Wednesday, March 17, 2004


Yesterday by the photocopier, Colleague A (Political Science) cornered me. She and Colleague B (Psychology) had been at the local Barnes & Noble store and seen the B&N edition of The Encyclopedia of Heresies and Heretics, which I wrote in 1991 when a friend was acquisitions editor at ABC-Clio and invited me to do a book for them. "Is that our Chas?" wondered Colleague A. That's what happens when you teach in one field and write in another!

Frankly, I was amazed a few years ago when B&N reprinted it. The check was a nice surprise too. Now it's apparently out of print. I had been curious who bought the book, aside from the original intended market of librarians. This review from British e-zine editor Matthew Cheeseman gives one suggestion. (The lower trade-book price doesn't hurt, either.)

A little Googling: here is an someone with an online Christian ministry building a virtual homily around my introduction. (Unlike Cheeseman, Timothy King evidently does not Google his sources.)

And speaking of a different sort of "heresy." My humor column from the earlier, print version of "Letter from Hardscrabble Creek" on "Training Your Soul Retriever" pops up on an actual dog-training web site. (Scroll down). Or you can read it here. It was a gentle parody of retriever experts such as Eloise Heller Cherry and Richard Wolter. What would happen if Wolter collaborated with neoshaman Michael Harner?


A study from Barna Research Group on beliefs about the afterlife shows 18 percent of Americans accepting the idea of reincarnation--even some evangelical Christians. Other contradictions abound as well. Thanks to Joe Perez for the original link.

The Roller Coaster

In a little bit of a haze from some hay-fever medication, I finished the first draft of Her Hidden Children, my book on the rise of contemporary Paganism (mainly Wicca) in America, over the weekend.

Now I have started the complete re-editing, and that means I am on the emotional roller-coaster. It's pretty good. It's pathetically sophomoric. I have some original insights. No, it's just a miserable dribble from the cauldron of scholarship. It would have been better if I could have written it ten years ago; now it is dated, and who will care, anyway? No, I had some original insights.

And so on and on and on.

The only thing to do is to get it into the publisher's hands (only a year and a half late) as soon as possible and move on to the next thing.

Meanwhile, I am awaiting my copies of The Paganism Reader. Co-editor Graham Harvey says--and the illustration here, from Routledge's web site, seems to confirm, that Routledge stayed with their utterly dreary cover design.

In the real world: I saw my first kestrel, flying low against a strong northwest wind, while driving to the university today. I left home wearing a leather jacket over a fleece vest, but at some point realized that I need not need the Jeep's heater on (not that a 1973 CJ-5's heater produces all that much warmth), and by the time I reached Pueblo, I was shedding layers. Spring comes on in a rush. When is the next blizzard due?


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