Cross-X arrived late last week and it’s at the top of my reading pile, right under The God Delusion. Confession: I took some time out to read the new Stephanie Plum silliness, Janet Evanovich’s Twelve Sharp.

Truth be told, I’m enjoying Dawkins as much as I enjoyed Evanovich. My atheism is ad hoc, a by-product perhaps of a stoned reading of Being and Nothingness combined with a common sense understanding of my consciousness bookended by the darkness before my life and the darkness after my death. Dawkins hasn’t gotten that deep or maudlin, rather he’s giving me a good humored ride through the territory where ever so many earnest people wrestle with this stuff as if it matters in a larger sense than raw international institutional power struggles, Vatican turf battles and the occasional pogrom, genocide or crusade.

If my mockery of the blighted ignorance of those whose god is more than metaphoric sparks a simple conversation or two, I’ll be pleased. The whole “leap of faith” thing has been an arrow in my quiver since Norman Mailer bandied the phrase about as explanation for his need to explore other forms. I never thought a generation later would be mired in christian evangelical nonsense giving that commonplace phrase more weight than, say, “spirited venture.” I love Mailer in all his mawkish adolescent hostility and aggressiveness. Every mirror is flawed, but few writers are unafraid to live, to grasp the authenticity of their own experience and reflect it back to the world.

I’m looking forward to getting into Joe Miller’s book soon. And maybe Dickey’s Chasing Destiny while I’m at it.