Ladydale Diary
Holy Guardian Angels 2020

It’s been a week when I have hardly surfaced for air. On several days I’ve worked for 15 hours. It’s unsustainable but some of the commitments are only going to be on the calendar for a few more weeks. There’s light at the end of the tunnel!

One sure sign of my not having sufficient leisure time is the failure to extricate myself from my desk so that I can get to the gym. I have not been able to exercise physically since last Saturday, six days ago.

So what’s been eating up the time?

My work as director of book publishing at the Augustine Institute takes up a chunk of each day. There are meetings and phone conversations, and e-mails back and forth. I’ve been working on some author contracts this week for two new titles in the “What Every Catholic Should Know” series.

We’ve also launched the new-look website for the St. Austin Review, the cultural journal of which I am the editor, and we had a meeting on Monday to discuss ways of marketing the magazine. We need to make it far better known than it is currently.

On Monday afternoon, as always, I recorded the latest session of the FORMED Book Club with Father Fessio and Vivian Dudro of Ignatius Press. We’re still enjoying our discussion of Michael Kurek’s excellent book, The Sound of Beauty. These sessions are aired every Thursday. Check them out.

At present, I’m teaching a class on Monday evenings for the Albertus Magnus Institute on Shakespeare. The week we focused on The Merchant of Venice.

Tuesday is the day that I try to keep free for the writing of my next book, which I’ve tentatively titled “Faith of Our Fathers: A History of True England”. It was a great day’s writing. Well over 4,000 words added to the manuscript, which is now almost 50,000 words in length – and I’m still only in the reign of Bloody Bess, a.k.a. Elizabeth I. This is my favourite day of the working week. I’m never happier than when I can focus exclusively on the writing of a book.

I finished early on Tuesday to look after Leo while Susannah and Evangeline went to the weekly meeting of Fidelis, a mother-daughter apostolate, at our church. I played ball and we also played a couple of games of Hop, Hop, Hooray, which is one of the few board games that he enjoys. We also spent some time watching a DVD of The Wiggles, which is always fun. Susannah and Evangeline arrived home in time for evening prayers.

On Wednesday lunchtime, I taught my current course for Homeschool Connections, which is An Introduction to Dante’s Divine Comedy. We reached the top of Mount Purgatory, which means that next week we’ll be ascending into Heaven. It was an altogether different story on Wednesday evening when the Imaginative Literature course I’m teaching for Memoria College plunged into Hell. Having previously studied the pagan works of Homer and Virgil, we have now got to Dante. We’ll be spending three weeks with him. This week was Hell (not the teaching of the class itself, which is always a pleasure), next week will be Purgatory, and then we’ll end up in Heaven (the ultimate happy ending!).

Yesterday (Thursday) morning, I went with Evangeline to our twice-yearly dental appointment, the only time I’d been off the property since returning from Mass on Sunday.

Yesterday evening, I gave the first of two online talks to a group in Charleston, my in-person visit being cancelled due to COVID. The focus of my talk last night was my own conversion story, with a little Solzhenitsyn thrown into the mix for good measure, followed by a lively Q&A session. I’ll be giving the second of the talks to this group in three weeks from now.

This afternoon, I’m recording a talk on “Law and Literature” for the annual conference of the Catholic Bar Association. As with the event in Charleston, my in-person attendance at this conference, which was scheduled to have been held in Ave Maria, Florida, my old stomping ground, was cancelled due to the Pestilence.

In under an hour from now, I’ll be making my regular weekly appearance on the Son Rise Morning Show on Sacred Heart Radio to continue the discussion of my book, Literature: What Every Catholic Should Know. We’re currently on the chapter covering nineteenth century American literature.

Later this morning I’ll be recording the three regular weekly podcasts for the Inner Sanctum.
Tomorrow I intend to relax! I’ll get to the gym in the morning (God willing), spend some time with the family and then, at 5pm, I’m meeting a friend from England for a pint, via zoom, in the virtual pub, which we’ve dubbed The Flying Inn, in honour of Chesterton’s novel of that name. Weather permitting, I’ll set myself up on the deck in front of my computer, pint in hand, and chat with an old friend, whom I’ve known for years. It’s not quite like being in a real English pub but sitting on the deck, hopefully in the sun, overlooked by trees, is almost the next best thing. Cheers!