Archive for August, 2009

Writing — the pain, the pain.….

Some­where, in this clonk­ing great barn of a house, is a huge box of books all about writ­ing. One of these days I’ll find it.
I expect you’ve met pro­cras­ti­na­tion — one good trick is to read books about writ­ing as one’s courage ebbs.

All my life, I’ve been fright­ened at the moment I sit down to write. Mar­quez
It’s really scary just get­ting to the desk – we’re talk­ing now five hours. My mouth gets dry, my heart beats fast. I react psy­cho­log­i­cally the way other peo­ple react when the plane loses an engine. Fran Lebowitz.
I suf­fer always from the fear of putting down the first line. It is amaz­ing the ter­rors, the mag­ics, the prayers, the straight­en­ing shy­ness that assails one. John Stein­beck.
Blank pages inspire me with ter­ror. Mar­garet Atwood.

These quo­ta­tions are taken from a book that was on the shelves at my last yoga week in the hills north of Rome– I had to copy the entire book overnight on my tiny lit­tle Asus which made me feel very like Shrek, with fin­gers like cricket bats.

The book is called ‘The Courage to Write’ by Ralph Keyes and I really rec­om­mend it. He deals with the whole prickly issue of why, know­ing that writ­ing is the best thing on earth — cosy insu­la­tion against lone­li­ness, mean­ness, bureau­cracy, tragedy; the path of dis­cov­ery yield­ing unex­pected trea­sures and hor­rors; grip­ping per­sonal archae­ol­ogy and effec­tive exor­cism of demons; a way to poke about in an absorb­ing hornet’s nest with­out being inter­rupted or told off — it is so damned dif­fi­cult to get on with it.

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Buddhists and Chinese food

About a Lit­tle Gingko Tree in the Rain

We’ve just had seven mixed Bud­dhists to stay with us for 10 days. They would rise at 6.30 am, drive across the estate to Casa Garuda for lec­tures and med­i­ta­tion, return after lunch for a siesta, then go back to Casa Garuda for more enlight­en­ment. They would finally return to us at about 10.30,  Pros­ecco merry, and we played mah jongg with Andrea’s adorable Chi­nese girl­friend Zhong Yu Shan, whose name means ‘Lit­tle Gingko Tree in the Rain’. Her mother changed her name two years ago when she was 17, fear­ing that she lacked suf­fi­cient wood and water for good feng shui with what­ever she was called before. Andrea — who could well be a model for a Car­avag­gio angel — teaches Ital­ian near an enor­mous glit­ter­ing New York-like city built on a river, called Cheng Du in Sichuan. Read the rest of this entry »

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