Thursday, June 29, 2017


I am back from the Notre Dame literary conference that took place over the weekend. "Trying to Say God" it was called.

Here's the talk I gave. 

Met with many wonderful people, among them Jessica Mesman Griffith (at last, in the flesh!) and Jonathan Ryan of Sick Pilgrim (the sponsoring organization: check out the stellar opening remarks by Bishop Flores on their June 23 post), Ken Garcia, international development person/extraordinary writer Laura Bramon, and my old friends Greg Camacho, Leticia Adams and Muireann Kelliher (Muireann is also an internat'l mover and shaker).

The two on-campus lakes--St. Joseph's and St. Mary's--were my sanctuary.

Many, many thanks to all who put this incredible event together and special thanks for having and welcoming me. I am humbled.

And I came home to tons more work.



  1. Dearest Heather,
    Thank you for publishing this recording. I am the furthest thing from an aspiring writer, but I am a compulsive writer who is constantly wrestling with the sanity of my decision to share anything I write with real people and frequently begging in prayer for a sign that this has His hand in it; that it's really Him calling me to do this i.e. that I'm not the hapless tool of the devil.
    Your talk was a voice calling out in the wilderness to this wandering nomad with a pen and a stack of notebooks. Your conclusion had me choking on tears right along side you. Picturing Flannery O'Connor in Lourdes, offering herself up for her book had me weeping. Just, thank you.
    In Christ,

    1. Jennifer, thank you. I'm so glad you responded to my little talk. A friend just visited Andalusia, Flannery's home in Milledgeville GA and he sent me three tiny bronze feathers from the peacocks that still apparently roam the grounds there. Her essay "Living with a Peacock" (later renamed "The King of Birds") is killer. Here's an excerpt.

      "Visitors to our place, instead of being barked at by dogs rushing from under the porch, are squalled at by peacocks whose blue necks and crested heads pop up from behind tufts of grass, peer out of bushes and crane downward from the roof of the house, where the bird has flown, perhaps for the view. One of mine stepped from under the shrubbery one day and came forward to inspect a earful of people who had driven up to buy a calf. An old man and five or six white-haired, barefooted children were piling out the back of the automobile as the bird approached. Catching sight of him, the children stopped in their tracks and stared, plainly hacked to find this superior figure blocking their path. There was silence as the bird re­garded them, his head drawn back at its most majestic angle, his folded train glittering behind him in the sunlight.

      “Whut is thet thang?” one of the small boys asked finally in a sullen voice.

      The old man had got out of the car and was gazing at the peacock with an astounded look of recognition. “I ain’t seen one of them since my grand­daddy’s day,” he said, respectfully re­moving his hat. “Folks used to have ’em, but they don’t no more.”

      “Whut is it?” the child asked again in the same tone he had used before.

      “Churren,” the old man said, “that’s the king of the birds!”

      The children received this informa­tion in silence. After a minute they climbed back into the car and con­tinued from there to stare at the pea­cock, their expressions annoyed, as if they disliked catching the old man in the truth."

      Keep filling those notebooks! I'm sure those of us who live to write annoy the devil no end.

  2. I hadn't had a chance to read the entire "King of the Birds" article until this morning. Had to promptly forward it to my beloved friend who is a city-girl-turned-farm-girl-romantic-with-an-inordinate-love-for-feathered-pets and demand that she begin raising peafowl immediately.

    I greatly appreciate you sharing this snippet with me. I find reading Flannery O'Connor like meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary. Always perplexed by her seemingly utterly simple stories. They always call out - echoing my kids playing hide-and-seek - 'nah nah na nah nah, you ca-an't find me!' which of course are the most irresistibly motivating words ever muttered.

    and just to lump all my comments in one place... I just read your Catholic left/Catholic right piece- i know we just met, but I think I love you

    God bless you, lady!

  3. Oops, just realizing now I've commented under two different monikers. Same me!


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