Again, forgive me for the radio silence. I have things that I am working on, but the time just seems to elude me to actually finish them. I feel completely run ragged.
I have gone back to reading Rod Dreher. He’s someone whom I tend to read for streaks and then put down. I’ve always felt that there were some things he did an absolute brilliant job writing about and I’d get hooked, and then he’d get started writing on something that would just irritate me enough that I didn’t want to read him for awhile again.
In any case, the amazing John Kass, formerly of the Chicago Tribune (no longer worth linking to), recently had heart surgery, and while he recovers, he has allowed others to write on his site. There is an essay there from a friend of Kass’, “Steve the Pilot” about why he finally left Chicago for Florida. Dreher picked it up, commented on it, and then asked for reader stories. I wrote, and Dreher quotes my email at length here (“Another Chicago native”).
I have to admit, that was kind of cool. Then, just a couple of days later, he announced that after 12 years at The American Conservative, he is moving exclusively to Substack. I guess I broke his blog! *L* All kidding aside, it’s interesting to see “big names”, John Kass included, go to being completely independent internet columnists. Apart from that, though, I felt almost called to subscribe to Dreher for the time being, at least, and I think it has to do with the family situation he’s going through right now. It is a little bit eerie to read what he’s writing because he can’t imagine how much it parallels my situation right now. My heart bleeds for him, and at the same time, I read what he’s writing and I totally get it. I hope to be able to say more about this in the future, though by its nature, there’s a lot that can’t be said publicly for the sake of the other people affected.
I survived yet another birthday season. I hate that this is what it feels like with birthdays, especially with the kids being little. Added to this is that there are now very painful memories attached to this particular time, and there hasn’t been enough time for that to even resolve somewhat, much less take a backseat.
I’ve been buying books again. I don’t know if this is a good or a bad thing. I desperately miss being able to sit down and read. I even won an ebook from LibraryThing. Things are so crazy, I don’t know when I’ll be able to read them. The bad part is, I’ll pick one up, get pulled in, read 20 pages, and then scold myself for not being more organized about getting things done and setting aside actual time to read regularly.
As you can see, there is a theme here. I haven’t purchased books about the White Rose in quite some time, and there are a number of interesting books that have been published. Some of the upturn in interest is that February 24 was the 80th anniversary of the executions of Christoph Probst, Hans Scholl, and Sophie Scholl. There are commemorations every year, particularly in Munich, but the big ones tend to be on decade years. If any of you remember this post – Another ‘Orthodox Coincidence’ Courtesy of St. Alexander of Munich – I talked about poking around into information on how the canonizations of Willi Graf and Christoph Probst are going on the Roman Catholic side. I found out that there’s an American woman by the name of Stephani Richards-Wilson who is working on the official “case” for Willi Graf for the Vatican. There’s a podcast here that she did with the podcast Fountains of Carrots, and although there are a couple of minor errors, her love of Willi Graf reminds me a lot of mine for Alexander Schmorell. Well, it turns out that she teaches at a university about 45 minutes away from me, and we exchanged a couple of emails, and it certainly was something nice as a distraction from all the other stuff. And… as far as the books go… I’ve wanted the German one for twenty years now. It’s a collection of letters and diary entries of people who were executed by the Nazis while they were in prison. The book has been reprinted a couple of times, but the last was in 1994, so it’s getting harder to find copies in good shape at a decent price. The graphic novel seems interesting – though short – and I was super excited when the biography of Traute Lafrenz came out in 2007 or so, but it was originally written in Norwegian. A German translation followed, but it was neat to see that it also got translated to English. I’ve paged through the “Conscience before Conformity” book, and it looks really good – part of its purpose is to talk about the Christian underpinnings of the White Rose, which has been largely ignored in the English literature about the group, but though the author is a well-regarded Roman Catholic scholar, it seems immediately apparent that he knows almost nothing about the Orthodox Church, as the tiny bit he wrote about the glorification of Alexander Schmorell as a saint is largely wrong.
Almost paradoxically, I’ve started reading Redwall to younger son. His teacher has the class enrolled in Pizza Hut’s “Book It” program, and he’s been fairly ambivalent about it. I want him to be excited about a book. I don’t think he’s quite to the level where reading it himself would be fun, but he’s not too big to be able to snuggle on my lap for a little while and listen. The goal for this month is 400 minutes, which is not insignificant.
And spring tends to be the season of clubs and presentations and competitions and the like, so there’s all these things to arrange, and the time for the extra trips to school and who knows where add up.
We had some weather drama as well, and ended up with a power outage for over ten hours just over a week ago. The kids were happy – three snow days in two weeks, and an unexpected 5-day weekend. I can’t say that I was too sad either. The mailbox did get sheared off the post, and I need to see if I can fix it soon.
At this point, I’ve forgotten whatever else I was thinking about writing about. It’s Sunday, and we didn’t make it to church – pure exhaustion on my part, and certain kids not feeling great. I was aiming to get this posted on Saturday, but reading time superseded writing, and then getting completely overtired girls in bed was the next “had to get done now” thing.
5 thoughts on “Trying to Catch A Breath”
Thanks for linking to your comment on TAC. I am also a long-time on-again off-again Dreher reader, from when he wrote for National Review Online. Currently I’m on, but I can’t read everything — who has time to follow his every thought? haha.
Did you already read the small book about the Orthodox young man who was in the White Rose, Alexander Schmorell?
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If you’re talking about Matushka Elena Perekrestov’s book, yes! I found her while she was finishing up the manuscript, we exchanged emails & became friends. (She’s the only reason that I’d like to visit San Francisco these days!) She was even sweet enough to add me to the acknowledgements in the back of the book!
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Yep, that one ❤️
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She actually was introduced to an elderly lady in the SF area who turned out to be one of the handful of people that Alexander Schmorell mentioned by name in his farewell letter just before being executed! Unfortunately, this woman died at the very end of 2020 or very early in 2021, but I think she lived to be 101. I feel honored to have also have met and talked to somebody Alex was good friends with, and I even saw his (half-)siblings at church in 2004. (They are/were not Orthodox though.)
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