Creative Balance

Yesterday I had some extra time off from work, so I was able to take care of a few things that I’ve been letting slide.

First thing I did was search for summer housing in NYC. I need a room for June and July. Finding housing in NYC is a challenge, but there are some pretty good leads out there. I’m not picky on location, as long as I’m near a subway.

The next thing I did was work in my notebook. I used a brainstorming technique called mind mapping or clustering. In the center of the page I wrote a word (the setting for my next project) with a circle around it. Next, I drew a line from that circle and wrote a new word. From the second word I drew another line with a new word. […]

The Notebook

Recently I discovered one of my teachers from Naropa Boulder has started to blog: Bhanu Kapil blog is very close to being in her class at the Jack Kerouac School, except as a web page, it’s even more a School of Disembodied Poetics. In one recent post she quoted Rilke:

“Ask yourself, must I write?; and if you cannot answer yes, then maybe you should not write. Maybe you’re not a writer.”

So I’ve been asking myself that question: Must I write? At this very moment, must I write? It reminds me of a Shambhala teaching on the primoridal dot:

There’s always the primordial dot: that spark of goodness that exists even before you think. We are worthy of that. Everybody possesses that unconditioned possibility of […]

Modern Art as Buddhist Practice

I’ve been listening to a lecture series recently that has me inspired/excited about writing. The speaker is Joan DePaoli, author of Transparent Thread. Her talk is Buddhist Art as Buddhist Practice, but I think it would more aptly be called Modern Art as Buddhist Practice.

The first two lectures give an overview of 2500 years of dharma art history. When the Buddha was alive he told his followers not to make any art with his image. For the first few hundred years his instructions were followed and Buddhist art were primarily meditation sites, like stupas. Then things changed and people started to make statues of the Buddha. DePaoli discusses this change and other changes as Buddhism spread into various cultures.

This discussion was interesting and informative. But in the third and fourth lecture, she begins talking about western art. […]

Books are cool (again)

This weekend my friend Liza introduced me to a new website that is sucking up all my time (but in a good way). is a social networking website for bibliophiles. Yeah, a myspace for those of us who really love books.

I created a profile and for the past few days have been adding books, posting reviews, and chatting in the groups.

This site might replace some of activity. I visit amazon almost everyday, just to check the recommendations they have for me. Very often I find new books that I’m interested in reading.

Goodreads doesn’t have a recommendations feature, but there’s a link to compare my reading lists with other users and look through their other books for ones I might be interested in. […]

Flight by Sherman Alexie

I have been planning on writing a review of Junot Diaz’s The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar War, a book I recently finished. Not only do I want to review this book because I loved it (and what to share the love), but also because ?John Diaz ? and How to Date a Brown Girl ? have become the top search terms for this blog.

I will write a review soon of Diaz’s book, but there’s another book I want to review first. If you are at this blog searching for something on Diaz, you can read this post.

Flight. Sherman Alexie. Grove Press, Black Cat, April 17, 2007. 208 pages.

October 30th, 2007 | Category: Long Tail Reader, Nothing Achieving | Comments are closed

Why do Buddhists hate stories?

In the past couple of years I’ve noticed many people interested in meditation using the word story ? as if it was a bad thing. This came up more than once during my Shambhala Training weekends. I also remember talking with some Buddhist students at Naropa Boulder about what we would be without a story ?. And this week I was listening to one of my favorite dharma podcasts where a participant spoke very dismissively about his story ?.

I’m not sure most people understand what story ? really means.

For me this is very troubling and not just because I’m a writer of stories. But also because I believe that stories are essential for living as a human being.

From websters the word story is

End Game

The past few weeks I’ve really been in a motivated state. Although I’m working full time as a house painter, I still spend most of my evening hours writing and reading. It’s a life-style I enjoy. Doris even called me a scholar ? the other day.

At least three nights during the week I go to the coffee shop for a few hours to work on Josie ?. And this weekend I spent a couple of hours on Saturday with the manuscript. I found an empty classroom at Naropa Boulder and spread the pages out on the floor.

I arranged each consecutive chapter in two different rows according to the two different time-lines in the story. The first time-line, where the novel starts, is post-college. The second time-line is pre-college and goes up to the narrator’s freshman year.

Junot Diaz in Boulder this week

at the Boulder Bookstore.

This summer I shared a New Yorker podcast with Diaz reading How to Date a Brown Girl (Black Girl, White Girl, or Halfie) and a discussion of the story with Edwidge Danticat. Both of them were in Poets & Writers this month also.

I’m pretty excited to meet him and to read his new book: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao .

Lately I’ve been busy working as a house painter. But I’ve also been getting some work done on my writing. I am going over my manuscript with a red pen. I am careful to only look for grammatical and spelling errors. I don’t want to make stylistic changes at this stage, but wait until I can look at the manuscript […]

Reading August 4th in Lakewood, Co

I’m going to be reading with Tim Hernandez at The Laboratory of Art and Ideas in Belmar Saturday, August 4th.

The Lab/ El Laboratorio is a pretty innovative space, so Tim and I are planning something special. If you are in the area, come check it out.

SWP Week 4 – Pro-War Film Disguised as Transgressive Art

The panel was called Identity, Transgressions and Meta-Structures in Prose and Image ?. The first to speak was Abigail Child who introduced two short films. The first she described as actual footage of a US military stealth bomber. She said it was transgressive because it showed murders.

I was very disturbed by her introduction to the first film. Tears started to form in my eyes. I wanted to cry. War is terrible. It is so sad and frustrating and terrible.

But the film clip she showed was disturbing in other ways. It was a short film by Dominic Angerame called Anaconda Target. The online site describes it as:

a documentation tape of aerial bombings by the American military in Afghanistan, depicts the devastating effect of smart […]