Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tinker Creek (Annie Dillard), 99 Problems (Ben Tanzer), What I Talk About (Haruki Murakami)

i started the book 4 weeks ago, and am still reading it, going slow, not wanting it to end: Annie Dillard' Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. this book that i ordered second hand, and received as first edition, unread yet, since 1974. a quote i keep returning to in it, from the first chapter, lines on the world and writing: "Our life is a faint tracing on the surface of mystery ... We must somehow take a wider view, look at the whole landscape, really see it, and describe what's going on here. Then we can at least wail the right question into the swaddling band of darkness, or, if it comes to that, choir the proper praise."
connected to those thoughts on being in this world, and on writing, a Metazen short story, one that surprised me, escalating from part 1 to part 4 in larger and larger takes: Stories Are How We Make Sense of the World by Salvatore Pane.

also, i am still reading books on running and writing. inspired by Ben Tanzer's "99 Problems - essays on running and writing" i now ordered the book he mentions in the introduction, Murakami's What I Talk About When I Talk About Running - and as i love languages, here the original title: "Hashiru Koto Ni Tsuite Kataru Toki Ni Boku No Katrau Koto."

the quote i return to in his book is from the introduction: "Perhaps I'm just too painstaking a type of person, but I can't grasp much of anything without putting down my thoughts in writing, so I had to actually get my hands working and write these words. Otherwise, I'd never know what running means to me. "

Murakami wrote and run in different places while writing this book: Japan, Hawaii, Cambridge. in a coincidental crossing, my yoga teacher had a book on top of her book pile, from Janwillem van de Wetering, a dutch author who went to Japan to spend time in a Zen monastery. i glanced at the book, and she handed it to me, to take and read.

Wetering's book starts with his motivation: "Ich wollte eine Erklärung des Seins, eine Erklärung, die so klar war, daß alle meine Fragen sich erübrigten." - "I wanted an explanation of being, an explanation so clear, that all my questions were oblivious."
enlightment, he seeks. or, as his master puts it: waking.

which swiftly connects back to Dillard's book about her time as a "pilgrim" in a simple cabin at Tinker Creek, and the miniature story on page 2 of it: "We wake, if we ever wake at all, to mystery, rumors of death, beauty, violence.... "Seem like we're just set down here," a woman said to me recently, "and don't nobody know why.".

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