Put on the Armor of Light, on St. Patrick’s Day and every day

As this article from Slate acknowledges, very few concrete facts about Ireland’s patron saint have survived. Much that we think we know is merely legend. Keeping that in mind, did you ever wonder why Saint Patrick is credited with expelling snakes (not wolves, not badgers, not even demons) from the Emerald Isle? I’m not going to dispute whether holy Padraic literally chased serpentine creatures from Ireland, but you have to admit that on a symbolic …

Ovid’s Metamorphoses:
Change is the only constant

Third installment on Ovid’s Metamorphoses I left the discussion of Ovid’s Metamorphoses by saying (as I often do) that, in literature, context is everything. We can’t really grasp the significance of Ovid’s version of the Great Flood unless we consider it in the context of the poem as a whole. So what is this poem really about? How does the early episode that recounts the Great Flood contribute to the overall meaning, and how does …

Rerum Novarum, §1-11: A natural law defense of private ownership

As I start looking at Rerum Novarum, Pope Leo XIII’s famous 1891 encyclical, I’ll first summarize/paraphrase what the encyclical says, paragraph by paragraph, then analyze the way Pope Leo presents his argument, and finally offer my own commentary on it. The first two focus on what is being said, and the last is my own personal response to it. This is a method I recommend to anyone who wants to give an important work a …

Homer’s Tardis: Literature is the best kind of time machine

One of my favorite kinds of speculative fiction is the time travel tale, not the H. G. Wells sort of thing that takes you into a distant, purely speculative future, but the kind that takes a modern person and sends him (or her) into the past. The earliest piece of time travel literature that I can recall reading was a Classics Illustrated version of Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, which I …

GUEST POST: Embracing the Cross

  In my parish church, we have a set of hand-carved Stations of the Cross that we purchased from Taiwan thirty years ago. In those days we couldn’t afford much, so parishioners were encouraged to “buy” one station. I chose to pay for the Fifth Station, where Simon of Cyrene is compelled to carry the Cross of Jesus. I still think of it as “my” Station, not because I helped pay for it, but because …

Local Catholic writers interviewed on KATH 910 AM

Although we didn’t have our regular meeting during May, on May 11 Dave Palmer, general manager of local Catholic radio station KATH 910 AM interviewed several members of the Dallas/Fort Worth Catholic Writers Group during a live broadcast from Sacred Heart Books and Gifts in far north Dallas. In fact, Dave himself was the first writer to be interviewed (by Nikki White, manager of the book store). He recently published St. Thomas Aquinas for Everyone: …

5 Things to Do Get Out of Your Writing Rut

Has your writing gotten stale? Are you having trouble moving ahead with a project you are working on – or wish you were working on? Maybe you need a little help getting out of your rut. Here are some techniques to refresh yourself and your writing. 1. Journal If you’re suffering from writer’s block, it’s probably because of some anxiety or dilemma about what you are writing. Spend some time writing about what you think …

Catholic writers encourage and learn from one another

There will be two meetings of the D/FW Catholic Writers Group this month: our usual second Tuesday lunchtime meeting at the usual time and place, Tuesday, March 8. However, since our “fourth Tuesday” evening meeting at the University of Dallas would fall during Holy Week, a busy time for us all, we’ve decided to push it back to the fifth Tuesday the following week, March 29. It will take place as usual in room 42 …

Catholic Writers Guild Conference Online

Three and a half years ago, just as I was about to try to launch a career as a commercial writer and editor, I had the good fortune to attend the 2012 Catholic Writers Conference. By some miracle, it was being held practically in my own backyard, in Arlington, Texas. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the experience changed my life forever – not least because it sparked the founding of the Dallas/Fort Worth …

Make the best use of the free Kindle Sample

When I was a kid, I had no idea I would someday become an independently published author. I had lots of ideas about what I wanted to do when I grew up: archaeology, travel writing, commercial art. One of my childhood aspirations was to design books. I loved all the subtleties of type and layout, the feel and smell of ink on pages. I was fascinated by the differences between books published in English and …