So I was a LOT excited to hear about Rulli’s new book, Saint: Why I Should Be Canonized Right Away.
Here’s all you need to know about the book: it should carry a warning label: you WILL laugh out loud, you WILL snort your drink, you WILL find yourself referring to it and giggling all over again. It’s a little embarrassing, really.
It’s going to be a book I share with all the normal people I know. Which is you. And the lady beside you.
Let’s see what Lino thinks about all this, shall we? It just so happens that I have a little interview of him to share…
Lino, I was a big fan of your first book, Sinner, and I have to admit: Saint seems to be more of the same. Which cracks me up. I’ve already recommended it to IRL friends of mine who love Catholic but aren’t fans of stuffy. What inspired this book, aside from the hefty advance you reference?
Aside from the advance, what else is there? (I’d put a smiley face in at this point, but that doesn’t come off as the truly masculine man that I am, so we’ll just hope you know I’m kidding). First of all, thanks for sharing the book. I’m sorry I don’t know what IRL means. I assume it means International Rulli Lovers.
What inspired the book is what inspires me about Catholicism: the contradiction that, at our core, we know we’re miserable sinners who are called to holiness. It’s much easier for me to look at a man or woman of the 12th century and say “Ahh…that’s a saint” than it is for me to look at myself, or the terribly flawed people around me (though I find myself more flawed than others) and say “Uhhh…we’re saints?” But that’s what the Church says: we are called to be saints. There’s a universal call to holiness.
What’s your favorite chapter of the book? Why?
The final chapter. There’s the obvious reason that, of course, once I finished that one I was done writing! But also because it’s just kinda crazy. Spoiler alert: When I was in high school, I ran away and joined the circus. And in writing that chapter, I learned a lot about myself and how that experience kind of formed me into who I am today. I grew up entertaining, going from town to town, never settling down. It’s helped me understand a little bit of why I’m such a commitment-phobe. Why I love travel and don’t settle down.
It seems to me that whenever we can find out something truly essential about ourselves – whether in therapy, spiritual direction, or writing a book (and I’m proud to say I’ve participated in all 3 of those activities) – it’s a good thing. It’s something we should treasure. In order to understand why I do the things I do, especially in the area of sin, I need to know about me.
Is there a part of the book you wish you could go back and change?
The first 28 chapters should be completely overhauled and written by somebody much wiser and holier than I.
As a side note, there are only 28 chapters.
But seriously (presuming that was the least bit entertaining), there’s a piece of every chapter that I think could be slightly altered. A more cleverly crafted joke here, or a more succinct bit of theology there, but I think that’s also life. Outside of the Gospel writers, I’m pretty sure every writer wishes they could go back and change things. It’s human nature.
Now that you’ve written both Sinner and Saint, what’s your next writing project?
Oddly enough, this interview. I don’t have plans beyond that. Then again, I’m not a very forward-thinking person. When I wrote Sinner, people asked what was next. Perhaps they were looking forward to a new book; perhaps they were just bracing themselves in case I wrote again. But I didn’t have Saint in mind. I much prefer to just let things flow and, without sounding overly pious, see what God has in mind. It’s probably better than what I’d come up with, anyway.
I may be overstepping here, but I can’t help myself: what’s your guilty pleasure reward when you’re struggling with your writing?
Cough syrup and muscle relaxants are a better combination than you’d think.