Wednesday, 28 May 2014

What Gets Published

Sorry to mention Psycho Single again, but it's not like he can enjoy it and I am struck by the irony that he has produced the first widely-read English-language memoir of someone born in 1991. Of course, few people are famous at the age of 22. Still, it annoys me that the first real glimpse I have had into the life experience of my friends' children's generation came thanks to P.S. All the more reason to encourage Catholic children to write. If I were Queen of the World, I would make every 22 year old practising Catholic spend this summer writing his or her autobiography, including all friends, favourite toys, favourite collections and favourite hymns.

Where P.S. threw up half-digested chunks of the manosphere, I would expect my Catholic subjects to channel G.K. Chesterton or JP2 or even Christopher West. Where P.S. bragged about red carpet premiers, I would hope for some bishop-sightings: "And there was Cardinal Dolan!" "And there was Bishop Schneider!"

You know who should write an autobiography? Super-cutie Paul Smeaton of SPUC. As a toddler he was blessed by Mother Teresa.

I was feeling guilty for not contributing to IP Novels for awhile, so I wrote a piece this morning about....wait for it....a Polish novel. Yes, I am sure you are amazed. However, this novel is about Kraków from the point of view of a Viennese psychiatrist who may be an intellectual but is as deep as a bathtub. I don't know if Ewa Lipska meant to make him some kind of Viennese lordling who comes to Kraków to sneer at the peasants and take refuge with rich, privileged people like himself, but that's what he is. On the one hand, you can see why he has a chip on his shoulder--the Second Republic's twenty-year affirmative action programs penalized Jews like his father--but on the other hand, left-wing types are usually embarrassed about despising the poor and unfortunate inhabitants of their vacation locations.

And now I feel guilty for beating up on Doctor Sefer because I met his creator, and she was delightful. Her eyes shone as she signed books, and she is certainly a wonderful writer. But unless someone writes a novel about Kraków from the majority Catholic Polish point of view--and it gets translated into English--people like my non-Polish poet friend (who loved the book) are going to swallow Sefer's p.o.v. hook line and sinker. This annoys me hugely.

As a matter of fact, my pal told me she had wondered if everyone in Kraków was like the people in the book. If you read my latest IP Novel piece, you'll guess what I said. Leave a comment to gladden the editors and underscore the importance of their work!

Update: Polish Pretend Son, though having mixed feelings about his most recent appearance here on Seraphic Singles, has kindly edited yesterday's torture work and promised to do last weekend's, too. So here are some public thanks for dear PPS.

Update 2: "I think Saint Edith would support".... Flip, flip... Mysślę, że św. Edyta wspierałaby.... "A movement"...Flip, flip. Flip, flip. Tap, Tap. Tap, tap, tap. RUCH! .... to grant Polish mothers... Flip, flip...


Modesty said...

Maybe it's just me, but I always thought that writing an autobiography was a bit egotistical. (Although, I'd be lying if I didn't enjoy the heck out of "Bossypants" and "Is everyone Hanging without me".)

Mine might be a bit too filled with vitriol towards the Charismatic Renewal and Catholic Youth Groups. And a big lack of meeting any "famous" Catholics. (Yet it would be filled with grumbling against my mother for letting my brother see Pope JP2 when he visited Canada and not me...because I had never been camping and wouldn't like it. WHICH IS TOTALLY TRUE.)

Anyway, yay on pressuring PPS into finally editing. Heh heh...

Seraphic said...

Why egotistical? Can you imagine how much your grandchildren would appreciate it? I say go for it. Quit at 150 pages. That will stop you from TOO much vitriol. Meanwhile, you will learn a LOT. Proust mined his memories for all HIS books.

PPS does not respond to pressure, actually. I reported the scene to cheer myself up! I told PPS it was for the spiritual support of All Poland, but I suspect he is really doing it out of the goodness of his heart. I'm learning some extremely useful stuff from the corrects, too.

Seraphic said...


Leah said...

Does Journaling count?

Seraphic said...

Only if you aim for publication. When we aim for publication, we emote less. As a reader, I only need to be told once that you loved Jimmy Jon to distraction in the fourth grade. But I certainly want to know why and what his favourite sweater looked like.

Modesty said...

Egotistical I guess depends on how its written. I'm pretty vain so it could be a lot of self praise and perhaps even some negativity that should not be passed down through the ages. (Also my grandfather wrote a memoir/ was pretty traumatic for the family. It was VERY egotistical and selfish. )

Hmmm...if I publish it before I'm married, I can title it "The virgin Mary (See? Already my pride and vanity is shining through. LOL.)

I don't know if my autobiography will be passed down. But I'm hoping my fiction novels, comics, and the games I've made will. ;) (So many stories, so little time!)

Sheila said...

My grandma was working on her autobiography, but then abandoned it and ended up dying. I wish she had written it. Now I nag my mother to write hers. She has had a very interesting life!

Mine is rather boring and the only way to make it interesting is to spice it up with embarrassing details. I don't think I ever will, unless my life gets more interesting. I would love to write a homeschooling/farming memoir. I enjoy reading farming memoirs more than almost anything, and the only thing that would make it better would be to read of the author's uproarious Catholic family along with it.

But first I need to get some goats or anything, because my yard does not actually qualify as a farm.

Leah said...

Oh, I don't know, Sheila. I think humor is a much better spice than embarrassing details, and everyone has funny things happen in their life. Although I'm sure it helps, I don't think you need to have a fascinating life to write interesting memoirs.

And anyone who has children has plenty of scope for humorous writings about their lives. :)

Some of my favorite memoirs/autobiographies/whatever you want to call them, were written by women whose lives were nothing at all out out of the ordinary, but who had such a gift for writing that I loved reading about the ordinary things they and their families did. They were genuine and funny, and made every day things like homeschooling, cleaning and so on a lovely read.

And anyway, one can hope that even if one's writings are a little boring, at least our families should have some interest in them. :)

And that is a really good point about journaling, Auntie Seraphic. Must work on that. :)

Julia said...

Thank you, PPS!