Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Stories & Laughter & Culture

At the past few meals here at Bethany, the kids have been begging for stories about themselves from when they are little. Of course this has spawned their own tales-some of which are already known to Mrs. Curley and myself, and some of which are new revelations. Any time now I expect one of the kids will reveal something they have done which is not quite past the statute of limitations.....

This family storytelling is one of the joys of being in a big family. Some of these stories will be told over and over again as the years pass. One of my favorites recalled this morning:

A few days ago I posted about how Mrs. Curley and I used to go dancing every Thursday night. One of these times Mrs. Curley put on some new perfume. The kids were sitting around the kitchen table when Mrs. Curley entered. "Phe-ew, what's that smell?" says one unnamed boy. Mrs. Curley answers that it is her perfume-"doesn't it smell nice?". "Better watch out Ma," cautions another unnamed son, "with that stuff, the dogs will be after you!"

I know when the family of my youth gets together (now-a-days usually only for weddings or funerals) the laughter from our own childhood stories practically lifts lifts the roof off.

Some humorists have made a living off of the material that comes from their own families. The trick to making these stories make sense (and bring laughter) to an outsider is to be able to set up the culture of the family and to adequately introduce the personalities. No small task or else all of us would be humorists.

By chance (or maybe not) Requiem Press' next major release will be the recollections of the youngest of a family of 11 children growing up in Baltimore in the middle part of the 2oth century. Reading the adventures of his Irish-Catholic family brought back many memories of my own family.

This book (which won't be released for a few more months) is the first in a series of books which celebrate Catholic culture (now and then) that Requiem Press is committing to. I feel that building a new Catholic subculture (see this post at my other blog) is an important endeavor. Part of the subculture is poetry, literature, music which celebrates and explains the Catholic worldview-but in such a way that it also reaches out to the others and brings them into or connects them to the Catholic subculture; thus the subculture begins to influence the larger culture in positive ways.

We haven't abandoned publishing books pertaining to history-but have simply added to the mission. This movement has almost happened by chance (or maybe not). If you look at our last three new releases, each touches on Catholic culture. Mr. Meehan's "Two Towers-the de-Christianization of America and a Plan for Renewal" talks about how the "American/Protestant culture" infiltrated and influenced the Church (and Catholic culture) in America. "The Chapel Veil" makes the case for the revival on one particular expression of Catholic culture. "Catholic Laity in the Mission of the Church" has a long section on the need for a new Catholic subculture and its position at the service of evangelization. Each of these books has a historical aspect also (we are connected to the past). Thus it is fitting that Requiem Press move out in this direction.

There will be more about our plans here and on my other blog in the coming weeks.

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...Oremus pro invicem!

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