Saturday, November 8, 2008

A planned lull, perhaps

I woke up with a terrible headache. My eyes are red and sore. Too much writing and too much reading, all on the computer, can take its toll.

I planned on going to the Zendo today, but I can't imagine the Saturday rituals of chanting and bowing. I want to go back to sleep. When my koan floats into my mind, all I can think of is how it relates to the novel.

Dick sent an old blog entry of mine, "Islands", to someone last night. The writing is quite different than what's been my usual fare for quite a while now. The pace is leisurely. It doesn't read like a diary entry. It contains no silly remarks.

I've nothing against silliness. It's good for my spirits. But I do have to wonder what happened to that thoughtful writer. Caught up in the frenzy of writing 1667 words a day, then 2000 or more, as much as I can, unfettered and giddy with excitement, have I lost my voice? And in spite of spending all this time on the pseudo-novel, I've written more than one blog entry a day. Meanwhile, I'm typing up operative reports, physical exams and autopsies of fictional patients at a fictional health center in Florida for my medical transcription course.

I am unhinged from reality. On the one hand, it's wonderful. I now know I have many voices and stories inside me, and I'm already thinking ahead to the next novel. Maybe the tone will be more like the one in "Islands". So, even as I write this, thinking I've lost something, I realize I'm wrong. Yet. . .

I'm not sure if I should go back to bed or drive the 28 miles to my meditation group. And I'm thinking that in spite of wanting to hit the 25K word goal I've set for myself this weekend, I may be better off sitting and sewing. My house is a mess and I ought to do some cleaning. Everything non-essential in my life has been on hold all week.

I'm afraid to lose my momentum. So, I'm waffling. And I'm waffling, too, on what to do with my day. I hate it when I question my plans. I'm rather rigid that way. And when I'm feeling as I do right now, I think it's usually best to go with my first instinct. So, sleep just may be in order, even if I've not gone to the Zendo for a week.

Even though it's morning, I'd like to end with the Evening Gatha, chanted by one lone and plaintive voice at the end of each day at Zen Mountain Monastery in New York:

"Let me respectfully remind you, life and death are of supreme importance. Time swiftly passes by, and opportunity is lost. Each of us should strive to awaken… awaken. Take heed, do not squander your life."

Does this mean I shouldn't go back to bed?

Photo note: Zen Buddhist monk practicing zazen. Somehow I doubt he's thinking about plot twists and surprise endings, but one can't see into the mind of others.

I don't know who this monk is. The photograph has no attribution.

Addendum: I went out. We chanted the Faith Mind Sutra today, which is a long one. It's my favorite sutra and if you click the link, you'll see how absurd my saying that is.

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