Writing is the activity I most enjoy doing (I don’t have a girlfriend at present), and yet, though I enthusiastically await every opportunity to write, hoping to create literary compositions, when I am faced with the blank paper I procrastinate. I do a thousand menial tasks to ‘prepare myself for writing.’ And by the time I am done with them, half an hour or more has passed, and I feel too tired to write and forsake the pen and paper. Alas, it is fear of writing!
The Buddha told his student, ‘Every morning I drink from my favorite teacup. I hold it in my hands and feel the warmth of the cup from the hot liquid it contains. I breathe in the aroma of my tea and enjoy my mornings in this way. But in my mind the teacup is already broken.’
An Obon offering at Okunoin Cemetery, Koyasan. Obon or Bon is a Japanese Buddhist holiday to honor the departed spirits of one’s ancestors. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
August 31, 2013 || 3:38 PM
I have been reading about the Obon ceremony in mid-summer in Japan. It is a three-day festival to celebrate the dead. Their graves are cleaned and decorated by their descendants, and families gather together for parties and festivals. Their is a special sort of folk dance, to entertain the dead, I think.
The thought of my mother flashed through my mind. I saw her in my imagination, standing there amidst the dancers who were dancing to rhythms that I don’t know and can’t follow. Suddenly, her body starts to jerk itself into the rhythms around here, violent, strange movements that no human body could perform. The lower part of her face opens her mouth out into a round scream. Her jaw keeps falling down and down, gaping further and further. She disappears, absorbed into the motions of the dancers on either side of her, all of them ghosts, and they disappear into the swirls of movement.
Reading now: A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
There have been many wonderful guests in the Library in the long life of this institution. It is hard to imagine that any visit will surpass the pleasure of Seamus Heaney’s. He was a man without airs. An Irishwoman we know said that Northern Irish people were foreigners, but in our view Mr. Heaney, an Ulsterman, was the quintessence of all that is remarkable and fine in Irish literature and that he was no stranger anywhere English is spoken.
Sometimes, when supposedly intelligent people make public statements, I find it impossible that they were ever mistaken as intelligent in the first place. For instance:
I find it to be an offensive irony, a toxic irony, that Lyndon Baines Johnson—the founder of the so-called Great Society, which I consider to be the greatest insult to the individual man since Immanuel Kant first laid out his preposterous theory of the noumenal, that is to say, not objective reality—that I should share with this man, this evil man, the same love of the soft drinkFresca. They say it is a grapefruit soda, but I think it has a different flavor. What do you think?