Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Random stuff so I can fall asleep at night

In addition to all my professional and moral challenges, I am thematically challenged. I have 47 random ideas for blogs and so have written about zero of them. On the other hand, I have started a journal again--after 30 years--and so am deciding it's better to start somewhere than nowhere. I have the nowhere concept down pretty well, I think.

I started a journal again because my 17-year-old son is doing so, as part of a recovery program that I believe can help him enormously. The theme of recovery may or may not figure in my own journal or blog. I haven't decided yet, but I am thinking not. For me, the notion of recovery is akin to that of salvation. As an ethnic Catholic, I am searching for a faith about it. As a devout agnostic, I can tell you that nobody cares. We have to figure this stuff out for ourselves.

"In the name of the father" was the working title I used for the fragment of a novella I wrote in college, as my ersatz thesis. It spoke to me then, not only of my religious heritage, but of my own experience as the son of an ambivalent father. (He loved me; it was just late in his own life to engage with his sons.) Now, it speaks to me of my relationships with my children, shaped by my own early experience, and brokered by my wife's. Naming is a powerful convention that men in our society still own, for better and for worse. It may be that the father's name is his greatest single contribution to a child's sense of self. A paltry thing as against what mother gives, but an important thing, as the word is made flesh.