"Too much is happening. I can’t take it all in."
So wrote one of my favorite columnists, Joseph Sobran, in a recent piece. I can identify with this sentiment, especially lately.
I was reluctant to continue with any new works until my October 6 piece was completed, but... what the hey.
Some things are more difficult to write than I imagine at the offset. Not because I am at a loss for words; my friends assure me that is the least of my worries. Rather, there are things so close to the heart as to overwhelm me. So many words, a jumble of them with which to render order out of chaos. What to say, what is better left unsaid. The exercise is much harder than I make it look.
And there comes a point in any writer's work where this happens, sort of an occupational hazard. To make matters worse, and as the above title suggests, there is no shortage of matters in politics and/or religion to provoke commentary. To wit...
The mid-term elections in the USA are some of the nastiest we've seen in years, as the Democrats are so close to dominating the legislative branch that they can taste it. The races in Missouri and Tennessee are symptomatic of a divided nation, reeling from the ongoing Culture Wars. Closer to home, they're out for blood on both sides of the Potomac, as the senatorial races in both Maryland and Virginia come down to the bare knuckles. There's also a growing interest in a young and rather charismatic figure from Illinois. If the Republicans do manage to lose control of one or both houses of Congress -- my guess is the GOP will keep the Senate, and the Dems will take the House by a small margin -- it may be the exercise in character-building they desperately need. Peggy Noonan appears to agree.
From Rome, we hear (once again, ad nauseum) of news that the Holy Father will grant a broader permission of the classical form of the Roman Missal -- the so-called "Tridentine Mass." Authors at group weblogs like Rorate Caeli are like schoolboys on Christmas morning; while claiming to limit their scope only to the most authoritative of sources, and I should say in all fairness they are incomparably good, they nonetheless jump at every utterance from the mouths supposedly near the epicenter. The big story is, alas, that there is no story, at least not a new one in the overall picture. The story behind the story is in the details, which appears on several fronts, and which is beyond which set of books is used to celebrate the Mass. To that end, I've been talking to sources of my own -- I do have them, you know -- and will wait for the huddled masses of pundits to run out of breath before taking my own.
While the actor Michael J Fox is no doubt suffering due to his bout with Parkinson's, I don't imagine that qualifies him to call for the deaths of millions of the unborn, to extract a part of their remains that studies have already shown to be a lost cause, as opposed to the under-reported alternatives. To say this is not to wish to prolong his suffering (a point invariably lost on the cable news channels). It is to wonder who else gains from the lending of his name, and whether he knows he is being used. The late Pope John Paul II was similarly afflicted. Did he respond by waving the banner of the Culture of Death? Would a refusal to do so have lightened his burden?
My volunteer work with the Boy Scouts is taking an interesting turn, as the worldwide scouting movement prepares to celebrate its centennial. It was one hundred years ago next August, that a British war hero conducted an experimental outdoor program for boys, on an island off the English coast. More on that in the coming year.
Closer to home, and the present, I've caught up with people to whom I haven't spoken in awhile. If you want to feel your own age, take a trip down Memory Lane with an old friend, and start to realize how far back that takes you. It seems like only yesterday, but it was fifteen years ago, that I was in my mid-thirties, newly divorced, and living in a basement apartment in Georgetown, wondering what would happen next.
I'm not one to sing the praises of conventional network television, but I do admit to being hooked on two new dramatic programs that premiered this season.
The upcoming holiday season is the first one in years that I don't particularly dread. That's probably a good sign.
I guess this means... we're back. Stay tuned.
[THIS JUST IN: There is a petition circulating online, calling for the resignation of Roger Cardinal Mahony, Archbishop of Los Angeles. Very tempting, until you read that whoever wrote it missed a few catechism lessons: "Be immediately removed from his office as Cardinal." Duh.]