Monday, June 9, 2008

Prolific ones

If you thought Joyce Carol Oates and Anthony Trollope were prolific, then consider Saint Columba (521 -597) who (legend says) wrote over 300 books. And all while he was busy being Apostle to the Picts.

And while it has nothing to do with Columba’s sanctity or his literary output, you may be interested to know that – for only $199.99 – you can buy a life size 18,000 (that’s eighteen thousand) piece jigsaw puzzle of Roger van der Weyden’s masterpiece, the Saint Columba Altarpiece. (The original is in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich.)

Blessed Joseph Anchieta (1534-1597) was a Jesuit missionary to Brazil, who was often at odds with the Portuguese civil powers over their treatment of the Indians. He too was a prolific scribbler, in Spanish, Portuguese, Latin and Tupi.

On one occasion, he lacked paper and writing implements yet was moved to write his famous poem to the Virgin Mary. So each morning he wrote his verses in the wet sand of a beach until he could commit them to memory. The next morning he repeated the system with new verses, until he had memorized 4,900 verses, which he later transcribed to paper.

I feel confident that my memory would max out after the first few hundred verses. Or is that optimistic?

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