Thursday, October 22, 2009

Patronize Me

I'm not a believer in Divine guidance, but I have to admit a certain cosmic coincidence was at play with Olivander's latest blog entry. How did you know I was going to make a post about this very topic? Spooky.

Blogiverse mysteries aside, I'd like to put forward a few of my own suggestions, based on careful five-minute research from the Internet (soon to take the place of "shelter" as one of life's essentials.)

Our newspaper runs a trivia column, and yesterday's edition contained this tidbit (added emphasis mine):
MODERN DEVICES need patron saints, too. Joseph of Cupertino was picked to be the patron saint of astronauts and air travelers because he could apparently fly. By himself. Claire of Assisi became patron saint of television after she saw visions of a Catholic mass on the wall of her cell. And Isidore is touted as a patron saint of the Internet because of his maniacal quest to gather the world's information on index cards.
I know about Saint Claire because I've been known to give out ticky-tacky plastic versions of her likeness to computer-obsessed friends and relations over the years. (And if you think that's particularly gauche, you should see the 6" glow-in-the-dark Saint Francis of Assisi plastic statuette I picked up from the National Cathedral gift shop some years ago. Who says Catholics don't have a sense of humor?)

Saint Isidore was new to me, though, so I looked him up. Unless index cards were in heavy use in the first century C.E., I think our trivia guy played it a little loose with the facts. However, there's still some hope for choosing Isidore as a patron of NaNo. Quoting from his biography:
Frustrated by his inability to learn as fast as his brother wanted and hurt by his brother's treatment, Isidore ran away. [...] When he returned home, however, his brother in exasperation confined him to a cell (probably in a monastery) to complete his studies, not believing that he wouldn't run away again.
Forcible confinement at the hands of a family member? Sounds like he was around week two of his novel to me. No mention of index cards in his bio, though. I was hoping that Isidore might have been a more contemporary saint, so I could drop in a picture of him looking beatific, hunched over his holy typewriter (probably an Olympia), cataloging like a madman. Alas, photographers of quality also seemed to be in short supply in the middle 600's. You'll have to make do with this photo of Vladimir Nabokov's cards. He reportedly wrote his novels by putting a paragraph on index cards, and shuffling them around until satisfied. As far as I know, though, Nabokov did not martyr himself or die some messy death, so he's probably out of the canonization running.

In fact, perhaps this idea of an official Vatican-approved protector for NaNoWriMo is a little too stuffy for the devil-may-care attitude of the event. My heart and mind is already solidly in the Mingo of Oakland camp, as recent posts here bear witness. I think NaNo-ers -- and especially Brigadiers -- would do well to follow his example of catchy tunes, fine clothes, and hard work, and save the novenas for the editing stage. God knows we'll need it.


Olivander said...

"Isidore is touted as a patron saint of the Internet because of his maniacal quest to gather the world's information on index cards."

I thought that was Paul Otlet.

Word ver: quari: when queries are your quarry.

speculator said...

And don't forget St. Jerome, patron saint of libraries and librarians. St. Lawrence is the patron saint of archivists.

(Jerry and Larry. Sounds like the ice cream from Vermont.)

James Watterson said...

St. Francis I realized was the writing saint about six months ago, I think... I have a rosary by saint Benedict but can remember looking for a St. Francis one.