CHARLOTTE, N.C. – When Catholic blogger Heather King is asked who her readers are, she describes them as "anyone with a bleeding heart who lives at the intersection of the cross."
King is a book author and essayist who also has a blog, shirtofflame.blogspot.com.
She told the Catholic Media Conference in Charlotte how she embraced sobriety after years as a "falling down drunk," why she decided to become a Catholic and what led her to give up practising law to follow a "sacred call" to become a writer.
In a June 19 talk, she said the Catholic Church was the "one place that has truly welcomed me and loved me and allowed me to flower as a human being and as a woman."
Raised a Protestant, King said she regularly went to Bible school while growing up, but as an adult she thought "God was irrelevant, a hobby for people who had it all together."
An honour student in college, she was already a drinker, she said. She went to law school, passed the Massachusetts bar "in the throes of drinking," got married and moved to Los Angeles, where she was a lawyer.
"I should have felt grateful, but I never wanted to be a lawyer. I just was good at taking tests, while drunk. In my heart I wanted to be a writer."
In 1987, she said, she decided to get sober and to become a writer. She began ducking into churches in L.A., "reading the Gospels from my childhood Bible."
King said she had a "hunger and thirst" to answer the question "how can I live in the world with integrity? The Gospels are a blueprint."
She finally went to a Mass, and once she saw the crucifix, she "just knew" she was home.
As a sober and budding Catholic, "I started to get published bit by bit," she said.
"The Internet is a beautiful thing," King said. But it has a downside: It has "an element of 'Come and look at me while I'm looking in the mirror.'"