Ron Hansen

found in my notes some quotes from an interview with novelist Ron Hansen:

You may pray to God for guidance about some decision in your life, and God might say, ‘Look inside yourself and see what you want. It’s not necessary for you to be a priest. It’s not necessary for you to be married. It’s whatever you decide.’ In essence, God says, ‘Surprise me.’ We’re co-creators in a lot of ways, and what God relishes most about us is our creative freedom.

How about this:

For me, each Mass has a plot. It’s a kind of murder mystery. There is for me within the liturgy a sense of the importance of this celebration-this reenactment of the conspiracy and murder and resurrection of an innocent man. Here’s a man who on the eve of his betrayal celebrates dinner with his friends. Then he’s led away and whipped and has all these terrible things happen to him. But at the end the story we find out it’s a comedy, because it has such a wonderful, happy ending. And we get to share in it, in this mystery of the redemption.

love the idea of Mass as murder mystery slash comedy.

The opening of Ron Hansen’s The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford:

He was growing into middle age and was living then in a bungalow on Woodland Avenue.  Green weeds split the porch steps, a wasp nest clung to an attic gable, a rope swing looped down from a dying elm tree and the ground below it was scuffed soft as flour.  Jesse installed himself in a rocking chair and smoked a cigar down in the evening as his wife wiped her pink hands on a cotton apron and reported happily on their two children.  Whenever he walked about the house, he carried serval newspapers – the Sedalia Daily Democrat, the St. Joseph Gazette, and the Kansas City Times – with a foot-long .44 caliber pistol tucked into a fold.  He stuffed flat pencils into his pockets.  He played by flipping peanuts to squirrels.  He braided yellow dandelions into his wife’s yellow hair.  He practiced out-of-the-body travel, precognition, sorcery.  He sucked raw egg yolks out of their shells and ate grass when sick, like a dog.  He would flop open the limp Holy Bible that had belonged to his father, the late Reverend Robert S. James, and would contemplate whichever verses he chanced upon, getting privileged messages from each.  The pages were scribbled over with penciled comments and interpretations; the cover was cool to his cheek as a shovel.  He scoured for nightcrawlers after earth-battering rains and flipped them into manure pails until he could chop them into writhing sections and sprinkle them over his garden patch.  He recorded sales and trends at the stock exchange but squandered much of his capital on madcap speculation.  He conjectured about foreign relations, justified himself with indignant letters, derided Eastern financiers, seeded tobacco shops and saloons with preposterous gossip about the kitchens of Persia, the Queen of England, the marriage rites of the Latter Day Saints.  He was a faulty judge of character, a prevaricator, a child at heart.  He went everywhere unrecognized and lunched with Kansas City shopkeepers and merchants, calling himself a cattleman or commodities investor, someone rich and leisured who had the common touch.



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