I am grateful to the fun and varied blog Interesting Literature, for without today’s post there, the fact that today is G. K. Chesterton’s birthday would have passed me by.
I first read fiction by G. K. Chesterton, and loved it. I tried a book of his apologetics next, but I confess that at first I didn’t like it. It bothered me because it seemed unsystematic and too off-the-cuff. However, I came to appreciate his apologetics. Chesterton makes statements that are startling because they are simple and make so much sense; and mixed with his often humorous style, he also makes observations that are startlingly lyrical. And not rarely, either.
One of the Chesterton quotes on today’s post at Interesting Literature is this, from Heretics: “A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.” The same thing is true about art. With stakes like that, is it any wonder that writers and artists get writers’ or artists’ blocks? It is terrifying to have before one the chance to show reality as it is, or simply to reveal one’s own smallness. It takes humility to keep on writing or making art – thank goodness Chesterton (and many other greats) had that humility.
So go have a beer (or an herbal tea) to celebrate, and read some Chesterton! You can get a goodly bit of it to read online.