Faith, doubt: for me, it’s the same damned knot. Faith does not have to be about organized religion. I look at artists and scientists, for example, and think, there’s faith at work here, a belief, a desire to believe, in something greater and more important than one’s little self. Otherwise, why bother? Why agonize over your work and strive for excellence if not to connect with something more than just you? This greater thing need not be called God, or considered only on a Sunday morning when one is hungry for, or perhaps dreading, dinner. It might be called a thirst for knowledge, a connection to humanity, or love, or even just pleasure: I puzzle on the physics of dimension because it pleases me; I paint this portrait because I want to.
Faith and doubt is the big theme in Running the Whale’s Back, a new anthology of short stories by writers from Atlantic Canada, published by Goose Lane, edited by Andrew Atkinson and Mark Harris. The St John’s launch is Tuesday evening at The Ship, starting ay 8pm, with readings by Joan Clark, Michael Crummey, and myself. Cash bar. Snacks on hand. The DownHome will be selling books.