And the fact that I’m not writing for refereed academic journals is probably good for my writing. It takes me a lot of effort to write; I might have less energy free if my effort was being siphoned by the rigors of another kind of writing competing for my energy.
is more richly populated than if I were succeeding in academia, and the terrain I hoped to cover in my thesis is available to all in
Can you give us a short synopsis of The Best of Jonathan’s Corner?
The Best of Jonathan’s Corner
is a collection of my best short works in theology, religion and spirituality across twenty years. Its contents are varied; in some ways it is more of a miniature library than a single work.
What inspired you to write this book?
For me, it really has been a process of inspiration, one that I can cooperate with but cannot summon. That is why I spend little time writing; I would spend more on my best works if I could, but the option is not open to me with how I create.
Let me give the inspiration process for the oldest and the newest pieces I have written this way. For the oldest, I was an undergraduate and had read Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in an Age of Show Business
, and heard of Immanuel Kant’s Religion Within the Bounds of Bare Reason
, and then attended a church service that was the very definition of why Postman said, “I am not worried about religion becoming the content of television. I am worried about television becoming the content of religion.” It even imitated television in having a banner above the pastor that looked like what you would see on television. And after trying to write down what bothered me (and having the preacher say “I’ll continue what I’m doing, unchanged”), there was a seed that blossomed and grew into the satire of Religion Within the Bounds of Amusement
More recently, I had a general sense of concern about a dark side to technologies, and Vince Homan wrote, and included in a newsletter, an article about Facebook as including a significant threat to marriage. That left me almost reeling, and helped crystallize “Social Antibodies” Needed: A Request of Orthodox Clergy
In both cases, besides any external stimuli, there was a process of spiritual listening, of sounding something out, and wrestling both to master the creation and to get myself out of the way so the creation can voice itself–which are one and the same thing, not two. Once things going, despite what I have written above, the process is much less about the external stimulus and much more about prayerfully attending to what is crystallized.
How many hours per day do you spend writing?
This is probably going to earn me status as a black sheep, but on the average, maybe two to three. Inspiration is a high point of my life, but it occupies a few days, maybe more, every few months. I wrote voluminously when I was in high school; now I write emails every day and will write something technical if an employer wants such, but however much moments of inspiration may be a defining moment, they are not my bread and butter. I’ve heard the famous saying that genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration, but in my experience inspiration carries the day when it is there, and when it is not there, perspiration without inspiration is just perspiration.
Name your top seven favorite books.
One would be The Best of Jonathan’s Corner
. It has, gathered together, all of my favorite works, and I write the kind of works I would like to read but can’t find.
What are you working on now?
Honestly, I’m working on getting a regular job. Do you know anyone who’s looking for a Jack-of-all-trades web developer? I’d love to hear!
What do you consider the most beautiful thing you’ve written?
That’s easy: nothing in The Best of Jonathan’s Corner
. I’d pick my letters to my Grandma and Grandpa, who are getting on in years, and I try to write them one letter each day. They aren’t especially eloquent, or profound, or even interesting, but I don’t know of anything I’ve written that’s better than them.
About The Book
Title: The Best of Jonathan’s Corner
Author: CJS Hayward
Genre: Creative non-fiction / many genres / religion and spirituality / Eastern Orthodox
The Best of Jonathan’s Corner, newly expanded after getting five star reviews, is a collection of varied works of Eastern Orthodox mystical theology. It spans many topics and many different genres of writing, but it keeps coming back to the biggest questions of all. It is inexhaustible: the works are independent, and you can read a few, many, or all of them to suit your taste. Fans of CS Lewis and GK Chesterton will love it.
Christos Jonathan Seth Hayward wears many hats as a person: author, philosopher, theologian, artist, poet, wayfarer, philologist, inventor, web guru, teacher.
Some have asked, “If a much lesser C.S. Lewis were Orthodox, what would he be like?” And the answer may well be, “C.J.S. Hayward.”
Hayward has lived in the U.S., Malaysia, England, and France, and holds master’s degrees bridging math and computers (UIUC), and philosophy and theology (Cambridge).