Bless me father for I have sinned. It has been four weeks since my last confession.
I mean, post on this blog.
Isn’t the writing life funny? This morning, as I have every morning for the last few weeks, I’ve told myself I need to write on this Hot White Snow blog. I last posted on April 10th, a couple of days short of four weeks. Seriously, I’ve had nothing to write about for a month?
Just the opposite is true. I’ve been writing a lot lately, just not here. Besides my author’s website Science Traveler, I’ve been writing for the Lincoln Group of DC newsletter and other venues. I’ve also been focused more on my magnum opus in recent weeks, a book that I’ve been researching for way too long and putting down on paper way too little. A writer’s curse.
But I digress. As I was contemplating what to write this morning I thought about time. Time is precious. Time for writing is my precioussssss. But then I realized I’ve written about making time for writing before, as well as my proclivity to procrastinate, and my tendency to stretch myself so thin it feels overwhelming. To be honest, it all seems like a lot of whining in retrospect.
As these thoughts ran through my mind I had an epiphany. Since my last post was four weeks ago my mind took a leap of faith, as it were, a memory of going to confession as a young man confirmed in the Catholic Church (long before its more disturbing revelations). Like everything else Catholic, we recited the script rehearsed for these occasions, cued by the opening of the listening door in the confession booth.
“Bless me father for I have sinned. It has been four weeks since my last confession.”
This was the easy part, the mindless mantra one regurgitates without engaging a thought process. The actual enumeration of sins was tougher.
Not that I was without sin, mind you. But seriously, how much sin could a bookworm teenager get into? It was a struggle to concoct something to confess to (in retrospect, the act of concocting may have been my greatest sin). I was way too straight-laced for my age given what I’ve learned about my classmates in the uncountable years since we were in high school. They were, either individually or in groups I wasn’t invited, into a little bit of everything – drug use, drinking, carousing, pregnancies, abortions, partying with teachers after school. I was shocked to later find out the kinds of things an altar boy friend did at that time (and since). I don’t know if I was naïve, boring, or wise beyond my years, but apparently my weekly cataloguing of trivialities gave the priest a respite from my fellow parishioners more biblically in need of counseling and repentance.
These days my confessions are more public, for better or worse. I’m still introverted, prone to procrastination, and busy beyond all get out (this latter a favorite phrase of a college professor; the first time he said it I thought he was literally telling me to get out of his office), but writing allows me, and all of us, to bare our souls more openly than some of us should. Hot White Snow, perhaps ironically (or fittingly?) given its genesis, has occasionally given me a medium for confessing my lifetime of transgressions, however humdrum or inaccurate they may seem to others.
In any case, my little confessional has produced the first post in a month. So there is that. 😉
David J. Kent is a science traveler and the author of Lincoln: The Man Who Saved America, in Barnes and Noble stores now. His previous books include Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (2013) and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (2016) and two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate.