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March 28, 2005
A hiatus? Q and I are still in bed this Easter Monday, looking at the ceiling and chatting.

Yes, I say. Not from the eMos, of course. But from writing books, for awhile. Probably a year.


I want to think about my writing,
I say. Not just go right to the next thing.

Good idea.

For instance, I wonder if I could write fiction.

Oh, I think you could.

It would have to be different.


Different magisterium.
Then I think about what fiction is, and I say, No magisterium.


There's probably no such thing as no magisterium. Nobody comes from nowhere; we all have things we want to hand down to the next generation, things we want to survive us. We want to teach the things we think are true and important, and we even tell the story of our lives in an order that teaches -- we are the stars of little plays about the value of hard work, or about how you can never trust anybody, about how a person can persevere and win the prize or about how you're never going to win the prize no matter how long you persevere. And the facts of our lives that don't teach what we think is true -- we just don't tell them. We don't even remember them easily. They aren't part of the story. They're from someone else's play.

This is why all four gospels are different. Some are very different in places, some almost alike, but no two are identical. John didn't care about the birth of Jesus and doesn't include it; neither did Mark. The oldest versions of Mark don't include a reasurrection narrative. Each of us has our own play, the thing we most want others to know. Each writer has something important to say, and his story says it. He just doesn't bother with the parts that aren't important to what he wants us to know. He's not hiding anything. He's just who he is.

Maybe I will tether my fiction to real people. I have written about real thing for so long, I am not sure I can do otherwise. But I have written about heaven for a long time, too, and about hell, too, and I've never been to either place. I don't even think they are places. But maybe writing fiction will be doing out in the open what everybody has always done anyway, in the secrecy of the heart: tell the tale the play that teaches what we mean.

"Magisterium" is the teaching authority to hand down the tradition to future generations. It's a word almost always used in the Church, usually applied specifically to the teaching authority of bishops. But it has an older relative, from the Latin magister (teacher) which applied to any teacher.
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