Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Where Has All the Wisdom Gone?

The whole month of May has gone by since my last post. I've tried, but finding big-stage wisdom on the edge of summer during a presidential campaign is nearly impossible. Normally, I can turn to people of faith for wisdom, especially within my own tradition. Not this time. Wisdom is not strident, yet "loud and louder" is all we too often get from religious leaders in the U.S.

So where does sanity reside in the late spring of 2012? Let me toss out a few rays of hope I cling to on these overcast days: Stephen Colbert, the American women religious, National Catholic Reporter, US Catholic Magazine (print and online), Fr. Richard Rohr, Sr. Joan Chittister, Fr. Brian Joyce and the people of Christ the King Parish, Jean Valjean and Bishop Charles Myriel inVictor Hugo's Les Miserables, and--of course--my wife Esther, a truly wise woman.

I invite the readers of this blog post to add their own wisdom sources to mine.
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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Circle of Life

I'm the "little Italian kid" on the steps
in Butch Minds the Baby  (1942),
co-starring Virginia Bruce.
My first paid job was was as a movie extra in 1942. I was seven years old. Whenever Central Casting needed  Italian-looking kids, my dad got a call. Either my sister Natalie or I were in demand. The photos to the left are proof (unless you can't believe I was ever that cute).  World War II gas rationing destroyed my film career, so I'll never know what might have been. 

Yes, that's little Al at the extreme lower-
right edge of the frame. Co-starring  (with me)
were, left to right, Fuzzy Knight. Broderick
Crawford, and Dick Foran.

Long past fitting the description of "little Italian kid," I treasured my  Central Casting card. Life has taken me on a winding journey, since those bright-light and good pay days ($25 per diem in post-Great Depression dollars). I went from sound stage to  peddling peanuts on Santa Monica beach. From there to the Catholic priesthood, followed by marriage and parenthood. In my forties, I launched a career as a professional writer/editor, beginning with features for periodicals. I then got more ambitious, moving to book-length fiction and nonfiction. Not until my tenth book and most recent  novel (my sixth), The Saint of Florenville: A Love Story, did my work attract any broad-based attention.

Looking back, 7 must be my lucky number, indeed. Having retired from acting at that age, I find myself--in my 70s--I am currently in discussions that I hope will lead to optioning SOF, for production as a feature film. What Elton John wrote about the circle of life in The Lion King is really true. Life journeys often end where they began.