.''

    It's interesting what you say about times of great travail, that these produce the greatest art known to man, because it's true. I was going to say ''look at Van Gogh,'' but I don't think he was an artist, even if he did produce some very dramatic paintings, such as his famous Starry Night, great swirls of intense colours on a dark background. My problem is that I don't have the instruments to produce a work of art.

  3. How about a serious study of A), how believers for so many generations came to consensus regarding homosexual activity and B) is there any reconciliation between that multi-generational consensus in the Church and what seems to be a break from that consensus by this generation? All I've come across so far is rather unscientific, ill-informed polemics from either side. Those who embrace the new approach typically write off the consensus of their ancestors as time and culturally bound, without considering that they may be subject to the same constraints in arriving at their conclusions. Those who are quick to condemn the new approach have not presented their case in any meaningful way, it would seem.

    Can you provide some balance, scholarship and insight?

  4. truthseeker, I'm afraid I'm not interested in treating homosexuality in an academic way, nor am I interested in LGBT rights, Pride, Stonewall or anything else.

  5. Just write. Write something every day. Your journal was a good idea, but daily entries don't have to be anything in particular. Rules about what an entry has to say tend to cloy rather quickly. They don't have to be detailed accounts of the day. They can be completely unrelated to any part of what is going on. All they have to be is expressions of something in your mind. If all that is there is the inability to decide what you should say, write about that inability. Keep that up day by day, and some of it (maybe a lot, maybe not much) will be worth keeping and sharing. Nine-hundred-and-some-odd days ago I decided to write a poem a day. It's been a rewarding exercise and many of the pieces have turned out to be worthwhile. Oddly, some of the ones about feeling uninspired have got some of the best responses from friends.