Dear Ms. Nicolosi,
It is a joy to share with you the news that Dappled Things Catholic literary magazine is now officially a printed journal! We have just released our SS. Peter & Paul 2007 issue, filled with the best prose, poetry and art by young Catholics that you can find, well, just about anywhere. We hope you will help us spread the word. To mark this important milestone we have prepared a veritable literary feast for our readers. This quarter's edition features a bouquet of prominent Catholic authors -- Fr. Richard John Neuhaus and Michael D. O'Brien among them -- discussing the works of literature that have most profoundly affected them. Fr. Neuhaus ponders the meaning of Catholic literature:
"A neglected aspect of the Catholic imagination, however, is the aversion to being carried away by flights of spiritual fancy. Put differently, there is an adamantine Catholic insistence that the connections be tied to the particulars of time and place. This is nicely illustrated in Evelyn Waugh's Helena."
Then there is "The Builders," a dazzling poem by a promising new author about the Spartan sacrifice at the Battle of Thermopylae:
"The gate was almost finished.
In those thirsty hours, a taut rack of earth we raised
With much labor. We packed the soil with shield-butts.
Waist deep in horse-flies, we stretched our lances—
Protean, slender bronze. Our cloaks were red and wet,
The air was old and saline by the end."
In "Happy Hills," a powerful short story by Jonathan McDonald, the meaning of motherhood faces the test of the modern world:
"Christine realized she was pregnant in late March of last year. Two mornings of vomiting and a pregnancy test taken over her lunch break confirmed it. She thought she could already feel the intruder glacially eroding her uterus. The tube looked like a cheap toothbrush, and she'd kept it under her counter at Kaki-Dans. She kept pulling it out every two minutes to confirm the two purple lines on the end. Positive. She'd turned twenty-one three weeks ago. There wouldn't be many legal consequences for the drunkenness, but manslaughter by alcohol-induced miscarriage might be harder to pull off. She'd probably just end up with a retard, even dumber than James."
St. Blog's favorite Matthew Alderman delights us with a meditati on on Botticelli's unattainable women:
"I just moved into this place, my first real apartment for my first real job. At the moment, I only possess five books—a strange sort of poverty. I'm waiting for the rest of them to get shipped up here, once I finally figure out where to put the bookcase. Four of the five I bought only two days ago, a ten-dollar, four-volume pocket-size set of the complete works of the painter Sandro Botticelli. I found them in a used bookstore in Cooperstown, wedged in at the end of a low passage amid faux nineteenth-century signage, baseball memorabilia, and Federalist bricks. And now I am contemplating, in the slow pale light of afternoon, all of Botticelli's women—Madonnas and saints, goddesses, aristocrats, and other men's mistresses."
There is also excellent new art and photography, and for those of you interested in the continuing saga of the motu proprio, you might want to drop in to our archives and read up on the eastward position of the priest -- Mass said ad orientem -- that is such an important part of the traditional rite.
And after you've had the chance to take it all in, please stop by our forums to share your thoughts with other readers!
President, Dappled Things