If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.-—Joseph Campbell

Posts tagged ‘books’

The Dude and the Zen Master

For the last several weeks I’ve been reading The Dude and the Zen Master, a dialogue between Jeff Bridges and Bernie Glassman. It has taken that long because I’ve needed lots time to stop and reflect.

The Dude is based on Jeff Bridges’ role in The Big LebowskiBernie Glassman is founder of Zen Peacemakers, whose Three Tenets that serve as the foundation of Socially Engaged Spirituality, include:

-Not-knowing, thereby giving up fixed ideas about ourselves and the universe

-Bearing witness to the joy and suffering of the world

-Loving actions towards ourselves and others

Books. They move me. They inspire me. They challenge me. Here are more profound words from some of my favorite writers.

What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.   Anne Lamott

A book, too, can be a star, a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe. Madeleine L’Engle

When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young.  Maya Angelou 

Books are like mirrors: if a fool looks in, you cannot expect a genius to look out.  J.K. Rowling

Happily Creative

This is a quick post.

1. In a few minutes a friend and I are taking a day trip to a nursery (plants) a couple hours from here.

2. I’ve been struggling with a writing “assignment” providing copy for pictures on the website of our community youth garden. Just the facts are not pleasing me. I’ve submitted the idea for an alternate approach and am waiting to hear if I can pursue it.

3. Tonight’s the third anniversary of the library book club I facilitate. I want to get home from the nursery in time to make cranberry nut muffins for the celebration. This month’s selection is The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. I’m expecting a stimulating discussion.

And the quote for the day…

It’s good to be creatively busy.  Me

The Story Factor

The Universe is showing you the way.

Yeah, right.

Tell them what happen to you yesterday.

Well, it was pretty neat.

Go on.

OK OK…I go to my regular Friday get together with mostly retired school teacher friends. Happy hour at the Mexican restaurant. We call it margarita therapy. Grace brings her daughter, a lovely 23 year old young woman, who when she was seven was in my Sunday school class. Well, she orders a margarita with a Dos Equis turned upside down in it. Whoa…the old school marms are impressed.

Keep going.

OK. I’m setting the stage. One of my afterschool kids, Marie, comes in with her family. I love this eight year old. She’s happily in her own creative world. I call her name and she skips over to me and gives me a hug. Steps back, grins at me and gives me another. It feels wonderful.

And then…

Hey, these are important parts of my story.

OK

Grace gets a call. Her friend is on the way. A few minutes later in walks Annette Simmons. Well, I know that name. Know she’s friends of some of my more creative friends. But there’s more. I have suspected she is the daughter of a woman I taught with more than thirty years ago. And she wrote a book, several in fact. But the one I know something about is The Story Factor. I actually own a copy. Whoa! Six degrees of separation is now down to maybe one or two.

The Universe

Whatever…We talk. I realize I don’t know how to describe what I write or where I think I’m going with it. (Note to self) She’s got lots of energy and experience. It feels wonderful. (also noted)

You and your notebook 

Hey, whatever works. Later when I get home I pull The Story Factor off the shelf and begin reading. OMG. The words connect. I know I’ve read some of it before, but I’m seeing it differently now. Breathe, Laura. Now in addition to The Poisonwood Bible that I need to finish before book club this week and The Dude and the Zen Master that I’m halfway into, I want to find time for The Story Factor. And in two hours I’m going to be at a sculpting workshop led by a truly wonderful creative.

Breathe, Laura. And enjoy.

To be a person is to have a story to tell.  Isak Dinesen

No Time Like the Present

1.  It’s the end of the college semester and there’s a stack of “paperwork” accumulating on this computer

2.  Through the windows of my sunroom where I am now sitting, raised vegetable beds are scattered across the yard catching the sun.

3.  My home insurance company is leaving the state next month and I must find another carrier.

4.  There are fourteen books, purchased from a recent book sale, lined up on my living room coffee table.

I want to ignore #1 and #3 and just go straight to #2 and #4.

museYou need a plan, Laura.

I can pick up the phone to call the insurance agent recommended by a friend.

I can give myself an hour of reading for every hour I spend on grading.

I can finish this post and go pick the last of the sugar snaps and a basketful of spinach…then maybe later today I’ll go get a couple more pepper plants:)

But first, a couple profound quotes…

There exists only the present instant… a Now which always and without end is itself new. There is no yesterday nor any tomorrow, but only Now, as it was a thousand years ago and as it will be a thousand years hence.  Meister Eckhart

You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Henry David Thoreau

Playfully Letting Words Escape

Yesterday I posted a poem “On Zen” by Daio Kokushi.

The haunting lines…

It is Dharma truly beyond form and sound;

It is Tao having nothing to do with words.

In the middle of these thoughts the city library has a book sale…Argh.

On Saturday I bought books for myself.

On Saturday I bought books for myself.

On Sunday I went back and looked through the books in the children's section.

On Sunday I went back and bought books from the children’s section.

A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint. What I began by reading, I must finish by acting.  Henry David Thoreau

No two persons ever read the same book.  Edmund Wilson

One rainy Sunday when I was in the third grade, I picked up a book to look at the pictures and discovered that even though I did not want to, I was reading. I have been a reader ever since.  Beverly Cleary

You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.  Madeleine L’Engle

Hemingway’s Voice

hemingwayAlways do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.

The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists.

All our words from loose using have lost their edge.

When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.

Ernest Hemingway

This month the book club read The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. An interesting choice after having read A Paris Wife by Paula McLain a while back.

Our monthly book club meets twice, once on a Tuesday night (originally for those who worked during the day) and Wednesday morning (for those who didn’t want to get out at night.) Over the years these two groups have developed their own personalities.

The night meeting is smaller and more, for lack of a better word, intellectual. At least two members do background work on the book or author before coming to the meeting. The retired English teachers gravitate toward this group. I like it because I learn a lot and am able to share  it with the Wednesday meeting. But we also have at least one member who likes this meeting because when she doesn’t get into a book, like this month’s selection, she comes to try to figure out what she might be “missing.”

Last night we had an interesting discussion about the writer’s voice.

This morning’s group will be bigger, and freer with their own voices.

So in preparation for today’s group I look at more of Hemingway’s words.

Who was this guy? A WWI veteran. A drunk. A depressive. Married four times. A writer of sparse and simple language.

One last quote to get a handle on his style…

If a writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above water.

The True Secret of Writing

I’m so excited. Natalie Goldberg‘s newest book, The True Secret of Writing: Connecting Life with Language, is being released March 19. Here’s the book’s description, as found on Amazon…

Sit. Walk. Write. These are the barest bones of Natalie Goldberg’s revolutionary writing and life practice, which she presents here in book form for the first time. A whole new slant on writing that she developed since the publication of her classic Writing Down the Bones, True Secret workshops have been limited until now to small, intensive groups at a remote center in the rural Southwest. In The True Secret of Writing, Goldberg makes this popular seminar available to any reader.

The True Secret is for everyone, like eating and sleeping. It allows you to discover something real about your life, to mine the rich awareness in your mind, and to ground and empower yourself. Goldberg guides you through your own personal or group retreat, illuminating the steps of sitting in silent open mind, walking anchored to the earth, and writing without criticism. Just as Goldberg cuts through her students’ resistance with her no-nonsense instruction—“Shut up and write”—the True Secret cuts to the core of realizing yourself and your world.

The capstone to forty years of teaching, The True Secret of Writing is Goldberg’s Zen boot camp, her legacy teaching. Stories of Natalie’s own search for truth and clarity and her students’ breakthroughs and insights give moving testament to how brilliantly her unique, tough-love method works. Beautiful homages to the work of other great teachers and observers of mind, life, and love provide further secrets and inspiration to which readers will return again and again.

I have attended three of Natalie’s workshops at Mabel Dodge Luhan’s in Taos, NM and used her writing practice for the last 12 years. I know it is empowering for me.taos

Listening to Learn

Learning to Listen

Listening for Lessons

A Teacher and her Writing Practice

Writing Is My Drink

slake your thirst; find your voice

EventsForChange

~ creative ideas for making a difference ~

...the house I live in...

A journal of life pursued