The most interesting writers are, after all, those for whom quality of craft is—while a sine qua non—not exactly the essential thing either, not quite the last word. They are those who cannot be kept from writing. They write the way bad men in Dickens’ novels drink, gamble, and conspire for gain: incorrigibly, flying in the face of a thousand prudential arguments against it. They burn, like the prophet Jeremiah, with a “fire in the bones” that makes not writing a near impossibility. I am flirting with an analogy to sainthood: but then, it is a mistake to consider this beautiful but morally neutral leisure activity to which we are addicted as if it were intrinsically meritorious. It is not, necessarily, but the way we do it may make it into an act by which we open ourselves to grace. This is the essential thing, this opening to grace, this use of our talents in a way that invites the Holy Spirit to work through us.
With this in mind, I invite you to consider, taste, imbibe, revel in the following selections from among the Dappled Things editorial board’s favorite pieces published in our pre-print days. Presented here as a celebration of our magazine’s fifth anniversary, they by no means represent all the best that the early, web-only incarnation of Dappled Things had to offer. Much that we would have liked to share with you in this format has been excluded simply from considerations of space. But these pieces do provide a fair sampling of the high-quality poetry and prose you have come to expect from our magazine. They are all products of Catholic imaginations cleansed by grace, fired by beauty, and driven by the need to communicate truth. And they seem to have one more thing in common: they have been brought about in defiance of a heavy weight of cultural and spiritual forces that militate against such exuberance. They exist because their authors have been faithful to the secret fire within. They are the results of openness to grace. As readers, let us receive them in the same spirit.
Wishing you the joy of the Christmas season and New Year,
Editor in Chief, Dappled Things