“He wasn’t old enough to talk and say nothing at the same time.” ~ Faulkner
My augusts were a highlight. Sir Walter Scott was born in august. My grandmother, my best friend, and even my own birthday – all august. I tease my sister about forgetting her birthday – the joke being, we’re twins. Another august.
Now my augusts are marred by the death of a great man and friend: the author of CWNY.
It’s been a year ago now and I still have nothing of worth to say. I’m still at a loss. (That’s a phrase loaded with tragic irony).
This time, a year ago, I lost my mother and CWNY, at almost the same time, both gone suddenly and unexpectedly. To say I wasn’t in my right mind may not be accurate. I was coldly rational, dealing with the petty details and arrangements with a mechanistic focus that kept out the deep feelings. It took time for them to bubble up and out; an ongoing process. Better to say: I wasn’t in my right heart…
I never met CWNY in this life but I feel like I knew him.
In my inadequate video, I said I’d been reading him for 20 years, which was obviously wrong (I knew it was a long time but it couldn’t have been 20 years). Since then, I’ve been afraid people might take me as having been trying to establish some sort of unwarranted authority for myself: “I’ve been reading him thiiiiiis long!” … that certainly wasn’t what I was trying to convey. I’m no CWNY expert. My only claim of expertise regarding CWNY is two-fold: 1, I know when I’ve presented some idea or blog post that CWNY wouldn’t have liked or agreed with, and 2, I usually figure this out well after I’ve presented or posted it, then work to amend or remove it accordingly. In this struggling way, I eventually get to something close to what I hope CWNY would have been proud of.
He had such an intuitive grasp of Old Europe, its norms, habits, and attitudes. I’m afraid I’m too permanently marred by Satania to ever have the same intuitive grasp. Maybe one day? I hope, one day.
His death seems to have purged the old Presbyterian rationalism from my soul, once and for all. It took time for me to realize this. Time for that cold, mechanistic, rationalism (which was a defense against feeling) to wear off enough for me to realize my new state of mind. When faced with death of loved ones – especially when its unexpected – we might set aside the petty intellectual chess games or the false trophies of pride, and earnestly long for a Christian reality of grace and mercy.
I don’t want to be the lens through which people view CWNY. I don’t want to be how people discover his material. I want them to find it on their own, as I did. I want fellow adventurers. Yet, I can’t bring myself to stop talking about him, citing him, or setting forth his work, either.
His family has continued his legacy and done us all the tremendous service of completing the project, tidying it all up and organizing it, and making it all available for easy download (for whenever wordpress decides to remove it again). I encourage everyone to go there and get a copy.
Where we’re headed, we’ll be needing CWNY…
Like Thomas Hughes loved Arnold of Rugby, I loved CWNY (I wouldn’t have known of the comparison without CWNY!).
While I’ve seen the movie “Tom Brown’s School Days” many times, I’ve always been too afraid to read the novel. I’ve wanted to pace myself in reading the old “Cambria novels” (as I think of them) since there’ll be a tragic day when there are no more of them. Reading them is like a religious ritual for me, one laden with deep experiences, joys, sorrows, and the great delight that comes after the clouds of tragedy.
I think now is the right time for it.
…CWNY, taking me on yet another adventure…