Tuesday, August 14, 2007
The Buddha Diaries Recommends
Lindsey in Lawrence
Imagine: Steinbeck-like, you decide to embark upon a journey to find America. You hop in your car and drive straight through the middle of the country, on interstate 70. Desperate for an experience that will make you feel connected to that elusive “America,” you pull off the freeway in Lawrence, Kansas. “What are Kansans like?” you wonder. You park your car somewhere, anywhere….a mall. You are standing almost exactly in the middle of the country.
You stroll into Pier 1, which looks distressingly similar to the Pier 1 on Hollywood Boulevard. Same scented candles, same funky lamps. Feeling a little sheepish for having driven halfway across America to browse through Pier 1’s impressive selection of tea light holders, you catch the eye of a young, cheerful salesperson. You think you see a spark there, something to suggest a tremendous wealth of insights and stories behind that twenty-something smile.
This is it - your moment of truth. But…how will you possibly break the ice?
Fortunately, you don’t have to. This young woman - who represents, in many ways, modern Middle America - has a blog, and many of those stories lurking behind that engaging smile are posted there in living color. All you have to do is point and click.
With its depth, breadth and regularity, Lindsey in Lawrence stands out among an assortment of other excellent blogs authored by Lindsey’s friends (such as Marko Polo and Memory Palace, which we hope will continue to update) all living in one or another of the Great Plains states. Lindsey’s posts trace an earnest, light-hearted quest for self-fulfillment, grounded in her everyday experiences as a student, Pier 1 employee, and camp counselor. The force of Lindsey’s spirited “Buddhist-Christian” existentialism helps the blog transcend the merely mundane. One of our favorite posts describes a visit to the dentist, which becomes a funny, stream-of-consciousness example of the absurd mental states sometimes experienced by those trying to achieve a constant state of mindfulness.
Quirky and humble self-analysis is the hallmark of Lindsey’s best entries. In a June post she dives into her own acknowledged materialism, concluding that, “It isn’t the things themselves that I want…I want the experiences that go along with [them].” She implies, interestingly, that our society has welded “things” and “experiences” together, and therefore to deny one’s materialism also may require an unhealthy degree of asceticism.
Lindsey’s posts are also refreshingly creative in terms of format and content. Photos, poems, stories, dialogues, and even musical posts make Lindsey in Lawrence a fun and interesting grab bag of a blog. As with all the sites recommended on this page, we encourage you to check this one out. We think you'll learn a great deal about life in Kansas, as well as a whole host of other topics. Who knows, maybe you'll decide to take that trip down I-70 after all.