Wednesday, October 22, 2014

For Halloween, and Elections


The Beginnings of Romanticism

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Listening to the Language of the World

This last week I finished The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, but instead of putting my review on my blog, I thought what he wrote about writing it himself was so much more satisfying. It is a powerful short novel that explores our way in the world. I highly recommend it.

Paulo Coelho Discusses the 25th Anniversary Edition of The Alchemist

What originally inspired you to write The Alchemist?

What impact has this success had on your life?

Do you closely relate to any of the characters in The Alchemist? If so, how?

What have you discovered about your own personal destiny in the past 25 years since writing The Alchemist?

Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

sublimation or the process of transforming libido into "socially useful" achievements

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Wind Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

Before my first trip to Japan, I could not recall a Japanese author I had read, so I looked up some recommendations and settled on the novel The Wind Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami.

Wnd Up Bird Chronicle The basic plot is about a man who goes searching for a lost cat, but discovers a lot about his marriage and his life in the process. It is a bit of a mystery story that has a dark and quirky David Lynch à la Twin Peaks feel to it. There are many cultural-related details that come out in the novel that I can match to things I noticed on my trip to Japan: There is the preoccupation with and day’s highlight of food (though the protagonist surprisingly eats a lot of potato salad), a fastidiousness with cleanliness and dress, reverence for apology, the importance of gardens and self-reflection and also the perseverance in being. I also really enjoyed the author’s obvious affection for jazz and cats, which my experience and observations there lead me to believe many Japanese people share.

Some people would say that the protagonist is very passive – he quits his job and people and events happen to him. Two of the only intentional things he does are to go into a dry well to try to visit a kind of parallel reality and visit a train station to watch people. But inside he is on that universal search for understanding, and I found the book very engaging, though a little long. I think the English translation combines three of his novels into one and even cuts about 25,000 words. I ordered it on ebook, but I just looked it up and it seems to be about 600 pages in hard copy. Still I would very much recommend this book to anyone interested in Japanese culture or those who enjoy magical realism and novels about self-discovery.

Below are some of my Zen inspiration photos from Japan. I have a few more on my facebook page.ZenInspiration