A Little Now and Then Zen

It all started yesterday when a group of us were discussing the end of the Mayan Calendar (sometime in December 2012.) We had one true believer and a number of skeptics, but the conversation morphed into a discussion of what is the nature of planning and how does that affect what you are doing at this very moment?

Since most people in the discussion were dedicated to trying to do their very best living one day at a time, there was a lot of back and forth on planning for the future without letting it eat you alive. This led to various observations about keeping expectations somewhere in the ballpark instead of out there on a mountain top.

Out of the blue, one man said he had found that “inspiration was always in the moment.” I suddenly had a vision of Einstein walking up the stairs and seeing those dust motes in the ray of sunshine. Thus was E=mc2 born. Then I thought about writing. For me, poetry is always a bolt out of the blue. The poem either comes to mind, fairly well composed or the IDEA behind the poem comes in a fairly concrete image that can be worked with and improved. Short story is much the same way. I always know what it is about before I start to write.  Once, and only once, I dreamed the whole thing.

When I was finishing CityScapes I knew I needed one more story. The collection just wasn’t long enough. I stewed and fretted and came up with nothing until one morning in Wisconsin, I woke with the entire story finished. I immediately sat down to write.  With novels, I always know how they begin and how they will end, but the middle is just banging it out one page at a time. However, the act of pressing those computer keys keeps you absorbed and in the present in some way I can’t really describe. Time passes without awareness.

Somehow looking for heaven elsewhere is just not as satisfying to me as the creative moment.  Those clever Buddhists!