Donkey Day: Recalling ecclesiastical thriller novel *Jackass for the Hour*

jackass for the hour

It seems like a lifetime ago. And it was, really. My doctoral thesis moderator, the Rector Magnificus of the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas in Rome, was having trouble reading the first chapter, as it was a bit technical, to say the least. I didn’t want to go on until he got through that chapter. It was now the Summer of 2005 and I was free for the Summer, in Rome. With a blank computer screen in front of me I decided to just start writing. With nothing particularly in mind, within months out popped a super tightly scripted ecclesiastical thriller novel solving one of the most thorny ecumenical problems of the Reformation / Counter-Reformation until today and especially now. 750 pages if it were to be published in novel form. It was incisively set in the time of “This is going to happen tomorrow.” But now it’s twelve years on and lots of changes in attitude and approach et cetera have been seen through the Church right around the world and especially in Rome.

It’s only twelve years ago. Much of the dialogue of the characters of the book uses direct quotations from real people, including Popes, Cardinals and various others especially in the Holy See and in other political-diplomatic positions right around the world. I had a bit of fear at the time. I used a pen-name: Renzo di Lorenzo. As I found out, this isn’t good for the soul. One can hide behind a pen-name. Or not. Only I write like myself. I revealed who I was and I’ve never used a pen-name since, though I’ve been tempted. I even asked someone of a particular website to let me contribute under a pen-name. But even since then, just some years ago, I’ve become more entrenched now against pen-names. There is a use for them, and in future I may have to use one once again. I don’t know. But now you know. Just to make myself untraceable as an author, I went so far as to pretend I was from Africa and was only just now learning real English, you know, the U.K. version. The spellings are rather outrageous for Americans. A common language separates us as they say.


From the Thanksgiving of Jackass for the Hour

by George David Byers (Renzo di Lorenzo)

It is with gratitude that I dedicate this book to the many men and women who have generously read the manuscript, making many suggestions. They represent a dozen countries and almost as many language groups. They have the most diverse backgrounds, cultures and levels of education that I could find among those with whom I could entrust the work. Their patience and humour have, I hope, stripped the manuscript of at least some of my ineptitude. Yet, I apologise for still managing to make what is easy into something difficult, a defect of one who has little understanding. Seeing how assiduous I was in taking suggestions, the comment was made that the book shouldn’t become like the jackass who trotted into a spurious collection of Aesop’s Fables – you remember the one – who, depending on the suggestions of passers-by to his owners, carried nobody, or did carry the little boy, or the old man, or both, or was carried by them, ending up being drowned in the river which flowed, appropriately, under Market Bridge. What a jackass does is not acceptable to everyone. It makes life interesting for the one who insists on being a…

J A C K A S S   F O R   T H E   H O U R


© International 2005-2018 – George David Byers


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