It’s funny—eerily funny, some might say—how Lent falls upon you just as you’ve finished reading that last story, savoring that last poem from the Advent/Christmas issue of Dappled Things. What follows? A desert: a literary desert of forty-plus days that you must endure before rejoicing at last in the glory of Easter—and the delights of the new issue that comes with it! Dear reader, your days of penance are over: the Lent/Easter 2009 edition of Dappled Things, our most exciting issue to date, is now available online!
Once again we are blessed with a particularly strong batch of fiction pieces, including the grotesque and darkly humorous Black Market by August Roulaux—an abortion story like none you have read before—a profoundly affecting examination of a father’s struggles to reembrace his daughter in Fiorella de Maria’s Aftermath, and the terse, gripping subtlety of John Farrell’s A Circle of Cypresses, which delves deeply into life, death, marriage, love, and human yearning in deftly crafted prose:
“I am so sorry,” she said. She couldn’t think of anything else to say.
But Mr . Peebles didn’t need any prompting. “I’m glad you’re all right. The sergeant there, or captain, at the police station said neither of you was hurt, and that’s a good thing.”
She nodded without remembering to say yes.
“Are you there, Mrs. Gordon?”
“I just feel . . . I suppose it’s us—I mean we should’ve been the ones calling you.” Mrs. Gordon. It was the first time since their wedding celebration anyone had referred to her as Mrs. Gordon.
Looking for something meaty? In our feature article, “Prudence and the Providence of Plot”, Br. Bruno M. Shah, O.P., takes questions of fiction, as developed by E. M. Forster, and applies them to larger philosophical questions of the narrative of human life in the context of man’s journey toward (or away from) God:
An author’s insight into human nature cannot be exhausted by his characterizations. Somehow, homo fictus possesses a transcendent meaning that is capable of “opening out” beyond the novel’s horizon of mundane action. But what is this trans-narratival dynamism about, and what does it have to do with our own, concrete lives?
This little taste will have whetted your appetite—but the full article is only available in our printed edition! For those of you who have still neglected to subscribe, this must be the final spur! Subscribe without delay!
Our offerings for Art & Photography feature a single artist. Sarah Ortiz, recently returned from a trip to Granada, Nicaragua, provides us with a vivid and striking photojournal. In the exquisite colors of everyday life, Mrs. Ortiz captures the earthy splendor of the human scene.
We have a striking collection of poetry—vivid and clever as with Robert MacArthur’s “The Cheshire Cat,” or full of haunting longing as with Fiorella de Maria’s “Widow’s Walk”. Returning poet R. S. Mitchell ponders the deep causes of this dappled universe in his mind-teasing, masterfully crafted poem “Reading Pascal at Mint Springs”:
Feel the earth of your situation
and smell the lake and, beyond, see
circling vulture, run of ridge,
for the puzzled trees bespeak
the jigsaw jointure of impression,
yellow and green and sheen of lake.
As always, our editors are eager to provide you with reviews and interviews. This issue, our intrepid editor-in-chief Katy Carl single-handedly gives us the fruits of her conversation with author Andrew McNabb, as well as a review of his new story collection, The Body of This. A second review deserves particular mention: Amor de Lohn is the first published collection of poetry by Gabriel Olearnik. His name should be familiar to you all, as he was first published here, in Dappled Things! Many congratulations to Mr. Olearnik!
Alongside these fascinating features, we offer two editor-produced essays: A Tribute to Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, written by one of his young former collaborators at First Things, our own Mary Angelita Ruiz; and, for those who remember Katy Carl’s insightful discussion of Self-Gift and the Literary Vocation, we offer a complementary reflection from another side of the artistic life, as Eleanor Bourg Donlon speaks of Publishing for Papists: Marketing the Literary Vocation.
These are just a few of the many, many more excellent fiction pieces, essays, poems, and works of art we have to offer you this issue.
Wishing you many blessings during the Easter season,
President, Dappled Things