The Writer's Life: Film & Book Reviews, Observations, and Stories
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Posts from — June 2011


Bottle of blossoms
Blue as a funeral urn
With blood red flowers.

June 29, 2011   Comments Off on 341


The challenge you set
Though wholly impossible
Is perfect for me.

June 28, 2011   Comments Off on 340

Neutrality versus Indifference

Before yoga this morning, my instructor and I spoke about attachment and how swiftly and easily it arises. Reacting emotionally to a word, a gesture, or a sensation is all it takes to form an attachment for life. She must have given our brief discussion some consideration, for during class she emphasized the idea of breathing in and out with long, regular breaths—no matter how difficult the asana—and staying neutral in our thoughts regardless of how we felt. It was difficult for me—I’m sometimes in a lot of pain because of my right hip—but I quickly grew fond of the idea. Previously, I had thought the way to deal with difficult persons and circumstances was to become indifferent to them, but during our exercises today, I realized that neutrality is preferable. Consciously not taking sides is much easier to achieve than attempting to deaden the emotions. It was a small moment of enlightenment. Deciding to be neutral leaves you with a choice. At that point, you can simply observe without making a judgment.

June 27, 2011   Comments Off on Neutrality versus Indifference

Today’s Quote

“For me, then and now, the question is, ‘What is success? It isn’t only about winning, but playing in a certain way.’”

—Kevin Keegan

June 25, 2011   Comments Off on Today’s Quote


The whistling will not stop
Though no one is whistling
And rain pounds on the grass
Though it is not raining
And birds call from the attic,
And when I tell him he is wrong
He believes me
But says someone is whistling
And the birds are driving him crazy.
He complains about his ears
That he can’t hear a thing
And the strange voices in his head
Though he is as sane as I am
Perhaps more sane
For he never lies about what he sees
And never pretends
For his mind won’t let him.

June 21, 2011   Comments Off on Errata

Pushing through Pain

The person on the mat in front of me today didn’t follow the instructor’s directions and half-heartedly performed those asanas he didn’t enjoy or already knew. For him yoga is a stretching activity, similar to loosening the limbs before running. I’ve noticed that off the mat, he goes from point to point without regard to anyone. One is supposed to get out of his way. This is all valid, of course. What he does or doesn’t do has nothing to do with me. But I wanted to tell him to listen with the full intensity of his being and push himself through pain until his mind controlled his body, not the other way around. Of course, I said nothing. It will have to be my secret—that pushing myself to the very end of endurance gives me balance and helps make me whole.

June 21, 2011   Comments Off on Pushing through Pain


Yellow irises,
Bloodroots, and Dutchman’s britches:
Our love’s first bower.

June 17, 2011   Comments Off on 339


The idea of “attachment” is central to most Eastern religions. We are told to keep these to a minimum and eliminate those we’ve already formed, mainly through meditation. Of course, we form attachments every time we make emotional judgments about how things are—being cut off in traffic, an abnoxious neighbor, a sick and dying friend, or someone who openly disrespects us. We have thousands of these obsessive thoughts swirling around in our minds, and we spend most of our lives nurturing them by repeating them.

The solution? Reduce expectations to a minimum and refuse to make emotional judgments about anyone. This is not easy, of course, but it’s never going to happen unless you try.

June 15, 2011   Comments Off on Attachment


Rocks stud barren ground
Below Cappanawalla
Where a goat is chained.

June 10, 2011   Comments Off on 338

337 (Ode to Sandburg)

Dim blue rain whispers
With cool breezes and dark squalls
Along the ridge line

June 8, 2011   Comments Off on 337 (Ode to Sandburg)