f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: A Look at the New <em>Image</em>

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n

Thursday, July 08, 2004

A Look at the New Image

My office right now…you have no idea. In general, I’m not a neat person and the recent weeks have taken their toll on my business space. You know how people who are messy always say they have their “system” when they really mean “piles”? Well, right now even that’s not working out. I just spent five minutes searching for my copy of Image.

Enough kvetching (which is used enough that I don’t think we should italicize it anymore) and onto today’s post. Which is basically a look at, I guess, the premier journal of faith and the arts out there. Mars Hill is basically the other contender and is fine as well. Maybe we shouldn’t rank them. Let’s just say that they’re both good, but Image just came in the mail and I need a topic to talk about and therefore we’re looking at it.

The journal is celebrating 15-years with a “state of the arts” focus that basically turns out to be short essays on everything from poetry and visual arts to dance and theater. (Alas, nobody chose to talk about comics. A shame.)

Some of the topics had two essays. Fiction had one. It was by Valerie Sayers (author of a few novels and Notre Dame professor. [Brief Penn State aside: Booooooo Notre Dame!])

The essay does a fine job ignoring CBA fiction in its entirety and is both a lament (publishing is a coalescing business with fewer opportunities for new stuff) and a celebration (at least we’re not in the lame 70s anymore!). Summarizing the state of fiction in a page and a half is no easy task, so I won’t comment too much more on the essay.

I liked Greg Wolfe’s editorial statement, “Strange Pilgrims” better however. In it he references a monumental new book called The Life You Save May Be Your Own which is the look at the intertwined lives of Dorothy Day, Flannery O’Connor, Walker Percy, and Thomas Merton.

Wolfe and the author of the book look at these artists as unique “pilgrims or apostles” who have "heard a specific pieces of news; and live life guided by the memory of an event.” They seek a specific end. He distinguishes these pilgrims from other religious folk who think they’ve already reached the end and romantic geniuses for whom only the search matters.

We’ll stop with that for today and pick it up again tomorrow. Time has gotten away from me and I need to go play softball. Now under which pile are my keys?