If St. John Paul II ever summarized his Theology of the Body, it may have been when he said, “Man cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself.” But how does this sincere gift look when lived out by human beings with all their failings? What happens to our humanity when we withhold that sincere gift? What does life require of us when we give most deeply?
Full Quiver Publishing brings you this moving collection of poetry and prose, featuring some of today’s brightest Catholic literary voices, including award-winning authors Dena Hunt, Arthur Powers, Michelle Buckman, Leslie Lynch, Theresa Linden, and many more. By turns edgy and sweet, gritty and deft, but always courageous and honest, the works contained in Image and Likeness explore countless facets of human love—and human failure. Readers of Image and Likeness will experience in a variety of ways how humanity, in flesh as well as spirit, lives out the image and likeness of a God who created human intimacy to bring forth both our future and to illustrate our ultimate meaning as human persons.
When asked where the idea for the book came from, editor and publisher Ellen Gable said, “I got the idea a few years back after I read a short story from another member of the Catholic Writers Guild. When I sent out an initial request to other members of the Guild, I only received five stories but one of the authors, Erin McCole Cupp, said she had some ideas for a few Theology of the Body-themed short stories.”
Editor and contributor Erin McCole Cupp, says: “I had two separate ideas I’d been batting around for a while, and I knew they were short story ideas and not novels, but I couldn’t imagine what to do with them. Ellen’s request gave me the kick in the pants to write both “Good for Her” and “Guess Who’s Coming to Sunday Brunch.” Once I had them written, I offered — okay, I begged — Ellen to let me do some of the legwork on this. I loved the idea of an anthology, a space where authors and readers could come together to see both the dark and the light side of living TOB in a fallen world.
Ellen Gable continues, “When Erin asked me last year if we could release the book on St. John Paul II’s feast day of October 22, I thought that was a perfect date. However, I had no idea that that would also be the day my son and his fiancée would choose for their wedding day. So while we were in the midst of last-minute wedding preparations, I was also trying to get this book ready for publication.”
To find additional contributors, Erin and Ellen took two approaches. Erin clarifies, “We put a call for submissions on the Image and Likeness Anthology page, but we also asked some authors in our networks if they would be interested in contributing either something already written or something written specifically for this project.”
Damon Owens, International Theology of the Body expert, wrote the foreword. “I am indebted to the authors and poets of Image and Likeness for their gifted storytelling of real life “ugly.” This book isn’t afraid to hold our gaze into the darkness of sin, doubt, and brokenness before the resolution of redemption. Some of these stories are heartbreaking to read precisely because I know this is true. Some of them I will never forget because of their unexpected turn to redemption. Through and through, this is an artistic instruction in TOB that shows us the wounds needing the balm, the balm applied, and the health and wholeness of men and women healed. And, like every well-told story, its penetrating TOB truths will influence even the most reluctant reader.”
When asked who should be reading Theology of the Body fiction, Erin answered, “Since TOB is just the truth, and all fiction is supposed to be aimed at truth, I think all readers should be reading TOB fiction. On the flip side of that coin, when it comes down to it, I believe pretty strongly that all fiction should be TOB fiction. Art, if it is to be any good, must serve truth. If it’s just a wad of lies in a tasty package, then it’s not art; it’s propaganda. What drives me most to write and share TOB fiction is that it ought to be nothing more than a candle in the darkness, a light down the dark hall of living in this culture that is so bound up with lies we can’t even tell the difference between love and hate anymore. TOB draws a clear line between the two, and that line is truth. As I always tell my kids, ‘You can believe what you want, but that doesn’t make it reality.’ TOB fiction is a window into reality. As the contributors show so successfully, I think, in Image and Likeness, reality is harsh. Reality is full of tough choices. Reality is full of consequences. But reality is true, so we do ourselves no favors if we believe something other than reality. The fiction we read is a school for reality. If we school our hearts and souls in lies, then we are not preparing ourselves to live in truth.”
Readers should be aware that the anthology includes mature themes, content and language.
For more information and for interviews and bios of the contributors, check out the Image and Likeness page on WordPress.
It’s available on Kindle at this link and in paperback at this link.
Special thanks to Erin McCole Cupp for writing the synopsis for the anthology!