Carrboro resident Julian Sereno, who’s earned his community newspaper stripes as editor and publisher of Chatham County Line, has of late flexed his literary muscles in a slightly different direction.
He has edited and published a manuscript written more than 50 years ago by his father Renzo Sereno, who died in 1965.
Julian says the book was not published 50 years ago because although the manuscript was completed, “it was an illegible mess.”
“I got it at the beginning of this millennium,” he said. “It took 10 years for me to struggle through it, but what I read was something profound, worthy of publication.”
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Anxiety, how it afflicts humanity and how humanity copes, is the subject of the book.
The title given by his father “Take Care of the Night: A Study of Religion, Dream and Magic” comes from an old proverb: “Take care of the night, or the night takes care of you.”
The remainder of the title, “Anxiety: An Examination by a Classically-Trained Scholar of the Mid-20th Century,” was added by Julian in what he calls “a 2015 contribution in this, the 50th anniversary of my father’s death.”
This is not a self-help book, but a philosophical discussion that defines and outlines the ways humankind deals with anxiety.
Here is Julian’s summary:
“This book uses superb scholarship to explore the premise that anxiety drives all human endeavor, citing works by thinkers from Aristotle through luminaries of the 20th century. It examines anxiety through three phenomena:
“First is religion, from the word’s Latin roots to its global practices. Dreams, the second, includes the practice of psychotherapy, science, its conflict social science. The last, magic, touching on all manner of non-rational beliefs, is an anthropological account of his studying Obeah and Voodoo in the West Indies, including serving as a witch doctor’s apprentice.”
Renzo Sereno was a gifted scholar, a professor at the School for Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University and author of “The Rulers” (Leiden, The Netherlands: J.J. Bill 1962).
Notable among numerous scholarly articles he authored/co-authored is “Some Observations on the Santa Claus Custom, “Psychiatry: Interpersonal and Biological Processes,” 24, No. 4 (1951) in which he was the first among noted scholars to denounce Santa Claus.
In editing the manuscript, Julian says that as a newspaper reporter and editor practicing community journalism, he faces the continuing challenge of making information as interesting, clear and accessible as possible and that he applied that same sensibility to his father’s scholarship.
Even so, this book is no easy read.
“My father wrote this to inform and enlighten the deepest thinkers and most renowned scholars of his time,” Julian said. “I have edited it to make it more accessible to contemporary readers. The sentences are less complex but the ideas are all my father’s.
“I hear his voice in every word, as relevant as when he wrote it 50 years ago.”
The book is available on Amazon.com.
Julian has been editing and publishing Chatham County Line for about 15 years. For the past 10 years, it has been a monthly publication.
“Over the years the paper took root, managed to survive tumultuous times in the newspaper business and has started to thrive,” he said. “The Chatham community supports the paper by writing for it and keeping it interesting, advertising in it and most of all reading it. We serve them by getting the word out.”
Kehillah Synagogue, 1200 Mason Farm Road, has two reasons to celebrate on Sunday, Dec. 13, that is the last night of Hanukkah.
Also called “the festival of lights,” Hanukkah commemorates how the Maccabbees defeated the Syrian-Greek army more than 21 centuries ago. Rabbinic legend recounts that when the Jews sought to rededicate the holy temple in Jerusalem, they found only a one-day supply of olive oil for lamps, but miraculously, the oil lasted for eight days until a new supply of ritually pure oil could be prepared.
The second reason for Sunday’s celebration is to honor 13 years of dedication by Kehillah Synagogue’s first full time rabbi, Rabbi Jen Feldman.
The celebration will include candle lighting, singing and entertainment. Member families are invited to bring their own menorah and candles to light. It is expected that more than 100 menorahs will shine their light during the festive celebration.
La Mesa y cafe
La Mesa y Cafe, an intercultural fellowship at United Church of Chapel Hill, 1321 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., will gather at 11:15 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 13, in Assembly Hall.
An initiative of United Church, the fellowship enhances the diversity, spirituality and faith of people in a radically, welcoming and inclusive space where the table of the Lord becomes the sacred meeting space.
The weekly fellowship is led by the Rev. David Mateo.
The senior choir at St. Paul AME Church will present its annual Christmas cantata featuring African American spirituals and classic Christmas carols at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13. A holiday reception will follow.
The church is located at 101 N. Merritt Mill Road and the community is invited.
The Take and Wear Clothes Closet at Lystra Baptist Church will be open from 9 to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 12.
All items are free and all who need clothing are welcome to shop.
The church is located on Lystra Church Road.
Contact Flo Johnston at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 910-361-4135.