Curtain Creak

curtainsI will give my readers some fair warning. My relocation west has given me the opportunity to discern activities on a number of fronts. This includes the blog you are reading.

I began this hobby nearly twelve years ago after about five years of commenting in chat rooms and on other blogs. Over the years, it has evolved into what I had hoped to be a more mainstream Catholic internet voice. I laugh when many of my internet foils label me a liberal. If anything, I have a stronger grasp of tradition than most Catholics. Thing is, we’ve lived in an age and communicated on a network where mindless obedience is valued. And I prefer mindfulness, wherever that may lead. And there’s the American lurch to the Right over the past twenty, thirty years. It’s taken a boatload of Catholics for a ride.

It occurs that for me, this all is rather the equivalent of an early childhood and the adventure of pre-adult schooling. It does not escape me that many of my early postings 1998-2003 could be categorized as infantile. And the blogging here dips into juvenile things from time to time. My internet voice may be more mature in 2015. But I don’t find the same inner fervor these days.

computer_monitorI can give you a 70% probability I will finish Laudato Si’ sometime in February. The posts are all in the publishing queue and most just need a spot or two of editing. I can also give you a 70% assurance that other posts will become more scarce as the next five months roll on.

Most of the Scripture posts are also waiting in the wings, but my plan to compose, record, and post various reconciliation psalms doesn’t appeal to me greatly anymore. More likely, I’ll just comment on the texts.

I haven’t decided to pull the curtain down here for good, but I would say I’m closer to that determination than I’ve ever been.

One nudge I’ve been feeling is an extreme dissatisfaction with the novels I’ve been reading for the past two years. I finish fewer than half the ones I start. Poor editing. Unappealing ideas. I’m exploring the tickle to write something far more serious than a daily blog. 10,000 posts with maybe 100-200 original words (when I subtract Neil’s and the Church’s) and that’s over a million. That’s a lot of books. And I have a few ideas to fill them: a novel about a newly-ordained priest and two parish musicians, a novel about a Jesuit on the moon, a reconfiguration of this classic novel for the 39th century.

Also on my bookshelf are outlines for an oratorio, a chamber opera, and a third musical. Given that the second musical hasn’t even been finished yet, that seems like a lot of work to accomplish for a person in the second half of life.

That’s not to say that blogging hasn’t borne its own fruits. It was a way for me to employ the regular writing principles given here. And more importantly, I have met some really fine people, especially the ones who both disagree with me and who choose to engage, accompany, and otherwise be friends with me.

Before this gets too mawkish, let me say the final act here is at least several months away. It might be that someone would want to take over this site–that may be a possibility. I might also employ this site as a warehouse for future writing projects. And I might be going through a phase and it will all smooth out as it did in 2006, 2012, and 2013.

I’m less convinced the blogosphere needs me–if it ever did. The conservatives have split into various schisms–the ones who’ve made a prefix out of a pope’s name (the same ones who can’t spell a bishop’s name, ha ha), the ones who are desperate to locate continuity with 1978-2013 (good luck, and welcome to the spiritual life), and the ones who have taken their toys and gone home. I don’t need to be a foil. And I certainly don’t need more adversaries.

Occasionally over the years, this blog has also been used as a wedge between me and other people–online and in real life. There is a strain of cowardice in many of the shadowy dealings, though none as outright devious as the heyday of 2004-08 when blogging the wrong thing from the wrong place could get you fired by anonymous churchfanboys and girls. People today still try. It does neither me nor them any good to be a near occasion for such sinful and scandalous behavior–all the Galatian stuff.

So there you have it: a self-indulgent post. Consider the thread open for comments. But more to come later.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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5 Responses to Curtain Creak

  1. nassauny says:

    If you close Catholic Sensibility, I will miss your insights and discussions. However, one of the strong points of blogging is that it is under the control of the founder. Also, it is more ephemeral than print.

  2. charlesincenca says:

    Blogging doesn’t count, word-count or otherwise, for offal. You count, you are numbered, you matter to the Lord and those who are his living apostolate. Todd, you provide a healthy, beneficial habit for me and…? The business of souls is much more intimate.

  3. Anne M says:

    If you quit you will be missed. There aren’t many blogs where we can go to get Catholic sensibility, or Catholic wisdom, or Catholic intelligence. You provide that. Thank you.

  4. Melody says:

    You have to do what you feel is best for your situation. But if you quit I will miss reading your blog. I think you have succeeded in being a “…mainstream Catholic internet voice.” What I enjoy most is when you comment on life and issues. I know I should be more attentive to your pieces on the encyclicals, but I kind of have selective ADHD for that. I like the pictures you post, and your sharing about your job change and move to the Pacific Northwest. I’m glad for you that you found hopefully a better venue to share your talents with the Church; and I hope that your wife and daughter are also enjoying their new home.
    If you want to devote more time to perhaps writing books, that is certainly a worthwhile thing. However many writers find that keeping a journal or blog keeps the wheels moving and actually helps their more serious writing efforts.

  5. FrMichael says:

    Even if I have never posted a single comment, this blog would have been a daily habit for me because of your disciplined publishing of Church documents. You provide a unique service in the Catholic blogosphere.

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