Friday, June 15, 2007

Master Mackey, Meet Mister Chesterton

The afternoon's two sessions were both panels each featuring 3 speakers doing shorter pieces and answering questions. All were good but, I must reiterate, I only have time to describe a few highlights. Among them would have to be Aidan Mackey's superb story of his introduction to Chesterton at age 14 (some 70 years ago).

As he related it, one of his older brothers said he needed to get his head out of "rubbish" and start reading something more worthwhile. The brother then gave Aidan a copy of The Man Who Was Thursday. It was his first Chesterton read, not to mention his first "adult" reading -- period.

Aidan described the book as "knocking him for a loop" as it was frustratingly enigmatic but exciting, fun and full of promises of more good things to come from this strange, new writer. Nevertheless, at 14 and afraid to admit anything that might suggest immaturity or dependence, his reply when his brother later asked him, "Did you understand it?" was a confident, "Of course!"

His brother simply laughed and said, "Don't be a fool. Nobody understands that book!"