Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Queer Fish

I just sent off a query for my fantasy novel, so I'm asking for prayers that I'll be able to find an agent to represent it.
I also wanted to respond to a couple of things that people have posted, so I'll run through that quickly. I have to say that I like Canada. It's funny, Americans think that the totalitarian things that we have to deal with are terrifying, and we think that the police-state post-9/11 terror watch shtick is worse. Probably it's just a matter of the devil you know vs. the devil you don't. I am familiar with the Home School Defense people -- I discovered them when I was worried that we were going to have to go to court to keep the CAS out of our house (my daughter's godfather is a criminal lawyer and was willing to write letters for us, but if we'd gone to court we'd have needed someone who knew family law.) I also know about Michael O'Brien. I might have met him -- if not, everyone that I know, including my husband, has. It's a small world up here in icy Ontario.
With regards to homeschool, I go back and forth on whether or not I would put my kids into Catholic school if I could. The basic problem is that we're all eccentric, and none of us deal very will with large groups of people. I want my kids to grow up knowing that they can afford to be unique, that they don't need to fall in with the crowd. I love Catholics, but at the same time another young Catholic mother that I know has had difficulty with the culture in a really great Catholic school, simply because she's strange, and wild, and flighty, and doesn't fit in with the slightly mousy, pious, reasonably respectable types that people the majority of arch-orthodox Catholic establishments. It's hard, because if you're odd, you're odd wherever you go -- and I am undoubtedly odd.
I think that's part of why I ended up being attracted to the gay/lesbian community, because it was a place where you could afford to be "queer," and particularly where you could afford to be queer in the old-fashioned sense of the word. Eccentricity was a bonus, not a liability. Even to this day, when I got dumped into a group of 103 randomly selected people (long story), I gravitated towards the lesbian-identified neo-pagan. I wasn't "attracted" to her sexually, but we could talk comfortably with one another, whereas with "normal" people I'm completely at a loss. Either I put my personality in a box and behave like some sort of absurd cardboard cut-out "good mother" type, or I quickly find that I am out of place. Fortunately, I've discovered the Catholic eccentrics of the world, so I'm able to be happy in my little pond, swimming about with all the other odd ducks.


  1. I would like to be able to lecture you about how you're wrong, and you need to realize that people are all eccentric and interesting.

    Except that in reality, I find that you're exactly right. I find most people far to much slaves to categories I reject. Not that everybody's a materialist. More that everybody's kind of going through life at a level of introspection that borders on "Comatose" in my estimation. I don't need eccentricity (although it helps) to be friends with someone.

    I need some kind of connection to that person's inner life. I can only feel so long for an intellectual, emotional, or spiritual pulse before I give up (arrogant git that I am) and assume that a person just doesn't "go there".


  2. M -

    I'd urge you to really shop the Catholic schools. My experience has been that the diocesan ones can differ a great deal stylistically from the ones sponsored by religious orders. I imagine those that cast themselves "orthodox" or "traditional" would be more prone to the "Junior Marines" approach you don't feel your kids could handle. Is there a Salesian School in Ontario? My daughter teaches in one and says that "being kind to the children" really is a core value.

    Have you looked at the Waldorf schools? They tend to be gentle and work with the children at their own speed. Our daughter marched to her own drummer and had I known about them, when she was in school, we might have done well sending her there.

    -Greg Smith -

  3. Read the life of Chesterton and Belloc, two great Catholic "eccentrics" and lions of orthodoxy; Or that of C.S. Lewis and his relationship with Mrs. Moore and later with his Wife Joy Davidson, both very "eccentric".

    Great Saints are consider eccentrics by most people because they did not march at the beat of the same drum as the rest of the world. So you are not alone in being an eccentric Catholic.

    Eccentric after all means being "off the center" and into the periphery. Christ calls us out of the center of the "world" into the eccentricity of his calling.

    Most kids in homeschooling do better academically and adjust to life better than other kids in public or private schools. You may consider a tutor or private techer to help you. Whatever way you choose to go, be strong and may the Lord help you and do not be tempted to go back in your life.

  4. Oh my goodness, this is me. I would describe myself as an eccentric Catholic as well, and I also come from a queer-identified past for similar reasons. Too often I feel ostracized by the others in my Catholic community and feel like there is no place for me because I'm too weird.

  5. Oh! Yes! That was me. I was eccentric and had nobody to talk to growing up Catholic in my church. Being not Catholic was easier; there were more eccentrics. I had never even thought of that before in that way.
    Thank you. (Now, being Catholic or even slightly religious is odd where I live...maybe that is why I am starting to gravitate back towards it!)

  6. I swim in that pond a bit's a bit sad to me, though, that I am now more comfortable in most secular circles than Catholic ones and I get concerned at times that it's because I have been sort of de-evangelized by the world and am made uneasy by others' holiness...but the same feeling can occur in very unChristian environments, so perhaps I'm just a person designed to be in between.


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