I think I have an overactive imagination. It’s all too much. The answer: Go to sleep, of course. I took a wee nap after some ferocious chainsawing on Holy Souls Mountain. There was an old, woodpecker gouged red oak that was begging to be felled before crashing down on an unsuspecting chicken, dog, or hermit. As if there are not enough books in the world, or at the hermitage, it was during that nap that the plot of a novel came to me, actually, just the dramatic ending. Just before getting those forty winks, coming up with a plot for a novel was the difficulty I put before myself, knowing that “sleeping on it” is the best way for me to think. Being unconscious is my safest mode of thought!
This is nothing new to me. When I was in high-school, I would try to figure out the most impossible mathematical problems, like trisecting an angle by way of arbitrarily measured, yet regular geometric divisions of the hypotenuse, figuring all this out, mind you, by going to sleep, proposing the impossibilities to my mind just before nodding off. I laughed out loud some years later when I saw Raphael’s School of Athens, in which Euclid seems to have the same geometric figures on his slate that I had drawn on my own tablet after a mathematical dream or two. Hah! thought I.
When I was in the seminary, I would propose the most impossible theological conundrums to myself just before going to sleep, on purpose, knowing that around five in the morning the answer would come blazing through the fog of sleep like the very Son of God shining through our mind-games with crucified love. And it worked, like clockwork. Humble thanksgiving was very cool, thought I.
The novel I have in mind — something, mind you, that is utterly uplifting, as much as The Last Beatitude described in the series on the beatitudes in the sidebar of http://holysoulshermitage.com — was pressing on me ever since I heard that a Cardinal member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith recommended that no priest suspected of having done the unthinkable should be allowed to sacramentally confess, ever, regardless of his innocence or guilt. As awful as that is, the ending to the novel, and, indeed, the ending of such a scenario for a falsely accused priest, can be, and is, for the novel anyway, that which can lift one’s heart and soul right into heaven to the praise and glory of God, with all the angels and saints singing and rejoicing. I won’t tell you the ending. You’ll have to read the novel. I’ll have to write it first.
But that’s a distraction. I have to write on Genesis! But no! Can’t do that either! Instead, I have to come up with a killer conference to be given at the end of the first full week of February 2013 up near the Catholic University of America. Past students of the Josephinum, you have to know, are being troublemakers! The consolation is that such an exercise will help me to focus on the Genesis project, as that is, in fact, the topic of the conference. Yikes!