Back in early December, I announced that I was suspending this blog and taking it off-line. I likened my writing career thus far to standing on my head for show: requiring modest skill; impressive at first, then amusing, before becoming repetitive, uncomfortable, and unnatural. I even went so far as to declare, “ I won’t call myself a writer again until I write something worthwhile, and I don’t know what it will be.”
Those who know me well know I have a tendency to take myself entirely too seriously. I was in a bad spot at the time: way too busy at work, home, and church; unable to make a satisfactory start on the annual Christmas letter; and unhappy in my work. Some several things needed to give — but this blog was not one of them.
As a full-time husband, father, and director of communications, this little corner of the internet is one of the few places I actually do write stuff that people read. The people who matter most to me are here, but they aren’t the only ones — consider that this tiny, rhyming prayer is the most viewed post on my site, in large part due to readers (or skewed search results) from Russia. A favorite web site of mine, The Art of Manliness, posted an article awhile back entitled, “How a Man Handles a Miscarriage.” I read the post and the appreciative comments, before adding a comment of my own and sharing a bit about our little Jude. Men came and read, and though they left no comments, who knows whom it touched?
In fact, if I want to be truly serious about writing, I would not permit myself to be limited by the potential for monetary gain. A few weeks ago I was looking through the Catechism of the Catholic Church to see specifically what the Church teaches about property rights — and learned that while she makes no bones about supporting the right to private property, she is insistent that we steward our property and talents for the greater good:
“In his use of things man should regard the external goods he legitimately owns not merely as exclusive to himself but common to others also, in the sense that they can benefit others as well as himself.” The ownership of any property makes its holder a steward of Providence, with the task of making it fruitful and communicating its benefits to others, first of all his family.
Goods of production — material or immaterial — such as land, factories, practical or artistic skills, oblige their possessors to employ them in ways that will benefit the greatest number. Those who hold goods for use and consumption should use them with moderation, reserving the better part for guests, for the sick and the poor (CCC 2404 and 2405).
I read and re-read it: Goods of production, including practical or artistic skills, “oblige their possessors to employ them in ways that will benefit the greatest number … reserving the better part for guests, for the sick and the poor.”
A “serious” writer , then, should speak the truth, regardless of gain or loss, for the good of those who need to hear or whomever will listen.
It’s good to be back.