Wednesday, February 13, 2008

From Horror And Sadness, Sanctuary

Like many people, I've always been a huge fan of St. Theresa, the Little Flower. In this picture, I'm sitting near her shrine in Royal Oak, a beautiful art deco church that serves to display many of her relics. It's quite possibly the most breathtakingly beautiful church I've ever seen and was built by Father Coughlin, a Nazi sympathizer who broadcasted his radio show from the central tower of the church during World War II. The money he brought in from his listeners helped build this wondrous place which makes it all the more interesting for me. From evil comes beauty, from horror and sadness, sanctuary. It strikes me that this is a perfect metaphor for fiction itself -- the grief we have suffered turned into something spectacular and healing for others.

I found myself reading some truly awful drivel that an aquaintance had copied for me about how one should not write negative thoughts down, that it gives power to the "pain-body" we all carry inside. I wanted to yell, Are you fucking kidding me? But nobody was around and it would have seemed odd and my pain body might not have liked it. Ha! The one true revolutionary act a writer can perform is to tell the truth and not sugarcoat it. Anything less makes us willing participants in the perpetuation of our own suffering. St. Theresa knew this when she wrote in her famous autobiography, Let us pray for the bad priests! The irony being that one of the most infamous priests created a place where she is honored for all time. It's something a fiction writer would love, if he or she could think of it.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I write for revenge against silence." Bob Shacochis

Cocktail Hour
Drinking movie suggestion: Affliction

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Wednesday!


Lana Gramlich said...

Wonderful post. When we don't acknowledge our pain we live in denial & fail to move forward. Put that in your pain body & smoke it! ;)

Anonymous said...

Heloise here. I wish they hadn't cut Abelard's nuts off.

Anonymous said...

Zee Clueso. Ziz iz zee crude, eh?

Anonymous said...

Kwame here. It's getting worse. Oh, mama, where did I go wrong?

Anonymous said...

Cardinal Spellman says, "We are all fallen beings, my son." "Repent." Wear your sackcloth down Woodward, loser! XXXL.

Anonymous said...

Joe Louis: He can run but he can't hide.

Anonymous said...

Bill Haley and the Comets: He can wobble out of orbit!

Anonymous said...

The Beatles said: Strawberry fields forever!

Anonymous said...

Charles said: Christmas don't be late!

the walking man said...

Man Michelle, you have been here long enough now where you're getting to the real B level tourist attractions or did you just want to go hang out in Birmingham for a bit.

I never heard on of Coughlin's diatribes but I don't suppose he was a Nazi as much as he was an antisemite. Much along the lines of Henry Ford who started his own paper in Dearborn to publish his rants. I wonder if Coughlin was conflicted with is priesthood and his hate for the Jews and if he turned to little boys to massage it away.

You should have shouted the "Are you fucking kidding me?" anyway, then the anti insanity folks would have another reason to put you away. Now that I would write about.



Charles Gramlich said...

I think this was exactly what attracted me to horror fiction as a genre to read and write. The juxtaposition and intertwining of evil and beauty, of good and ugly.