Friday, July 1, 2011

WE'RE BACK

Yes, we're back. We flew in yesterday from Chicago on Jet Blue, and made it home by eight o'clock-ish in the evening, to a tumultuous greeting from George. Sooner or later--and probably in the next couple of days, I'll get around to sketching out the narrative of our trip, and downloading some of our many pictures to post with it.

I must say, though, that I have enjoyed the break from The Buddha Diaries. Ellie asked me this morning how long I have been writing this blog and I checked into the archives to discover that it has been four and a half years. Before that, there were perhaps three years of "The Bush Diaries." In November, that will make seven years of almost daily blogging. No surprise, then, that a break is welcome once in a while.

Since I have made so much of the value of a daily writing practice, I have made it hard for myself to think in any other way. But perhaps the time has come to soften up my approach, and leave myself more leisure for quiet reflection, jottings in a notebook, maturation of ideas... A few days of our trip were spent in the very beautiful, refreshingly green "Driftless" area of Wisconsin--a small slice of the American landscape spared the massive changes brought about by the last glacial age. I thought a lot about that marvelous novel of that title, "Driftless," by David Rhodes, and about the fact that this extraordinary book was written after thirty years of silence since his previous two novels. It is perhaps my fancy only, but it seems to me that those thirty years made space for the grand scale of the author's vision and the depth of humanity that pervades his novel. (If you have not yet read it, read my review, published long ago in The Buddha Dairies--and go out and buy it!)

There's a lesson in here for me. It has to do, I know, with slowing down and paying more attention to the deeper movements of my mind and the more serious things in life. Meditation helps. But I need to rethink the writing practice. I'm too caught up in the activity of it, as though the activity were itself enough. Given the "activity" of the past week of travel, it's in part a reflection of the way I lead my life. The coming summer weeks in Laguna Beach will allow me, I hope, the opportunity to sit back and reflect on all these things.

4 comments:

Br. Jay said...

Glad you made it back safely! Silence and thoughtful pondering before speaking is sadly a lost art.

mandt said...

Welcome back.....

robin andrea said...

It has been a great relief for me to not feel compelled to write something everyday. I think periods of contemplative silence are essential for thoughtful writing. I'm glad you're giving yourself permission to take some quiet time.

PeterAtLarge said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Good to know you, Br.Jay!