Thursday, October 27, 2011

Brian Doyle

Brian Doyle is the editor of Portland Magazine at the University of Portland, in Oregon—the best university magazine in America, according to Newsweek, and “the best spiritual magazine in the country,” according to Annie Dillard.

He is the author of five collections of essays, two nonfiction books (The Grail, about a year in an Oregon vineyard, and The Wet Engine, about the “muddles & musics of the heart”), two collections of short prose, and the sprawling novel Mink River, which Publishers Weekly called a “original, postmodern, shimmering tapestry of smalltown life.”

Doyle's new book is Bin Laden's Bald Spot & Other Stories.

His reply to my recent query about what he has been reading:
Lately a wild burst of American Catholic writers – initially to prepare for a burbling public mumble & shamble about same, but increasingly in amazement at (a) how many unbelievably great and will-be-in-print-forever-in-these-united-states writers were and are Catholic (Annie Dillard, Barry Lopez, Tony Hillerman, Andre Dubus, Edwin O’Connor, Alice McDermott, Mary Gordon, Flannery O’Connor, Frank McCourt, for example), and (b) how many interestingly sort of sidelong Catholic writers there are and were of remarkable cultural influence (William F. Buckley, for example; how interesting to speculate how much his Catholicism, which in the end is about witnessing and celebrating the holiness of creation, had to do with his roaring urge to conserve and preserve, his enduring suspicion of the State, his trumpeting of the individual), and then finally (c) the fascinating idea that an awful lot of what we think of as American character and virtues and flavor and narrative – the hero on the road, the brave single soul speaking up against the empire, the comeback story, the constant absorption with resurrected hopes and dreams against all evidence and sense – is really Catholic in theme and flavor. I can hear the roars of angry rebuttal from here, but it’s really interesting to note the cousinship there. I note with a grin that Catholicism entered what is today the USA in 1513, so the ancient troubled odd essentially revolutionary faith (despite its centuries of blood and rape and power grabs and yes, religious terrorism, let us not forget the Crusades) is about to celebrate its 500th birthday on this soil. Happy birthday, you old brilliant weird idea.
Learn more about Brian Doyle's Bin Laden’s Bald Spot and visit its Facebook page.

My Book, The Movie: Bin Laden’s Bald Spot.

--Marshal Zeringue