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Errantry: Novak's Journal
...Words to cast/My feelings into sculpted thoughts/To make some wisdom last
Personal: Recovery; Dissertating; Sexy Brain; Pics 
24th-May-2008 11:53 pm
Prayer-Fr. Charles Mosley
I find that I seem to be more tired than I expected after the week in Wyoming. I think it's more of an emotional exhaustion than a physical one: the physical exertion of climbing and hiking was more invigourating than not, I think. But though I find that it is impossible to "quantify" effort in prayer, meditation and conversation, it seems that it was those activities that have left me feeling drained. Diane was excited about hanging out when I got back, but was exceptionally perceptive and cool in telling me to take a bit of space: we'll do something this coming week, after I've had a bit of a breather.

No more than five minutes after I had walked in the door of my apartment, I received a surprise phone call from my dissertation director, Professor Fahey, now retired at Boston College. He knew my timetable for traveling and the retreat, but I had to start laughing at the appearance of his eagerness for me to get started on the work for the summer. He was in fact just making a friendly call about something else, but I still smile at hearing his voice just after I had arrived home, and my initial assumption that he was calling to dog me on to work: my eyebrows shot right off the top of my head and I had to go pick them up off the floor while we talked. I've started poking at the thing, and I think I'm writing my third chapter before my second, since I think the third – which is my most "theoretical" – might be able to influence the insights I come up with in my second, more so than the reverse.

I also received an anonymous message off of Facebook telling me that I had a sexy brain. That was both complimentary and (potentially) disappointing in its anonymity. So I have a sexy brain. The image that comes to my mind is a 1930s gothic horror movie, of me with my sexy brain in a jar on a shelf in my apartment, where occasionally I look at it fondly as it pulses in its bubbling and mysterious liquid.

I'll continue writing up the trip. I had started another entry in Denver International Airport during my three-hour layover there, but it got lost when my laptop unexpectedly went into sleep mode with 15% of my battery power left. At least I know where that cutoff is now.

Michael Wurtz, C.S.C., (Happy Birthday to Michael!) posted some of his photography from the retreat on his new blog (on "Blogspot," alas! I couldn't convince him to switch over to the much more adaptable and cool LiveJournal), and I've copied those over into my own photo album. He had a particular eye, I notice, for shooting us while we were praying and meditating, unbeknownst to us at the time. I've never seen myself in such images before, which was strange – in this case as I paced around the grounds strumming on the guitar last Sunday; has it already been a week?! – and I found these images to be strangely moving and sensitive: perhaps a bit of an artistic achievement, or perhaps a case of "You had to be there." I don't know for sure. But it captured a bit of what made the long weekend together a powerful one.
25th-May-2008 05:23 am (UTC)
One can send anonymous messages on Facebook?
25th-May-2008 05:29 am (UTC)
Honesty Box.
25th-May-2008 05:42 am (UTC)
Ahhhhh. Of course.

Smart money says undergraduate. Though I know that doesn't narrow down the list much...

Edited at 2008-05-25 05:43 am (UTC)
25th-May-2008 06:05 am (UTC)
Alas! Probably one of your William Deresiewicz, "Love on Campus" things.
25th-May-2008 03:05 pm (UTC)
Indeed, but no need for it to be "alas"-worthy.
25th-May-2008 06:59 pm (UTC)
Oh, I know. But the other is fun, and it was more dramatic to say it this way.
25th-May-2008 10:46 am (UTC) - Boston College
my son is working on his Ph.D. at Boston College-he just finished his third year but has no idea what to do his dissertation on-his Ph.D. is in the area of Political Theory-what is that Professor's name? Maybe my son knows him. Glad to read you had a nice relaxing time in Wyoming-peace
25th-May-2008 06:58 pm (UTC) - Re: Boston College
Michael Fahey, S.J. is a retired Jesuit from Marquette now living in residence at BC, and graciously allowing me to do this dissertation under him despite retiring.

Well, I had thought about doing my dissertation in "Catholic political theory" or theology in looking at John XXIII's encyclical Pacem in Terris or Peace on Earth, and how he not only offered a list of universal human rights, but how he creatively balanced that with a list of universal human responsibilities. I am not sure, but I think he may have been the first to do so, a thought that has since been picked up and articulated by others, including the Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities issued in 1997 as a sort of 50th anniversary of the U.N.'s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I think that an analysis of John XXIII's document as a sort of "political theory of the Church" would be an interesting dissertation: I almost went with that one instead of the topic that I'm pursuing, so that's free for your son if he's still looking for I certainly think is an interesting idea. (Although I confess I didn't look closely enough to see if anyone else had thought of it yet.)
25th-May-2008 02:25 pm (UTC) - thanks....
Mike, thanks for the birthday wishes and comment on my blog. Those photos from WY represent the most photos I've taken in years. So, I am the definition of point-shoot amateur. If I took a few of us in prayer it was merely subconscious or random or accidental. BUT, nevertheless, glad you enjoy them. Happy Feast of Corpus Christi. mbw
30th-May-2008 12:49 am (UTC)
This is what comes of letting your brain cavort around wearing THAT! Sheesh, I'm blushing over here! Cover up for pity's sake!
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