Monday, September 5, 2011

The Devil's Toothpick


An image came into my head the other day of the Devil -- and since all such images enter the mind from the same place, you know it must be true.  He was picking his teeth with a splinter of the True Cross, and when he was done with it, he just threw the thing away.

You might think that unnecessarily wasteful, but there are a lot of pieces of the True Cross out in the world.  They proliferated in medieval times to such a degree that somebody estimated that, reassembled, there'd be enough wood to build a barn.  The nun who taught my second grade class had a sliver of it in crucifix-reliquary she kept around her neck.

So the Devil could be as profligate as he wanted, knowing that every year more pieces of the True Cross would appear than even he could desecrate and throw away.

The Devil is an atheist, of course.  So it makes no difference to him whether the slivers of the True Cross are counterfeit or not.

And I just read some sad news . . . 

William H. Patterson, Jr. , the author of Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century, suffered an attack of Diabetic Keoacidosis while (if I interpret this correctly) at Renovation.  He was hospitalized upon returning home and underwent a transmetatarsal foot amputation.

This was particularly shocking to me because I had a very pleasant conversation with Patterson at the Worldcon.  When I observed how old-fashioned Heinlein came to seem, he said, "Heinlein was always a throwback to an earlier age, even in his youth.  He was a Teddy Roosevelt republican."  Which was a good and true and insightful thing to hear.  It was the kind of conversation one goes to these conventions to have.

Book 1 of Patterson's biography lost a Hugo to Chicks Dig Time Lords this year.  He'll have a second chance at the brass ring in a year or so when the second half of the biography comes out.  Assuming it's as good as the first half, you should give it serious consideration when it comes onto the Hugo ballot.

You can find Patterson's blog here.  In typical writer fashion, he appears to feel that the big news was losing a Hugo.

And only five days away . . .

I'll be appearing at The Spiral Bookcase (112 Cotton Street, Philadelphia; right off of Main Street in Manayunk) this Saturday, from 3 to 5 p.m.

If you follow this blog, you know that I do a lot of readings and autographings and bookstore appearances.  But his one is important to me.  Why?  Because The Spiral Bookcase is a neighborhood bookstore.  It sells both new and used books.  And I very much want it to be a success and stay in the neighborhood well into my old age.

So if it's at all possible, why not drop by?  Show the flag.  Have a good time and maybe buy a book or three.  Manayunk is a lot of fun on a Saturday afternoon.

And did I mention that it has a bookstore?



Ken Houghton said...

"William H. Patterson, Jr....suffered an attack of Diabetic Keoacidosis while (if I interpret this correctly) at Renovation."

If you're reading it correctly--I read the piece the same way--what is it about Reno specifically that caused sf people to have Major Medical Crises? (Bill Trojan and William Patterson--I would say "maybe it's a Bill problem??" save that it's not funny.)

Robin said...

I once had this explanation as to why there were so many pieces of the True Cross (tm):

When Jesus was crucified on it, it was dead wood, and the energy of his death bound the wood of the cross and Jesus together. Therefore, when Jesus was resurrected, the wood of the cross came back to life, too, and grew and grew. That's why there is enough wood from the True Cross to build a cathedral.

JJM said...

Some say even the angels don't know if there's a god or not -- but the Devil as an atheist is, well, counterintuitive somehow ...

Michael Swanwick said...

We must build that cathedral immediately!