Let's talk about your need for holy leisure, interior freedom, poetic education, creative expression and cultural engagement. Authentic, joyful, humorous...many talks to choose from...custom crafted presentations...workshops, retreats, group facilitation...let me help you!
This is a shameless plug for my own book! I’m so excited that Angelico Press has published Souls at Work, and I have high hopes that it will be a blessing to readers. Someone has asked “What kind of book is this?” and it’s hard to put it into a typical category.
It is ‘self-help,’ because I enjoy talking to people who enjoy self-improvement. It is ‘educational,’ because I look at the world through the lens of the classical Trivium and suggest this as a model for self-educators and for teachers. It is ‘Catholic spiritual direction,’ because I strongly believe that your interior life will be much improved by taking on reality in all its forms – art, persons, subjects, buildings and more.
It is ‘poetic,’ because it is meant to give you entrance into my own lived experience, and so is written with a richness of vocabulary and diction that is sadly missing from many 10-bullet-point books. It is ‘hard,’ because it invites you into the adventure of working out your salvation in the rough and tumble tensions of things that are difficult for you. It is a ‘workbook,’ because I ask you to do the work of writing it for yourself (!), or, at least, responding to its questions to make it truly your own.
It is ‘dangerous,’ because there is no true growth or education possible apart from venturing into the unknown territory of the Real World with only our imperfect realization of Christ to guide us. It is ‘Catholic,’ because it is deeply indebted to and respectful of the Faith, and is predicated on my own love for Christ and His teaching magisterium…without being at all a work of theology.
What else? A fountain of youth? Yes. A great conversation starter? Yes. A fun romp through science, art, literature, architecture, and more with, not an expert, but an interested fellow student? Yes. A help in understanding relationship dynamics? Yes. A new perspective on the new evangelization? Yes!
So, as one who is obviously totally unbiased about this book, I highly recommend you get a copy and share the news that it is available. THANKS to all who take the plunge and wade into this ‘invitation to freedom’. Together, Catholic writers and readers must discover what it means for an artist to be, not a law unto herself, but a member of the Body of Christ. I so look forward to your response to this book. Please tell me what kind of book it is when you know!
In a discussion of my poem by this title, we look at the pain a woman may feel upon being loved by Christ. It is sometimes a very difficult thing to be loved, and to receive love. Many women have related to my example of a woman who fights that love as though her life depends upon keeping Christ at arm’s length. This is a very healing discussion!
This poem was first published in Canticle magazine, then used as a handout for their national women’s conference. When I discuss evangelization, I try to mention how hard it can be to accept Christ’s love. The woman in this poem is like many women I have actually known, and is a page right out of my own pre-conversion story. Christians often feel that the invitation to “Come to Jesus” should, necessarily, be seen as pleasant, wonderful, joyful – like an invitation to a party. For them, who know joy in Christ, it’s hard to imagine it could seem any other way.
But coming to Jesus also exposes wounds, tears away self-protective cover, reveals the utter neediness and brokenness of a soul. In this poem I try to give voice to that which causes someone to avoid Christ as one might avoid poison, and to give Christ’s response to that soul who needs Him so much. This talk stands on its own, or contributes to discussions of evangelism, dialogue, and womanhood.
Here’s a collection of my talks that feature poetry, poems, or poetic formation.
As a member of the permanent community of a Catholic college campus center, I designed an intensive workshop for college students based on my experience helping with student papers and dissertations. I address the weaknesses I’ve observed, and give a structural model for the design of thesis papers. This workshop is most effective if I can get hold of one paper from each participant ahead of time, or if even one will offer a paper in progress up for public scrutiny.
I’ve also adapted this model for use with high school students as “Constructing a Research Paper”.
Most Catholics could use some help learning to write better non-fiction, but most have no time for instruction after the college years. I have often felt that Satan is thrilled with the problems I see in student writing – surely, he would prefer us impotent in the use of words. During the formative years of their lives, so many bright people are told their writing is great and passed on up and out. In fact, much of it is awful, reflects weak thinking, and saddens me terribly.
If we would communicate Christ, we might start with improving our writing. I would love to help you do that!
Benedictine College hosted a Symposium for Advancing the New Evangelization in 2014. The theme was Transcendentals as Preambles to Faith, and I got to propose my take on that as a paper. Anyone who knows me could probably have bet good money I’d do something ‘three dimensional’ with that, and they’d have won those bets.
We need writers and artists who can translate Truth, Beauty and Goodness into form. In that academic environment, leaders are trying to keep students from becoming flat, one-dimensional eggheads by having conferences like this where ideas are pushed down into the ground of reality and practice.
In that light, my approach was to call listeners to the messy and non-ivory-tower world of actually engaging in the work of making art. You don’t have to be a great artist to get a great deal of good from learning to draw, write poetry, play an instrument. What those struggles do for you is prevent idea-olatry – the substitution of knowledge about art for the actual experience of trying to communicate ideas in real (and often inept, frustrating, messy) form.
The greatest moment was when my own pastor said, “I want to get back to painting,” after sitting in on my session!
Here’s an article I wrote for the great Tuscany Press site, based on this talk: Tapping Into the 3D Imagination – Realizing Person Through Art.