7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 162)

January 27, 2012 | 47 comments

— 1 —

For the #1 spot in each week’s Quick Takes, I usually think back and pick out an interesting / funny / bizarre story that occurred within the past seven days. As I sit down to review this particular week, I realize just how nonexistent my life has been. One hundred percent of my energy has been divided between the following three things:

  • Feverishly working on the book.
  • Thinking about how infuriated I am going to be if I don’t hit this deadline and thus have to wait eight months until my schedule clears up so I can get back to it. (Notice I am beyond the point of even pretending that I might be able to prayerfully turn the timeline over to God. My “patiently accepting endless delays” capabilities ran out sometime between the second time I scrapped a completed draft and the 12 months I had to wait to work on it again.)
  • Hanging out with the kids, unsuccessfully pitching a new pretend game called Tortured Artist, where one of us (mommy) sits and types furiously while everyone else stands around and makes comments like “That’s genius!” and “What a brilliant paragraph.”

— 2 —

Have I mentioned that I’m speaking at the Living the Faith conference in Denver? I can’t wait. You can read Julie Filby’s article about it here. I see that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia will be giving one of the keynotes. I guess that means that, since I am also a speaker, we’ll pretty much be hanging out the whole time. Justice Scalia (who will probably insist that I call him “Tony”) might have some questions about my blog, and will want to get my take on some of the cases he’s hearing right now. Another keynote speaker, Vatican astronomer Brother Guy Consolmagno, will be excited to hear that my husband is coming. My husband established himself as a luminary in the worlds of both philosophy and astronomy after calling out every celestial body in the cosmos and issuing a standing challenge for any of them to go up against him on Jeopardy (as of yet unanswered, I note), so I’m sure that Brother Consolmagno will be anxious to meet him.

— 3 —

As I flail around with my own book project, the good news is that there are other bloggers out who have fancy things like completed books, and I can live vicariously through them. Steady Mom has a new eBook out that promises to be great, and The Bloggess’ first memoir is coming out in April. Prediction: The Bloggess’ book will be in the top 10 of the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list within one week of its release. She has what publishers refer to as a “FREAKING HUGE PLATFORM, ” meaning that she has tens of thousands of loyal readers who lie awake at night waiting to buy her book, so it’ll be very interesting to see how it does. (As a writing nerd who is also a web stats nerd who used to work in marketing, these sorts of things are fascinating to me.)

— 4 —

You may notice that I didn’t link to The Bloggess’ blog in that last take. I know. Bad etiquette. But I simply don’t have the vocabulary to craft a content warning that would be strong enough to give readers unfamiliar with her writing a proper idea of what they might find there. Ten f-bombs, to be sure. But also discussion of insane taxidermy experiments. Pictures of insane taxidermy experiments. Sexual references that would make Hugh Hefner blush. And that’s just in the first paragraph.

I was going to go ahead and link to it with an all caps warning that clicking through will fling you far, far outside of the Inspirational Christian Mommy blog world, but then I had the realization (that chills me every time I think about it) that some of my dear friends who are Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist occasionally check in on my blog. I had this vision of Sister Elizabeth Ann accidentally clicking on the link, unsure what just happened, and at that moment some of her sisters walk in behind her. Sister Maria Rosario faints, Sister Thomas Aquinas is crossing herself and saying Hail Mary’s. Someone is on the phone to Mother Assumpta. And Sister Elizabeth Ann is frantically closing browsers, crying, “JENNIFER FULWILER MADE ME DO IT!”

— 5 —

Now I feel the need to post something worthy of having deeply devout people read this blog. I have the perfect thing! Check out this super cute four-minute talk by Kimberly Hahn. It’s a really unique presentation that has stuck with me ever since I watched it.

— 6 —

Tucker Max announced that he’s retiring from his hard-partying ways last week (some profanity at that link). I was quite touched by what he had to say about it:

The turning point came when one day I realized, I was a number-one bestselling author, I was rich and famous and I’d done all these things in my writing career that I couldn’t even dream of accomplishing when I’d started. All the things I thought I needed to do to make myself happy, I had done…I thought that would be more than enough to make me happy, and it wasn’t.

Want to hear something eerie? When I found this article I had just finished mentioning him in my memoir, which explores those exact themes. My husband and I used to get together with some friends occasionally to go bar hopping in a yellow school bus while dressed as clowns, and I talked about it because something significant to the main plot happened on one of those nights. Tucker happened to be with us, so I mentioned it. Anyway, it was odd to hear someone who was there that night publicly express the same opinion. I was like, What?? Clown Night didn’t bring you deep inner peace either?! So weird!

Tucker Max (holding up the megaphone) at Clown Night, 2003

Good for you, Tucker, for searching for something more. I pray that your journey may also take you from the clown bus to God.

— 7 —

As I wrap up this edition of Quick Takes to get back to work on the book, I leave you with this fabulous quote that nancyo recently left in a comment:

“A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”
– Thomas Mann

This makes me think I might be a real Writer after all.



  1. Mindy Goorchenko

    Your quote reminded me of this gem from Thomas Merton’s “Seeds of Contemplation”:

    “If you write for God you will reach many men and bring them joy. If you write for men–you may make some money and you may give someone a little joy and you may make a noise in the world, for a little while. If you write for yourself, you can read what you yourself have written and after ten minutes you will be so disgusted that you will wish that you were dead.”


  2. Dorian Speed

    I am really looking forward to your book, in large part because of these intriguing hints of the backstory it will contain. An, of course, because it will be totally spiritually uplifting.

  3. deltaflute

    Hey, My husband knows Brother Guy. Brother Guy graduated from the University of Arizona (although years before my husband did). And they both work on meteorites. Although my husband has lately been working with Lunar samples.

    BTW Brother Guy is not an astronomer. He’s a planetary scientist or a meteoriticist. There’s a difference. Astronomers work with stuff outside the solar system and use mainly telescopes. Planetary scientists work on stuff within the solar system. Meteoriticists work on meteorites and usually in basement labs (like my husband did).

    Don’t worry. People think my husband is an astronomer. We’re always having to explain that it’s not the same thing. He doesn’t really know how to use telescopes like astronomers or even other planetary scientists.

  4. Kimberly

    Number Four made me laugh out loud. I love the Bloggess, but I definitely know a lot of people who would be more offended/horrified than amused by her writing. On the other hand, I also know several Franciscan nuns who would probably get a huge kick out of her.

    Praying for you and your book writing! Hopefully it’ll all come together without giving you too much more stress.

  5. Leila

    Linked to one of your older articles today. You really are so good. I cannot wait for the book.

  6. George @ Convert Journal

    I admire your perseverance focusing on the book. I also hadn’t heard of the Bloggess before. Very impressive following with over 4,500 comments on one article on the current landing page. I tried to explore further, but something was up (nginx throwing 502 bad gateway errors). Maybe a sign that I was not to look further (per #4?).

    My entry this week… The 2012 March for Life. Allen West, an inspiring pro-life congressman. Comments from the marchers (and lots of pictures too). Using lingo to hide the fact that it’s a baby. The disappointing Girl Scouts (again). A hope-filled video from Students for Life. The March for Life press blackout.

  7. nancy

    Thanks for the shout out in #7. I have been trying to post 7 quick takes about St. Thomas Aquinas, but my blog will have none of it and keeps erasing everything in my post. So I guess we are all left with the Wise Men for a while longer!

    • nancyo

      I managed to get the 7 Quick Takes about St. Thomas Aquinas to post.

  8. The Licensed Fool

    I love #4 – it made me laugh. I too occasionally forget that my parish priest is actually aware of my blog and occasionally reads it, as do a couple of friends at seminary.

    I occasionally get emails – “You don’t really think THAT do you?”

    Good luck with the writing this week.

  9. Therese

    I really loved the Kimberly Hahn video. My nearly 7 year old sat here giggling his head of at it.

  10. Julia at LotsaLaundry

    My line to my kids is, “I know it may look like I’m here, but actually I’m not. I’m working in my cone of invisibility, and really you can’t see me.” It confuses them enough to leave me alone.

    If you get brain-stuck on writing, give me a call. I have some ideas for you.

  11. Christie

    When I even temporarily put myself into your shoes and imagine adding “Write a Book” onto my To-Do list my eyes begin to bleed. I don’t know how you are managing. It has to be a miracle of self control and discipline. How about some prayer support from the rabble of fans to keep your blood pressure steady and the keys clicking?

    • Jennifer Fulwiler

      That is so sweet (the prayers pray). Thank you! And yes, sometimes I feel like my eyes are about to bleed too. 😉

  12. Michael

    Keep it up! You’ll have a “fancy completed book” before you know it.

  13. Margaret in Minnesota

    “From the Clown Bus to God”–that could be the subtitle of your book.

    • Stephanie


  14. Jeanne G.

    That clown bus photo is disturbing. I’m kind of surprised that I’m the first one to say so!

  15. Contra

    Great video!
    It must have been interesting to know Max Tucker. I can only imagine some of the stories.

  16. MrsDarwin

    Any post that includes stories about Joe is a good post. Please, please one day re-tell the story that culminates in the highly quotable line, “I didn’t want to have a smackdown tonight.” We say that all the time here.

  17. Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy

    I’ve only read a few posts by the Bloggess–your description of her writing has me dying!

    That writing quote is perfect. I, too, might be a writer after all 🙂

  18. Trisha Niermeyer Potter @ Prints of Grace

    Thanks for a good laugh as well as some thought-provoking spiritual advice to chew on, mull over, and pray about. I love the Kimberly Hahn video! I know I’ve had to be reminded pretty much every day that the people and things in my life belong to God, but He’s graciously entrusted them into my care for a time. I can just hear God asking you, “You have a deadline and a manuscript you’re working on?” It’s time to hand over both, dear writer. Let Jesus take the wheel!

  19. Sr. Elizabeth Ann

    Dear Jen,
    Thank you for not posting that link!
    And did you end up getting the Dominican doll for your daughter, or the Sisters of Life one? I’ve been in suspense since around vol 157 or so. 🙂
    God bless! We’re praying you get the book done by the deadline! We can’t wait to read it!!!
    Sr. Elizabeth Ann, OP

    • JC

      The image I have after reading take 4 (plus Sr’s response) is priceless.

    • Jennifer Fulwiler

      As horrible as this is to admit, I ran out of money before I bought the doll. So the kids ended up with plastic Toys R Us stuff instead of uplifting saintly dolls. I’ll write this off as a Christmas fail and try to get my act together next year. Thank you for your prayers, as always! 😉

  20. KyCat

    Thank you so much for the Laura Hahn video. It makes me cry but in a good way and I figure it I watch it EVERY day hopefully I’ll remember, right??

  21. Lisa

    I watched the Kimberly Hahn video twice. It made me cry both times. Surrender is so hard!
    Thank you.

  22. majellamom

    So excited that you will be in Denver! That’s enough to make me consider going to the conference this year…just have to figure out what to do with my kids, now.

  23. Lacia C

    Hilarious post!

  24. Michelle

    You are funny. I should come up with some sort of format for my Quick Takes…I’d probably be more successful at posting them every week. 🙂

  25. Andrea

    I’ll be at the Living the Catholic Faith Conference too! My husband works for Wyoming Catholic College and they have a booth, so we get to go. Can’t wait! Maybe he’ll watch the kidlets long enough for me to come hear your talk…that would be so fun!

  26. Dwija {House Unseen}

    I tried to read the Bloggess’ blog once. You know, so I could be “hip” and “in the know” and I just…well, I had to stop. It kinda turned my stomach inside out a bit and I didn’t see where “uplifting” was going to fit in anytime in the near future. And really, I say turd and wear pants and talk to stuffed donkeys more than most people I know and still. It was too much for me. Good call on skipping the link 🙂

    And I pray that Mr. Clown finds God, too.

  27. Ashley

    You may already do this, but I just read about this in Matthew Kelly’s “Rediscovering Catholicism” and I thought I’d share it – when you’re working on your book (or anything else) offer up the work you do. I find that it helps me to be better focused and I get more done too. For some reason I had only thought you could offer up your pain and suffering, but that just goes to show you how much I have to learn (even as a cradle Catholic).

  28. Laura M

    Clown bus? what?!!!

  29. suburbancorrespondent

    What? You didn’t think Sister Elizabeth Ann would enjoy clicking over to a picture of a humongous metal chicken saying, “Knock, knock, m*****f***er!”?

    Also, have you ever read The Railway Children to your kids? The mother in the book is forced to write stories for a living (the father is in jail – unjustly, of course); so she sits upstairs in her writing room and scribbles out stories all day while the children amuse themselves (by preventing train wrecks and rescuing babies from burning canal barges, of course). Maybe you could have them listen to the audio book and give them some ideas of how to let “poor, dear Mother” write without interruption.

  30. Erin

    Wow Jennifer, you never cease to surprise me! I literally had to read that a couple times and ask myself, “did she really just say she was partying on a clown bus with Tucker Max back in ’03?” Very excited to read your book!

  31. Ellen Gable Hrkach

    Loved the Kimberly Hahn video (love Kimberly Hahn!) Thank you so much for posting it. As the author of four books, NFP teacher and mother of five, I know how challenging it is to find the time to write. I’m very much looking forward to reading your book. God bless you and your family…

  32. MamaBenedikt

    Jennifer, thank you for doing the Quick Takes, even while writing your book. I so need the endorphins and inspiration 🙂 As, Sister Elizabeth Ann said, it is good you didn’t put the link. I went to college with her and other MME sisters. I, also, spent time at their motherhouse back in 2008 when I, myself, was a religious sister. What a blessing to know them! Including my prayers for you…

  33. Monica

    Sorry about the double link post. The first one was the wrong link! Thanks for hosting the Quick Takes, always enjoyable!

  34. Potamiaena

    Please take your references to Tucker off your 7 Takes. He should not be mentioned in any way on your blog. I read a story of his, and the subject matter is disgusting and immoral. I would have been better off not knowing about him.

    I will pray for his immortal soul.

    • Jacobs

      Jesus dined with sinners, and apparently Jen partied with Tucker. NBD.

  35. Chantal

    This is off topic but I need to do a small survey. One of the parishes I attend has not done the transition to the new english Mass. I go there every so often as they have the last chance Sunday Mass. I have also gotten to know and be friends with the priest and others. When I approched the priest and asked why he did not do the new mass. He said he did not agreed with the translation and it has only been implamented in Canada and that US Catholics do not have to do it. “Really? Are you sure?” I replied. To which he replied, “Are you sure?”

    All of you who are in an English speaking place, has your diocese implemented the New Mass?

    I apologize for my lack of ponctuation and spelling errors. A two year old has snapped off half of the keys from my laptop and I cannot find all the pontuation marks.

    Here is my E-mail chauvet.c@gmail.com

  36. Gabriel

    I really love #4, it made me laugh so much. I like the Kimberly Hahn video too.

  37. Valerie

    Peace to you and your household, Jennifer. Thankyou for your blog.

  38. Monica

    It looks like I tried to add my post to the link list too late! No matter…

    I love that quote about writers. Touche!

    Thanks, as always, for your Quick Takes. 🙂

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