The Workshop of the Soul
LONDON, ONTARIO – If you should happen to hear a short but profoundly satisfying clicking sound around two o’clock this afternoon, do not be puzzled or alarmed because you cannot immediately trace its derivation. That will only be the sound which the digits on me and my wife’s marital odometer make every December 28th as they flip over to display our updated tally. This year’s magical number will be forty-three. You might be wondering, what sort of goofballs decide to get married in the already celebration-packed week between Christmas and New Year’s? Young ones – I, twenty-five, and she, twenty-four – that’s what kind. Goofballs who loved the season of Christmas and wanted to make it even better.
The Book of Sarah
LONDON, ONTARIO – This week we bring you a new work of short fiction . . .
MY MOTHER'S BEST and oldest friend was Sarah McDougall with whom she shared one of the most extensively documented friendships I’ve ever known. They were only children, born within four months of one another on the very same street, and served in many ways through the succeeding seven decades – Sarah died first – as the sibling that neither one of them had. It may have been simple proximity that threw them together at first but even as their circles of acquaintance expanded to include others with whom they might spend more time for a while, Mom and Sarah never fell out or drifted apart and maintained to the very end a familial sort of ease in one another's company.
A Carol of Thanks for Bert and Ralph
LONDON, ONTARIO – As these dispiriting state-imposed sanctions to squelch the spread of the Chinese Batflu drag on, I’m all a-twitch this Advent season with withdrawal symptoms brought on by the unholy ban on choral concerts and singing in our churches (which are only allowed to operate at thirty per cent capacity anyway). A life without the regularly applied ministrations of choirs and congregational singing – aural bombardments which can be as soothing and stirring as a deep spiritual massage – is a real impoverishment at any time of year. But that deprivation feels particularly acute over Christmastide when so much of the music that I have loved best – carols and hymns with nourishing roots that go tendriling all the way back to my infancy – is sealed away under a quarantine that one might call whimsical if it didn’t feel so sadistic.
LONDON, ONTARIO – My father died seventeen years ago this week. It’s not a very round number; not the kind of anniversary that would ordinarily be marked in any elaborate way. But David John Goodden (1914–2003) has been much on the minds of all four of his sons this fall as the fraternal chain correspondence we’ve been compiling and circulating for the last several years sprang into particularly vigorous life in September. Perhaps not so coincidentally, that was when we planned to get together for a reunion in Italy until the Chinese Batflu pandemic knocked out the possibility. It’s always great to get together with any of the brothers but there’s a special frisson – a sort of snapping into place of all the components that empower a full electrical circuitry of pure unadulterated Goodden-ness – that occurs when all four of us are physically re-constellated in our original formation.
If you would like to contribute to the ongoing operations of Hermaneutics, there are now a few options available.
THE AQUINAS LECTURE
G.K. CHESTERTON AND THE GIFT OF GRATITUDE
ALL LIFE IS A GIFT :
THE IMPORTANCE OF TRADITION :