Of Course God Loves Atheists

Obtainable from Lulu Publishers: Here

This is a book about travel, people and religion. Although I find it impertinent to write seriously about God – He’s heard it all before – spirituality is also addressed. I have delighted, for the most part, in all of these categories. I place ‘delight’ within the realm of enthusiasm, the lack of which, I believe, leads to the demise of human existence. Unfortunately our enthusiasms have often been wrong-headed and all too often misplaced, but we hope it will all come right in the end. My greatest wish would be for humanity (meaning yours truly and all others) to achieve a vital enthusiasm tempered with vision and perhaps, even, to be given the grace to hear the whisper from the soul.

When I was young, one of my writer heroes was John McPhee, a regular contributor to The New Yorker magazine. He maintained that creative non-fiction was not making things up, but making the best of what you’ve got. The Czech writer Franz Kafka claimed that if you were a real writer a brick wall would be a sufficient theme for something to write about. E. B. White, another stalwart at The New Yorker, offered: “I do feel a responsibility to society because of going into print: a writer has the duty to be good, not lousy; true, not false; lively, not dull; accurate, not full of error. He should tend to lift people up, not lower them down. Writers do not merely reflect and interpret life, they inform and shape life.”

I began to appreciate such writers who seemed to be proposing craftsmanship as a vital part of being a writer. I watched a documentary film of a young man who built beautiful, really beautiful, sailing boats. He fine-planed the chosen timbers. He brushed on the varnish to give a lush honey glow, he set and screwed down the beautiful solid brass fittings. What he had created was a thing so lovely one was stunned into admiration. I knew then that if I were to be a writer I would need to attend to craftsmanship. I thus became ‘interested’ in writing. Themes were to a large extent irrelevant, it was quality I sought.

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