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(LifeSiteNews) — When I was young I used to wonder what the people I had heard about – or sometimes even met – really did all day. What was it like to be a policeman, a poet or a priest? Luckily some of these people would occasionally come to our little school on the hill and tell us. I was fascinated to hear about their lives, and to glimpse a little of their world. 

Today I will tell you something about what it is like to be me, and how I came to be writing this today. I always thought writers were a mysterious bunch, and so I hope to answer some of the questions that the little boy in me might ask about my life and work, were he here today. 

In a way, he is. I have never lost that fascination for the world as it seems through the eyes of people who are not me. I hope his questions give you the answers that the little boy or girl in you would be curious to learn when you picture the face behind my name. 

One year was styled as the time between harvests in the elder Futhark of the Viking alphabet. Their letter for J – “jara” – means just that. My dad’s family, along with many others in my hometown, are in part descended from the Danes who sacked their abbeys, before finally converting to the Catholic faith.  

My dad too was a convert. In this last year I have seen the fruits of faith so clearly in my life it is as if I have been converted myself. What was a matter of belief became in many cases a matter of fact. 

I live in a small cottage in the countryside, and I like to go and hide in the shed in the garden to wait for thoughts. When I was emerging from this refuge, to return to what I call my work, it struck me that I finally had an answer to a question I was asked when I was sixteen, which was “Where do ideas come from?” 

From God, in the main. Certainly in my case. If you would like to know how I come up with things there is your answer. When I think of God in this practical way I hear the voice of my friend Stephen Kokx, a writer and author of an excellent guide to practical Catholicism. His considerable insight and theological formation is conveyed to my relative ignorance with the easy manner of the wise.  

He told me in one conversation that “Where the truth is, there is God.” This is one of those remarks which are at once so profound and so simple that they bowl you over when you hear them. Stephen’s presence in my life is one of the many gifts from God I have received this year. Just as with his remark about the truth, these are obvious only after you mention them, but all the more striking when they are formed in words. 

I write in a fancy chair which I got second hand in London. This chair sits before a desk which has a computer on it and a large screen. Behind me is the rest of my four year old daughter’s bedroom. This will become significant when I tell you about the kind of people I now talk to, after such a busy year. 

I began this year as a fan of a Catholic cultural critic. The Canadian journalist Kevin Michael Grace was for me a voice of sanity during lockdown. I would listen to his videos as I went to sleep, to be once jerked awake by the exquisite thrill produced by the fact that he had read out one of the comments I had made under his livestream. 

It was a powerful thing to be noticed by someone you admire from a distance. Mr. Grace is droll and astute and his inspirational erudition has had a profound effect on me. I owe him several major ideas at least, which I suppose puts him closer to God in that sense.  

Over this year he has become my friend, and I still cannot get used to the fact that someone I looked up to so much not only reads my work but will happily chat to me, too. He is a treasure and I thank God for him. 

It may seem I am going on about God to please the boss. This is a Catholic news organization and besides that, God Himself is the boss of reality. Yet there is no getting away from the fact that my sincere attempt to become a less bad Catholic is the reason I can write anything worth reading at all. 

Aside from inspiration, God’s help has literally brought me to where I am. I moved my family from London in order to bring them all – three generations – into the traditional Catholic faith. We left our work, friends, community and our home to do so. 

This I did with the certain faith that God would help me. I would say I met Him at least halfway in this endeavor, which involved much prayer and no small effort. Yet it is plain to me now that the Lord Himself has assisted me in doing this, and that it was right to leap into the void as I did, knowing only that He would not abandon me. 

I have certainly remained in His thoughts this year, especially when He was in need of some amusement.  

Not only did He help me to find work with LifeSiteNews, but to my amazement, LSN invited me to Canada this summer, where everything is big. The roads, the trucks, the mountains, the country – and the people. 

I am not. 

People who work for LifeSite (and whose names you may know) greeted me with a mixture of surprise and interest. “I thought you were taller in real life” they said, looking down on me. 

I was (for once) lost for words. How was I supposed to reply to that? I made a mental note to always carry a small box to stand on when I wish to command the room. 

When I related this to John-Henry Westen he did not struggle to conceal his amusement. As if to help me, Herr Andreas Wailzer chimed in, saying the Lord had made me short to teach me humility. Having appeared that day before the staff of LifeSite in a pair of salmon pink strides, I should say I am no stranger to public reductions in standing.  

I went home to Hobbiton with a sketch of myself styled as a garden gnome. This dignified tribute to me was penned by LifeSite technical wizard Walter Willits, whose fashionable Zoomer perm I can now picture trembling with fiendish glee. He has a laconic manner about him, and presented me with this flattering portrait as if awarding me an honorary degree. Such are my credentials. 

Finally I will tell you what it is like to speak to important people from a little girl’s bedroom. I had contacted a very influential man in U.S. politics, whose ideas will likely shape much of our future in the West.  

I did not expect he would agree to an interview, and so signally failed to prepare any illusion of professionalism for when it finally happened. He spoke to me from his swish office in Virginia. It was only when I played back the video that I realized the unicorns and rainbows on my daughter’s duvet had provided my backdrop to our serious discussion.  

This is my writerly world. I try to empty my head and wait for God to fill it, which thankfully He always does. I do not always transcribe this in the best way, but I am getting better at not getting worse.  

As Mr. Grace said of journalism, it is a life which offers you the chance to talk to some very interesting people. Some of them will notice out loud that you resemble a companion of Snow White, whilst others will gracefully disregard your cartoonish background and proceed to take you seriously.  

If I am honest I do not care much either way. I have tried to become less bad, to devote myself and my family to the Catholic faith and to seek the grace of God. This, oddly for someone who lives by it, has led me to think less overall. I trust in the Lord to guide me to what I must know and then do about it. This has been the greatest decision of my life, and this year has proven to me the immense rewards of taking it. 

I am grateful to God for what He has given me this year. This includes you, my readers, without whom I would just be a lonely little boy wondering aloud – to himself. 

Frank Wright lives in Hampshire, UK,  with his family. You can read more of his reality reviews here