Thursday, October 29, 2015

Readers Write and I Respond: The Book Project

In what I just posted about Steve's and my religious transition right at present, I told you that I would also pick up the thread of previous discussions of a book I might write about the story of how our careers as Catholic theologians who happen to be gay were destroyed by Catholic pastoral leaders. I appreciate very much the encouragement of a number of you to me to write such a book, and your offers to help me as I do so.

As I've mentioned previously, I actually have a manuscript completed, but have been very reluctant to let go of it (even to seek editorial assistance, and it's not anywhere near a completed book without such liberal assistance), because it's so unfinished, so unwieldy. As I've also explained to someone sending me welcome practical advice about it, I composed this manuscript in a DOS-based program, and when I tried some years ago to convert it to a Word-based format, I found I could not make the conversion. I'm honestly not even sure I still have the files in DOS.

What I do have is a printed copy of the manuscript. In the two weeks in which I'll be away from blogging, I intend to do my level best to go through that manuscript again, figure out what parts of it (if any) are salvageable, and, if the project seems doable, resume it, retyping the manuscript into Word.

I'll be honest: I don't know if I have such a book in me. To be clear: I have a story in me, and I would like to tell that story. I'm not sure I know how to do so, however. And this is why the project faltered when I first undertook it: my narrative seemed to go everywhere at once, and I couldn't see, at that time, how to focus it.

I suppose at some level I wonder if I have already told this story by blogging. I wonder how to take the diffuse aspects of it and shape it into a book. I wonder if that's a task for someone younger than I am, who may build on whatever opening I and others like me have made for that younger author, to undertake in a generation down the road. Not to tell my life story, but to build on it and tell her life story . . . . 

I do feel my age with increasing keenness. I feel the loss of energy. I feel the accumulation of many years of having been told that Steve and I don't count. I feel the fatigue of years of working to get by, against such great odds. I have long felt very marginal for a number of reasons that seem compelling to me, and my experiences with the Catholic church have not, to say the least, conduced to my seeing myself differently.

I'm not complaining. I just want to explain my hesitancies.

At the same time, I do agree that this is a story that should be told — somehow, if I can do it. Or if I can't, then perhaps by someone else. The one thing about it that most deserves to be heard, in my view, is that a church which would not normally dream of doling out such horrifically inhumane treatment to lay theologians chose to do that in our case.

Because we're gay.

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