Tuesday, May 29, 2012

News overload and media cuts

This blog entry touches on the theme of "confession" in the novel.  It also provides a good opportunity to comment on the recent Sunday edition newspaper cuts at PostMedia. 

PostMedia cutting jobs, Sunday editions
Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, Montreal papers affected

The novel's author has not read a Sunday paper in years.  That's right.  There has hardly been a print edition newspaper in this household for ages.  She obtains most of her news online from credible sources or from that old thing called "radio".  At times when the news is overwhelming, she shuts everything off and cocoons to read or write. 

Summer 1975 (correction) 1974. Gio has arrived after a couple of parishioners depart from visiting Father John O'Reilly at the hospital.  Father John is recovering from a stroke. 

- - -

The elder priest slumped in his chair, in a seemingly act of relief.

"Are you tired, John?" asked Gio quietly, leaning toward his mentor. 

"Oh... sort of," he responded, "Those two sure can talk."

"So can you, Father O'Reilly, " quipped Gio with a wink and smile.

"I suppose so..." He gazed around the room, out the window then smiled wistfully at Gio, "So, how are you holding out?  Have you heard from Toronto yet if you can get some help?"

"I'm doing well, Father.  Well and busy.  No, the Arch Diocese hasn't found anyone yet.  But hopefully, you will be back on your feet soon?"

"I sure hope so.  I just get tired easily and..." lowering his voice and leaning forward, "a little confused at times."

"That's just part of the recovery, as the doctors told us,” assured Gio.

Father O'Reilly smiled weakly and gazed out the window longingly, "I miss my work, Gio.  I miss saying mass, giving communion and being with the congregation."

Gio lowered his gaze to his hands, folded on the table.  "I understand, John."

They were approached by a candy-striper pushing the coffee and snack cart. 

"Hello, Fathers,” she greeted them with a perky tone, "Would you like some coffee, cookies or something to read?"

Gio recognized her as Janice Foley, the young girl with whom he had seen Daniel at the picnic a few years ago.  How she had grown.

"Oh, hello, Janice," said Gio, "Nothing for me thanks.  Father O'Reilly, would you like something from the cart?"

The old priest seemed awakened from a daydream.


Janice leaned over to him with a cheery smile and spoke a little louder, "Would you like something from the cart, Father?"

"Jeez Louise! I'm not deaf, dear girl!"

"Sorry, Father, " her face flushed, this time speaking normally, "Would you like something from the cart?"

"Oh. Any newspapers?  Any recent newspapers?"

Janice bent to retrieve one from the lower shelves, "How about yesterday's Toronto Star?"

"That will have to do, I guess." his hand shook as he reached for it, "Thank you very much, my dear.  How much do I owe you?"

Janice darted her eyes to Gio who was smiling at the exchange between old and young.  She smiled, "There's no charge, Father."  Before she turned to wheel her cart to the next table, she chirped, "Have a nice afternoon, gentlemen."

"Nice girl," said Father O'Reilly as he slipped on his reading glasses and opened the paper.

"That was Janice Foley, John,” said Gio, "She goes to Saint Pete's.  You saw her through first communion to confirmation."

"Oh."  He looked over to the girl across the room, "Sure grown up now, eh?"

“They sure do.”

Gio sat quietly, nodding as the old priest leafed through the newspaper, making one-sentenced comments about the news, voicing his opinion from time to time and muttering away. 

“John,” Gio spoke to get the elder priest’s attention, “Father O’Reilly,” Gio said louder then leaning in with a whisper, “I would like to make a confession.”

- - -
If you found this to be an intriguing blog post, taste a few other excerpts.  Explore a few clippings from the Seguin Sounder a fictitious newspaper that evolved after the novel was published.  We don't have a weekly crossword to offer yet could entice you with a word search puzzle.

Come support efforts to reduce paper waste, to save a tree or two by purchasing an Ebook version of The Year of the Rabbit.  Even better?  Get a free copy by May 31st.

Thanks for dropping by.


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