Monday, June 23, 2008

Circles in My Head

I saw this first at Amy Welborn's blog, which directed me here to the Inside Catholic book circle. It sounds like something worth checking out and following along.

So I ask myself the question:

What is Catholic Fiction?

Is it fiction about Catholics, Catholic themes, characters, etc.? I think that's someone else's answer but I will ponder it.

And do I write it?

I must admit that is one of my worries. I don't know why I worry if my stories are "too Catholic". Should it matter? Does it exclude readers by the nature of my themes, characters and plots? Am I limiting myself to a certain niche or genre? I must admit that all my stories have Catholic characters and themes, but until I started writing my second novel, I never thought I was writing Catholic Fiction. I barely just learned there was a whole genre of Christian Fiction, Catholic Fiction must be a niche within that genre.

Anyway, readers who read my first novel will see that my main character is a product of her Catholic background, but it's not a major theme of the story. She's not practicing, to the dismay of her parents. She baptizes and educates her child in the faith, but it's not strong within her. I don't quite no why. I also don't think she will ever have an epiphany and return to the church (in the story) maybe in later life. My stories never really end, they keep playing on in my head. She truly is the definition of a Cultural Catholic and a product of where she was raised. She's a Hispanic New Mexican-- where Catholicism and Catholic culture are intricately tied together.

In my second story, the circumstances are different. It is Catholic. It is about Catholics. It's actually been the story that has helped me journey back to the faith and has helped me figure out exactly what it means to me.

In looking at my novels so far, perhaps they are Catholic. I hope more so in an universal way, touching upon themes that are common to everyone, that the stories are realistic and my characters are truly fleshed out and human. I want to touch someone with my writing, be it Catholics and non-Catholics alike. I want to show people a world that rings true and opens their eyes to a world they might never see otherwise.

And maybe I'm not a writer who happens to be Catholic, but a Catholic writer. Of course, then the next question I might need to ask, do I write Hispanic fiction. Oy.

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