Buddhism at Millennium's Edge - Seminar 1

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Copyright 1998 by Peter Matthiessen - Unedited Preview Cassette

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good morning everybody and thank you normal again for a wonderful warm introductions
i'm only slightly embarrassed by
petaling my my books at them
i think most people will think when they see somebody speaking a writer speaking somewhere that he probably is dragging suitcases for this has wares to be to be so that really is not not the case and and a slightly embarrassing
there are many embarrassments involved in being a writer and i think that dumb
i'll talk about some of those after we have a sitting period ah but don't is kind of interesting what keeps people riding against the grain of
various humiliations and refusals projection so forth
and i think i'll probably begin i've talked to norman about this i'll begin by and my coming
yes i have a while sigh
i'll begin by talking a little bit about my own writing for life and especially as a zen effects it because that's really why we're here and and then after that out the next period of how we talk about practical matter
is hope
writing and so forth and i'm and will have more us and all the way through if we have time or of people like it and they'll be a chance of dialogue is are able to sound you out about what you would like to how you'd like to work today there awful lot of is here for a writing exercise i'm not quite sure how we can do that maybe we walk if the
doug the talk is good enough i think i'll probably dispenser for many ways you can go about writing exercises and i can tell you how to do it
so i think will begin as we almost always do and this practice with
are said
and you ring going on

this is a very good period to do
strong's strong some reasons you will find out as we go along really try to open yourself up

birds wrath terrific

i'm gonna talk a know i shouldn't do this as a zen teacher so forth but i'm going to talk about myself
and my own writing
and i think i began very early not knowing it is kind of a disease
as a friend of mine who teaches writing always says to his class you have any choice about being here he shouldn't be here
and i'm think that's and in a way riders are kind of fanatic that the most thin skinned and the most thick skinned people but because no rider max criticism but all good writers here criticism the replies and you make the most of it
i began by by keeping lists also as i just road and the my mechanism was just writing you know
without knowing why i was doing this what but by the age of fifteen i was already writing short stories very bad short story
and fifteen i had nothing to write about that i wanted to share with anybody
so i wrote about from people and old people's homes and about retarded boys and all other subjects that i who is expert in that age
i noticed even john updike's for his book was about know people homes and maybe that some sort of he tells you something but a cat and club
and then in college i took writing courses which i have mixed feeling about
and and then i was asked back to teach writing and here are just a senior in college of teaching writing nina and i hated public speaking at that time i've gotten somewhat better
but i was just terrified luckily for me the atlantic monthly took my first short story i ever solved and it one the atlantic and prize that year and they took another story
and that got me through that first class i can just handle cloud to scare these guys back in the place with that they knew me as a guy running around the campus pride bringing too much in a general you know
is misbehaved student so for so happy i needed something that put me over and that story came home just the right time and on the basis of these two stories i was able to get an agent and this is a very big step for your new hire the looks so big right now and i pick the toughest ages
in town she was married to a novelist who is called james goon cousins who very rightly as some now into oblivion but he was very highly regarded that time
and his and his wife was may benny's baumgarten and she was my agent and i told her those embarking on my first novel so did and after about a hundred and fifty pages i thought well gee whiz is just to their this is the great american novel quite obvious than i should give them some that's warning so you won't it
have you struck down so i sent off about one hundred and fifty pages into bernice
and then i kind of hung around the post office like the village idiot for weeks waiting
waiting for word from hollywood to role in
and that i heard from benny's a letter can but it was accompanied by the manuscript shy fox little disturbing but not much open it up and her letter said and i promise you this is word for it would have said i could not be mistaken about this it was etched into my brain
he said dear peter james fenimore cooper wrote this one hundred and fifty years ago on a he wrote it better yours bennies
that was it
so shortly thereafter i moved to paris
and there there's a radical terry southern somebody made on terrorists work like doctor strange and of
he heard about some contests england's we both fired all stories for contest in england about christmas and he and i were both among four hundred and fifty second prizes with first prize is run by muriel spark was unknown than which is gender but in very good writer
so i thought well i'll appease banish baumgarten by sending her a commission on this story and but the story only got the prizes but eighteen bucks so the commission didn't amount to much by thought she would appreciate my courtesy having spent so much on stamps for manuscripts that came back ah
over and over
so i sent it off and sure enough letter came back from their neeson and said dear peter
i'm awfully glad you are able to get rid of this story and europe as i do not think we would have had much luck with it here yours benny
ha ha
so you can see that the writer's life was already getting kind of shock but i didn't write my first novel over there and it wasn't a very good knowledge got pretty good reviews bedtime and once again and the second one two and about this time i decided that tem i made this decision here i'm a published novelist or
have my purse publisher and everything and i thought the first person i ever see a reading one of my books i'll introduce myself and inscribed the book to them this is a little plan i have
twenty five books later
a outside of a reading in a shop or something i had never caught anybody
reading one of my books
not hundreds so pathetic was i was haunted figure looking around on subways
one time going through a parking lot
somewhere i saw a tattered old caught paperback copy of one of my books on a front seat of a car and i i circled the car like
some sort of a pervert and the windows open about that much and i managed it
and then i wrote this false inscription it
that's as close as i came and then of course they occur to me later that they ever did come across the but maybe they finished it we're going to throw it out that day if they ever came across a thought somebody was being funny so never ruined wouldn't work anyway
but i kept at it i wrote another second novel and then the third
and then i realize as resorted to commercial fishing argentina deep sea fishing boat out montauk new york and i love that fishing life but i realize i wasn't make it financially as a writer and i had to do a non-fiction write for magazines and stuff and one of my very first assignments wow
was over of sports illustrated they agreed on a wide to do a couple of pieces on vanishing wildlife in america that was one of the few things i knew about i knew about boats and that haven't worked out there was a magazine then called holiday magazine i am
they said that we would like an article on boats about the country was boat crazy that as some reason and i didn't know about boats i i was running a boat i'm cooking a professional anyway so i wrote knock on i said the very worst one of the things i said in the article was the very worst boat you them by for the money is chris pratt
and they merely call up said you read our magazine and i said no i don't and and this will if you did you realize that chris scratches our biggest advertising and recently cannot put this in your article and i said well you can't write honest article about about boats without saying that chris-craft made a couple of good models with most
i'm are overpriced fat cocktail boats are not worth money
this week we're not gonna say that and i said well i'm not going to sign up and you do so we had a kind of a standoff and i finally did i said i'd tell you what i need the money and i did the work why don't you sign it and send me the money sign yeah his named to it and this is the unholy bargain remade
then the wildlife in came along and sports illustrated tap oh they they reneged they only wanted they wanted three at first i they only wanted to i mean i've done this enormous amount of work because i was sure there was a book like a my book while africa merc out there somewhere and though i had it was locate that book and cribbing from it then i would i would have my article
meanwhile i was traveling around the country seeing the birds that i wanted to see and the talking to fisheries experts and the millions of foxton wolf people and i had a great trip and question about it
but yeah and finally i had so much i realize there is no such books so i wrote the book myself i didn't wanna waste all this research as how that book came into place during this trip i was a kept and a tent on the beach in oregon and tillamook until the tillamook a reservation so you may know tillamook
it's not very big place in the day of as much smaller than and i was twenty five miles outside of tillamook and i ran out of free material on a rainy night in my tent so i thought well i'll go into tillamook can get a little gray hamburger and they'd probably have one of these spin racks with them as a musty novels on them for airport route can
assumption and maybe i'll find something i can read so i did sure enough i got a little gray hamburger and there was exactly once been rack as him to spend it and on the spinner aqua some really dangerous looking book
and so this young woman in bed and appropriately and there's a guy sitting on the edge of the dead taking off his shoes and i said well that's promising but not nearly as promising as the third person in the room who was standing fully dressed in a suit and tie
watching it but apparently with the concurrence of these two other normally
so i said lives that's pretty good as it was called underbelly of paris or said my gut so i drove twenty five miles back to my tent my curled up my bed roll got all set to read and i opened the book and are very fine print on the bottom of hers page said
partisans by peter max
in those days we were right young writers were channels and the publishers could simply sell your book change the title put us in mean nails to say you've looked didn't take one look not remain you realize be no such bookman no such seen a book of my
have indeed of course there wasn't because the book was but it was
so again i'm just to distressing that the writing life is not for everybody humiliation to happen are rife and i was really forty
before i was able to write what i wanted and not have to write and have fights with magazines which i get the the big break i got was mr shaw mr william shawn had a few years earlier before i started to write he had become the editor of the new yorker and he had published a piece and hours of crime i wrote was
ben bradlee we're both in paris than he later became the editor of the washington post and that was my first one but that i i wasn't that interested in crime but i was interested in wilderness by now and i said mr sean would you send me around the world let me cover the wilderness as you ever writing about new
york and europe and faces but the wilderness is really going under and wildlife and about how did we do that and he said okay and i packed it random boat
to south america and two books came out about the cloud forest which was nonfiction and not a novel at play in the fields of the lord and it was that novel that kind of turn the corner for me because i had a huge while huge me a movie sale
and it took me twenty five years to get around to making the movie but anyway and himself to the movies and and when the movie did come out at last twenty million dollars i should know
almost at once the didn't even stay long enough to get reviewed hardly what's going on they just didn't come on that crucial first weekend that was over three hours long was about south american indians without horses have no and missionaries nobody wants to see this live in the gaza by appealing combo and as
actually had a good movie despite ah the romantic talents of tom berenger and daryl hannah they say hard for those to the policy together but the rest was grey cat has kathy bates and aden quinn and john lithgow tom waits the singer and so forth anyhow
let me see i i should mention here that a mile for the first ten years of my writing i really did nothing but fiction and i still consider myself a essentially a fiction writer i wrote non-fiction to make money and i always run a despised my non-fiction and then a painter friend of mine
is why do you despise your non-fiction you you just go to nonfiction fiction according to it's appropriate but your themes are pretty much the same throughout and they really elegies to the wilderness as they're pleased to defend the wilderness and wildlife their pleas for traditional people in all over the world and for social
justice and that is true that the haka i was writing about
an indian victim even in my very first novel my very first novel and my very first nonfiction book both had indian people have always been interested own mac and in people i wonder why we're constantly lecturing them as to the world about human rights when we haven't perfectly dreadful corrected right here at home we should take care of and and that's been my
i didn't write an explicitly the social action book until i wrote i worked with and wrote about cesar chavez here in california on on the great strike and in the late sixties and then i am and that became a new yorker profile and i was so taken with chavez chavez is a truly
great man i wrote an epitaph for him and they when he died in the new yorker and i said on in historically cesar chavez is a far far greater california and mister reagan or mr nixon
i'm doing and i truly i truly believe that he was a very moving guy and he taught me so much so much about people and organizing and not abandoning people want should take up there cause he was just terrific brain this way and also a lovely gentle funny humorous guy who can be very tough and
to me and then i went into magn indian problem is explicitly out a book called a new country and i wrote another one called in the spirit of crazy horse which inspired the longest libel suit in american history i was sued for twenty four me and me and my publisher i am assumption hum
twenty four million in that suit was backed up by the fbi they had one of their agents so me for an additional twenty five million and that suit last nine years even though there was no libel involved whatsoever ah the law of the the publishes lawyers said it was as no libel here these people are simply harassing you and your publisher they want to push out
business and i didn't like that i consider my i'm very critical of our country but i'm also very proud of this country is countries really astonishing place and i get angry because i think we let down our own constitution or own principal so often last she is beating up on small brown countries in ontario
a it isn't i think a disgrace and i i feel we should should say as much but hum the authorities don't like people saying this and that that book and cost three million bucks and mingle fees to defend it and they said the virus and all along if they get us some court for dead will have to
the fall and it remind about the truth and justice we can't go up against all that money and guess who's paying for those losses
you guys and me through all that tax money was being marshalled against us and they were supporting governor jack lawsuit i said about janklow i said something that was absolutely the truth and this is the essence of the global shot i said that he had been found guilty and the rosebud reservation
tribal court with a court for the with a judge of record not a kangaroo court he been found guilty of raping his fifteen year old indian babysitter now newsweek magazine said the same thing and any sued them and he lost but even though he lot he sued me again so this was a nonsensical
suit in a away but there's been no book that i know of like that since it really chill our first amendment free speech rights and that was the point i think
so so much for that i in a way i spent an awful lot of time on that from other time on the book and i sometimes regret that i hadn't put that into my fiction i've been offline time into that kind of stuff and also environment and also and so-called zen books his book nine headed dragon river which was really a
a way of supporting pentagon rushing and his new
xander and east but i don't i've always held to that tub albert camus who is a writer i am a very much and when he won the nobel prize she said that to it's part of it none of the nineteenth century wasn't the same thing he in the twentieth century it is part of every rider's obligation to speak for those
who cannot speak for themselves and i completely endorse that that seems to me by this time of course was also as a student buddhism and it seems to me this is a principal right livelihood to you would take care of one another i had a guy oh guy say to me that's what we're here for to take care of each other that
it's our purpose in life is really being merciful bodhisattvas taking care of people because life can be pretty tough and indeed it can be great and terrible i was talking about that this morning with some people at breakfast here but top
so that's kind of what i'm doing it all comes at all boils down to the same thing i think i said just about enough my life i don't mean in this oppose had enough here too but i'm talking about in my books maybe this time i started racing
hum but meanwhile i've written to book called up for tortuga perhaps that book more than any other would come under zen writing really more than the two books that deal is and which are the snow leopard and nine had a dragon river but for to get really was
written under the influence of than practice i was there i was in love with spanish and i was on this what happened was that i was that mr sean agreed again with doubt even set me on a sasquatch on on time and he said mr matheson of this was any money but you i wouldn't touch it with a
ten foot pole
but i was i was interested in the muse so this time i would i'd heard about this wonderful on i read a great great book if you haven't read it read it is called the windward road as by herpetologist and archie carr now deceased and he mentioned that there was still schooner sailing out of grand cayman island down to the turtle cove
from nicaragua under full sail i said ah i gotta get on that boat so i i asked sean them back me up for a trip to grand cayman and i went and i actually after years ah i went on a turtle voyage
and then
i had a pride myself on not mounting big expensive even for magazine that probably can afford him but i just kind of matter my own pride don't do that but on this occasion there is as pirate down there who's who smelled money the new yorkers money and he took me forever the he kept delaying and trip i had to make trip after
rip hundred grand cayman and up before it finally happened and so i built for me queda a big expense account on it and even worse having done that i made this voyage and i was stunned by these men's they just fitted the how i hope his own practice about not wasting and so forth everything on the
that ship was worn down everything was used not abuse just used even the pain on the turtle boat on the skiffs that was sent off from the mothership even those the paint was worn transparent was covered transplant civilian blue wonderful
and the men themselves were so windblown and lean and kind of thing they were just absolutely the hatch of holes but nothing was thrown away everything was used there really were traditional people but they were on his boat and then no lifesaving equipment the radio didn't work the helm was being transferable hadn't finished it when they
seifert so the helm his mom couldn't see anything had to get instruction from the side gathers a big structure in front of it the whole boat was absolutely crazy there's no coast guard down there you have this howling trade when going all the time i really admire these guys they went out and did dangerous work every single day expertly and no complain
know nothing and as a high water this is a novel and also certain dramatic things happened
so i got back having spent too much money and i said to mr sean i have to tell you that i'm going to i can write your article for you but i have to hold back the best material and not come give it here to right mama
and mr sean without any hesitation this was the as a the highest my highest point with an editor in my entire life
there have been very many highlands so there's a
but he said mr matheson do what's best for your own work
without any hesitation not you owe us money or will you mean i'm going to give us the best sub didn't we none of that kind of whining he just to do what's best for your own work i thought that is a great editor and when he was thrown out of the new yorker few years ago destroy died
i wrote him a lead i said you will remember this episode but for me it was the apex my career working with editors and publishers abuse it extraordinary man
so where am i got covered all those things as and books and total action and novels now i'm and embarked i wrote a book of short stories my editor at random house came to me said hey you wrote a lot of short stories and know days and i said i sure did about thirty five awesome and he said let's put a look up together you know even you can you
and have known now so you can we can handle buckshot stories so i a great idea terrific so i rushed home to my files the papers and look the many those choices or turn yellow and as quite a lot of mouse droppings islam and the boxed in arm
i went through them i couldn't find we needed about ten or twelve bombers they just i found seven that i was i my name to an arrest we're really not together really green
sobs i we haven't got a book just aren't there but then in the succeeding years i wrote to long stories that filled out this book and i think they are a good story
and they published that book was called on the river styx and then i was already embark on this huge perhaps fatal terminal trilogy novel about this man i'd heard about first from my father actually we were travelling up the west coast of florida and outside the ten thousand islands which and a now
he said there's a river they're called shot and river and there's a house up there is the only house and everglades and let me remind you of the everglades including the ten thousand miles is the biggest roadless area in the united states we think that montana or texas would have that sancho it's in florida and it was a very inhospitable for long
time it was it had this seminal and miccosukee indians they're the only people ever really defeated the u s army i never beat them
it had law things encourage people to stay out so therefore as for the outlaws and britches civil war desert is never heard about the end of the war and stuff like that those with people that attracted and this man edgar watson who own this house was a saga genius planter but he also
a very chequered career yet a violent temper and on october twenty fourth of nineteen ten his neighbors boothroyd blown away they put thirty three bullets in him
and i thought you know how does this happen neighbors rise up and kill their neighbor i stuck in my brain i wanted to know why that happened i wasn't so i'm interested in the event in fact the beginning of the first book of the trilogy called killing mister watson to if i wasn't i am raided my british publisher by putting the had a death of miss
peter watson right up in the front so that
i wasn't writing about the plot i wasn't interested now i just said this is how it happened and his wife cried out there killing us to watson and ah she was up knitting in store nearby and i work around through local voices local accounts to show or try to show how that happened a second book is the point of view of in some
on that score last manager where that came out last november and he's he loved his father watson had three wives and seven kids all loved and the elderly a great guy he also had a couple of lady friends whom he had children with and they all loved him to and even the men who shot him down
kind of liked and they all admitted he was a very able guy he supposed to have been the man who killed belle starr the outlaw a woman probably was the first book about belle starr death was called hell on the border sensational title which i thought hell i'm a border and it says
man named watson killed her doesn't say much about him and that is that he was killed in an escape from an arkansas prison not true he survived moved south florida and his daughter mary that bank president and everything so it was this is kind of story and then the third volume which i'm just finishing
now about next november i haven't got a title for it yet but on this is mr watson's home
take on the whole story right up to the point when he knows his miscalculate
or not i'm not sure how that will be quite but this thing is absorbed me because it's about everything i've always written about it's about environment is about the destruction of the everglades is about american indian people and their battles and real tragedies in the land and so forth
it's about corporations and big government you know by a terrific irony watson developed a strain of sugarcane on his plantation and he made syrup and i was told by a very old guy who actually knew him when he was sixteen years old so he remembered it pretty well five years after watson's death this guy in a friend went up to his
place and they took some real volunteering kane shoots out of the field and they and they ran a whole boatload of that around and up the caloosahatchee to lake okeechobee to more haven and that became the scene came for the great big sugar industry that is virtually destroyed the everglades
and which is still being subsidized by our politicians and our government to get disgraceful degree and we pay twice as much for sugar anybody else these people already riches greece's why do we keep subsidizing them and especially when we could be importing sugar from countries who have a a poor trade balance and need that
that income why are we doing this instead of that we seldom weapons in the boycott their sugar
super to question this country you know that did the marshall plan which was probably the most generous in a national act in history with one hand we are capable of that and with the other we do these them well i'm not going out i promise i will not get up on my soapbox i was on my soapbox a bit last night i'll give you a rest from that i am i doing for
oh yeah
so i think that that brings you a little bit more up to date of peter massive than your probably careful or need
so i'm going i'm going to stop there for the moment and open us up for a while for any questions on anything i've talked about or anything else that i can be helpful with
the jew was ended he was up mr watson
the child know i was seventeen but when i was seventeen all watch shoulder were still living i know it's very hard for you to believe looking at me but
assorted oh i started it let's see about twenty years ago and i'm now seventy so nice about fifty
or thirty years us santa ana de lima that's right i think i think a lot of books happen this way my books do i'm like if you can i always use the analogy of the hen if you if you slice the head and half and mood a cross section you know you
we'll see the fallopian tube going up to the uterus you know that and you would see this these eggs bigger and bigger and bigger coming down to a certain point where the big one is laid you know and sometimes you do lay an egg with the book is no question
and i'm all this time it's growing it's going your minds planted with some little seed and in watson's case i meant the watson story to be a kind of a wonderful picturesque up
thread in a much much broader book about the environment and so forth
but that thread became kind of a strangler fig at a time i actually started really squeeze the life out of the rest of the book and that or that's all in there but now comes in through indirection the real story is watson he is metaphor is a metaphor of the frontier he's that early entrepreneur capitalist of the kind like come
a rockefeller and gould these people were killers to but they found that lieutenants to do the dirty work and they played golf and something you know that watson didn't have that luxury
but he's not so different in my view anyway that's that's how that he began him
you all hear the questions in the back shall i repeat them
the acoustics are good in here i know here
it's interesting i haven't lost most of it's interesting i mean to think i have you riding nationalist away by the everglades when i most relate with your work about the mountains
i wanted you could comment little bit about how you approach the environment and she come to write it out and what forms and attention you may use to access them
yeah how do i choose our environment to write about or how do i have a how do i approach it at yeah
well i have a
i do research first i was research a lot before i go anywhere because you don't want to walk past something as there and then you learn about it after you come home especially when you're gone three thousand miles or five thousand and ten that
so i do i do a certain amount of research before i go and i'm sort of read up on know kind of what i'm looking for also i know what attracts me to that place that philip roth has a very good analogy for that he speaks of the magnet and for the writer the magnet is what draws you to that idea and the
first place it's what draws you through your the writing of the book and theoretically is what draws the reader through most cases to and as when you lose that sense of that magnet and you start to wanders when you have to get out of a book with books you know you're changing all the time we talked about the river and the constant change nothing
stays in place long and and the bookish book takes on its own life and it's changing to and gradually you're separating and then you have no magnet you're wandering around in this material you're eliminating more corrections the next day than you're keeping that for me as the simon i'm eliminating more corrections and i keep i know i've
lost the thread and i gotta get out of that book as soon as possible
as far as method and the field i have a peter matheson patented method i recommend everybody i always wear these big workshops to have those two big breast pockets and those pockets are or should be the not you don't want that kind of think he should they should be big enough to hold one of those spiral
little pads you know about that side put it in this sort of somewhat rain resistant so much flexible that can take a little bit of a beating
and i take notes are all day long
on a little color or sexual thing or some sound i hear some bird behavior and can be anything but something that strikes your or i was going to actually talk about this new separate period i was going to talk about method how to push i don't want to get too far into it by will finish up about the notebook anyway
things that strike you that you think you might use and they are enough to trigger a lot of other memories you don't need to put everything down to shorthand but that case if it is shorthand write it up at night don't wait a week because you really i've lost track of my notes so i don't know and allies said that you'd utah in at nighttime write it down in a larger notebook i'm talking about if you
haven't got a computer i met you know computer in the field of some pretty new and i'm not a lot i think i'll never go over to it but i recommend it to you if you're more computer
so unhappy than i am
so i would always right on the right hand page only this is critical how many people here are are interested in writing serious i don't mean who who republished who how many are interested in writing
oh osgood great well ah
the new i think they will put this method use right only on the right hand page this is the key to the whole thing my early notebooks i didn't do that and what happens is that you have related material eighteen pages ahead you go see back you've got a of pages and you're just a snarl up and you go home and go
how maga sort this out if you leave that blank page open than any material is related to the material of that day is pertinent to it you can fit right in and also maybe it is a research note maybe there's a book that you want to refer to all that stuff is there so as all each topic is altogether
and if you do that and you take pains with when you get home you haven't got a a mess notes you got a real first draft it's a very crude rough first draft of the book you've got it more or less least you have it in chronological order and topic by topic you may want to and we'll talk about that either structure and different way but anyway you have it and it
it's clear so i think but i think i'll get off these practical things are there any other questions about of yeah
oh yeah sure
i didn't have children very early i i i became a did it and i really knew i probably should not get married one sodomy really don't want to get magnus i didn't want to lose your foot and who in fact it got such such a point of stress the though
i made a shambles of our engagement party and and then rod months later the gauge was broken and i had the kind of patch together i don't know that was a good idea and then i had done two kids pretty early and then i had to make some money so i and a fishing commercial fishing mr
but i don't know i'm not so sure i think writers and artists generally are not a very stable or dependable group and malcolm cowley the great critic wrote a whole book about writers and writing and talked about the social life writers and you never saw so many mess up new your entire life i mean they just a tremendous
amount of divorce depression alcoholism suicide violence ah you know and it's a cautionary of course none of this is true me but it's a cautionary book all that same as scale live on if you hope to be a writer
so ah and after and then i that that marriage did not work in the long run than my second wife and i had a child with her and i adopted her child by first marriage so the number four and then she died and and now i married again and my present wife brought to
ah young daughters to the marriage so they are i had this huge family which i heartily disapprove after years of having upgraded my sister and brother my sister had five boys were kept on because she wanted a girl so she has six and my brother that exactly op
visit he had four girls and kept going to be wanted a boy i said why you guys swamp i said the player
this is a terrible production and and time when we should all be cutting down the number of children now has six myself but by one way or another there are certain things you can help in life that's karma or fate or something i was telling them
sonia some people this morning my
i'm sorry to say that my family fortune such as it was was made and wailing
an awful my my forebears were whalers and denmark and norway we're whalers but they had a whaling school i taught whale captains they were kept me up and down the coast i hate to think of the sheer tonnage i have ancestors who was a cookie or three hundred and sixty five wales and those that time they were both bowhead and right way
i'll switch to the most rare now and in trouble and that's awful but there it is i've been cleaning up after it my all i but
so that's a very long winded answer to a good questions i get where you live i live on the end of long island on the i'm i'm inside of the ocean in potato country there is no country in name only now because i suddenly chateaus
climbing to the heavens all around me they're selling this plan on eighteen inches of topsoil it's one of the great loans in the world and build these huge houses on so many is plenty of up lambs and scrub oak and pine they could build on but we're still at most we still don't get every really don't we're still making these mistakes
i think you said enough last night too much
still my testing it
what i heard as he spoke about basic sham
that we're all capable in our the way of doing
since violence the violence that you went into you and your mountain hospitals
and it really strikes me that's at the cora
the salvation of our space to look at our sad
i think so
i think so i don't i don't tell people say oh i know there's evil in us i'm not talking about a i wasn't asked night talking about evil i'm talking about the potential of this animal a behavioral trait of this and we don't want to regard ourselves as animals but we are and and in every technical way we've gone so far ahead but where
still capable of his extraordinary violence very quickly people can turn around but it's not evil is just something we have to take care of
focusing on what inevitably
and that's what really appeals and interests me and i wonder i i feel you have a lot of body hair
a lot of got a lot of material for whole new where he wrote well i think so i to this is an issue question perhaps we'll have a chance later a lot of people here probably were not there last night who you're talking about something that isn't as common reference to i think maybe i will not a comment on our last types talk
now thanks
i'm curious how you a straight down with me enormous man eagle occassion a right fit for anti-social houston
in the agency vs practicing non actually may have
i know if is excellent excellent question well i don't you know i can annoying i can't even defend myself i'm greed anger and fall i had been through the earmarks of my life
the and still are
at fighters i may you know
well i don't know i haven't resolved that anymore than i resolve the question of family of the kind of work i do and the amount of time i'm away i don't i don't i think if there was a scale of credentials you would have to have to be apparent i probably would fail tara measurement i'm i most certainly responsible parent but i i am not but at the time i
would like to and i'm not i'm not solved all my ego problems not at all
the only thing is i'm trying to build to have the attitude about it that i'm trying to encourage we should have about our potential for violence not for evil for violence
and just be open about it and see what happens moment by moment take care of at home an afternoon which is really our our practice
do i think again he said to them
what would you say how genes had early ranking gave you wish you never can highlight yeah
i think that they were green that's the only were there unformed you see students who are unformed she he teaches alas who are uninformed
and i may very well be one of them so i speak with all the authority of failure
but i think everybody almost every rider nobody starts out riding at their full capacity they don't know if they're doing you don't you don't go up to the top of the ski lift and ski down you know had the guys for a start you make a lot of mistakes you go off and angles you pratfalls and i think we all do it i was very relieved and away
here the dust as scuse a writer i revere
he lost to big suitcases full of
work in the mars say railroad station and the think that wrote da says he can have two suitcases for that's a lot of work but he didn't ever publish a right on the i know or succeed with and i'm that i think this is the case i think writers right
any writer who is writing isn't really a out and it doesn't matter whether your published to not riders right as the nature of the of the thing and they'll write badly and they should have the sense to recognize that mr hemingway whose and a man whose life i didn't very much admire but i have to say
say he didn't know the trade of writing and he always spoke of the bullshit detector you have to develop that bullshit detector if you haven't got it you'd better find a few breeders your wife your husband somebody who have an effect
because we all tend to tend to sentimentalize that we go off on this thing of this tangent of the other and you find me get much tougher on your stuff now i could have better than those stories may be in and brought them into shape some of the ideas were good had parts them there okay but the overall was ineffectual hadn't learned my
trade as removed because i just haven't fed and not including the fact that you have to do a nice i do have to write many drafts this last chapter of this novel called and in the fields of the lord but a solitary river trip this man takes and i know i rewrote that entirely at
least thirty times and i still didn't get it through i wanted it and i rather that may be rather suspect that ah
you know that oh i forgot to set it you know a work of art is never finished simply abandoned as the old cliche while it's absolutely true has no sure thing as urban said you abandon it because if you think it's perfect you already in very serious trouble not just with ego you'd and a means you really missed
because any work you go to you start with is extraordinarily beautiful
hey in her head you see something and you strain to find words to to put this down ha and it just never comes out i don't think the way that you will just come as close as you can possibly can with integrity and then you have to walk away from it go on to the next thing
i've i've just come back from i was a co-leader on it a bridge or we took a lot of people to antarctica for seabirds and albatross and penguins and stuff wales wonderful but i was stunned by antarctica i was so far exceeded my imagination i had no idea was the highest continent on earth i had no idea that there are
icebergs floating around as one nineteen sixty eight that was as big as belgium but you see them commonly you see them four or five you two city blocks long and several hundred feet high it's amazing cars well i kept became my notebook as as beautiful off
i was left speechless and maybe that's as it should be me then teaches that done it with we we learn to be very very suspicious ever of words and there were simply
i will find some but i realize i've got to really crack my head and terrifying to find a fresh new way of saying how extraordinarily beautiful this landscape was a mysterious stranger
it's a great story my first teacher was a rinzai master cylinder roshi
and here is a good story of i think it was about so on roshi somebody had a can show and opening in men in the zonda some young luck
and celebrate our oh she took him up mount fuji his his monastery like the foothills of mount fuji and this guy was really open to the world i mean he was seeing everything for the first time i just couldn't believe he had he taken for granted before and this of course is the nature of can show us can unfollow
in opening up
so he was excuse enough bracing trees row she looked
and the that you
go rosia stop as a stretching up the mountain not saying a word just grunting with your displeasure and and as the sky why up he got more and more rapturous is an odd blue sky the clouds were they pass the snow peak ah the volcano you realize that the fires coming up there you do you see that
and not until a top of the mountain does is it
recognize we are perceived that the roshi has not said one
single word he said nothing it has grown impatient and and keep on trudging
and finally he gets up the top the mountain on the snowcat mrs but roshia i've been trying to shush
things he said had i mean it's so beautiful it's a wonderful don't you agree me said yes but what a pity to satan
writers unfortunately have to have to say so and we had we teach people to be very suspicious of the golden thorns will even the buddha's words we have to be very careful about words and yet we transgress i think are unknown check with norman i'm not gonna put him on the spot here but i think anybody who's ever
given dharma talk natasha ah i always hoped of a real feeling and you're trying to strike sparks i know it
but find me you got kind of gag on the words because you're only really in my view
yes you really over and over again you're teaching at lotus being held up your to kitchen master good tae and the finger you're teaching this moment and all the miracle and all the mystery arises out of this moment paying attention to this moment everything's cancer well master ghouta had it right he just plays
his finger i wish we could do that i wish you could write a book that way will save me twenty years on this some
and my watson trilogy my editors would heard to say isn't mr watson and yet
needless to say i got rid of him as know
where are we going with time and see when i got down here
when we are also we have a fifteen minute more minutes before the break and ownership for lunch so if you want to if for are other questions otherwise we can sit
the lancer more i times did a wonderful characters value i really enjoyed a lot and decided to the comment very word your career not that was it at all other
it was somewhat i think all novels are somewhat autobiographical and i fact i really think you can carry out further than that i think if the writer has really done his homework and understood
that all riders male and female have some aspect of a writer you have to get into that a common humanity and you have to if you have i have female characters i have to understand something i'm sure this would be distributed but
and but the and the less i feel that is so so that that novel and really all them have something of me in there and the characters of course right answer was very briefly it was about a young guy was in the navy and is on a track on a troop ship going out of pearl harbor i mean out treasury
on wish i did i i went out another golden gate and as a terrible storm at sea and their see you at which we were twelve days in a storm and radice or is based on the guy i had the bow watch has probably one of four men on a whole ship who didn't get sea sick
and i had the bow watch was by the one place on a boat where you wouldn't get sea sick because of the wind and fresh air and water bursting over you at all times and the bunks below in all of these holes and sleeping compartments and stuff where the bunks or four feet deep
and they were being sick in the top bunk and you can imagine what was like down there was a hell the guy who came to replace with supposed to replace me never appeared he was seasick as hell but one night about three nights out and i've been doing standing watch all my lungs he never showed up there was a pathetic clawing at this metal door on the top of the hatch
and i finally heard it over the howling gale bashing seas and i
great the bar in onyx swung this gate open and there was a guy a little white ferret like face on the top on the tops ice shell green in color
and with the sole inspiration of that door can they open he vomited
and that's stuck in my brain when i was stuck to to my shoes do but anyway
ah somehow this guy coming up from the depths preserve it was a metaphor that it it interested me and this guy in the book adopts this man even though the rest of the crew despise him because he turns out to be a user a manipulator self pitying but always with an angle and always working and truly am
as we say we don't make discriminations you know in our practice but this was a truly long specimen of your event and am
where do we take care of these people's because this this guy this young guy ran answer he comes from her
background and the pathetic of homeless or no parents and orphanages not a guy thing for which we really are partly responsible and this young the hero that protagonists tries to stand up for him against the hatred and how of the other men for him because they know is loathsome and he does it either
when it sir sort of betrays him
i don't know he was a that that was my third novel i was the first one i thought showed signs of little hope
and i don't know hi i don't know that answers your question or not okay
the student teacher relationship so on roshi is you know was you know huge crossover troubled man and rather eccentric in fact is as ten skin says he's one of the last great crazy crazy wisdom teachers he was
his teaching methods were unorthodox put it mildly
and he was extremely funny he was a clown you even bring out master and taisho talking put on different masks he had also to unorthodox methods are just tell you one one time for die sonne as which is you know if you're not as and person will tell you are his confrontation or leading with a teacher and you got there unusually
if you're if you're really sitting strong and welsh kind of a nervous you know you're either presenting a co on are you doing something but it's usually a little bit scary i think if you're where you should be and the roshi jury sam i got not showing much expression eyes down and don't you come a negro your boss well sala rossa
he was passionate about what he called the stinkers in
he hated self conscious spirituality he loved he was always yelling at us don't you realize our people walking by i passed out in the street who don't need this don't get your don't have such i know while one time and he would hang out as dirty laundry out in the rock garden where yet to see it as you're doing good
he just to shake you up just to do this or one time he had this to and this is a man who he took lsd just because he wanted to see it if he found was nothing new always being found and four o'clock in morning on the children's horses in the merry-go-round year old the was doubtless cheated on this occasion we went up
and were in the new york says zen studies society you ran up three flights of stairs and rinzai practice your almost supposed to knock people down and matter how much older they were the you you supposed to show this and zealand so you'd hear people pounding up the stairs you know in the more much other where the more they pounded and and then they would
bar for bow in the doorway and they would stand up to a standing bout the roshi and on this occasion
they looked up and it wasn't the roshi on the cushion that was huge pumpkin
an emotion was behind the door
and the immediately gave you the bell and some silly fools a got hurt feelings that they'd have had their dignity hurt and they were sent down the stairs and we can understand we are pounding out there's a stream going down
there are others many many prints on russia's stories he was a wonderful teacher
yeah the turtle
right now
we were going on right he thought about it
and none had dragged river was later i didn't start that really until
nozomi euro she asked me to go east i was a nice they may be as the test again was going east and he asked me to help him used daughter monastery back there so i know and i know that was nineteen eighty and i know that we needed money and that's why i put that book together
she remembers born i started in nineteen sixty nine and seventy so there was cut it a difference time there
oh yeah because i used early's and journals i use all sorts of stuff i i put some of this upward the the purely buddhist material from the snow leopard i put in there too and then i put in a pilgrimage that and i didn't touch him to japan where we went to all the monasteries and
all the shrines of soda and we also come happy to say stopped off and sauce on rocio hadn't seen anybody for years we're very happy to see him again was wonderful but dumb answer that happened
he said
resort would sort of practice that was
recent research practice
or other oh well the research itself generally speaking if you're interested in that subject you probably already have read quite a lot and those are your at least semi well informed before you start and there are always bibliographies and back to those books and you'll find other reference works new talk to people who know about it
it's not hard to pull together a reading list and you can do that over the you know for quite a long time before you before you go not that you have to go anywhere in member what and genji said about do not travel off to dusty lands but hum
ah to never been to stay at home the nieces do not be afraid of the true dragon and i was do not look outside for the richard dragon that isn't necessary you might you may do your your on research right at home and stay there to write that's good too
zay method just don't use those big shirts and stuff
yeah no problem no on ways to stop researching and oh boy do you ever is a wonder i have a book at home as a natural history book and a nineteenth century researcher and wildlife expert called elliot cows and he writes about the biblio
ugh refers dip samia of bibliography internet you can just and you see somebody was really not one and write the book they will research forever and then you have this enormous amount of material at a certain point you have to start writing even if you're still researching that's that can be a tremendous trapped research
pretty can
you will almost always find the key things people will mention them or whatever but research you can just get more and more more more never write the book i have a tremendous my research on sasquatch
music yeah we're cleared okay last question
having it the it i like that
autobiographical fiction or memoir well as a lillian hellman from many others have taught us a lot of memoir is fiction
so and the lightest is very very fine indeed autobiographical memoir
yeah i don't know we're getting into the that tricky area of the so-called nonfiction novel you know the truman capote he thought he developed and it's true that some books are they they are really you can form them as a novel even though they're based on truth i out highlight to my own
books i prefer over others just for that reason because i could they weren't novels one as the snow leopard and one was a book about a new guinea people called under the mountain wall and there i can tell a story unimpeded by you know i just a wonderful i i realized in both cases i remember saying to a george
matter who is my partner on the snow leopard i said to him about three weeks and i said of i can't make a good book out of this i ought to be taken out and whipped and and i really meant that i knew i had a thought it was just a natural and because it really was a story going back against the is going every every twenty miles who at nor
earth we went forty miles back in time forty years back in time to finally where we ended up we are in the thirteenth century and that whole sense of time and reverse i just astonishing these cultures one after each valley people went back
twenty or thirty years and time
that did you ever see snow
i did not for the more i went there again and nineteen sixties and nineteen ninety five and i failed again and snow leopards came right down to her and to our cat they killed two goats ah nodded to our captain whose nomad camp up the valley we ate the goats i saw the tracks the snow leopards saw me and i her
heard it and then zip
the the thirteenth century yeah
indeed we went we went off field permitted trail and we were on horseback and so he cover more ground we went way up into northeastern blow up on the tibetan border there and we found people at was amazing they had never seen like us and we never seen anything like them mr of it
we're going to take a break for fifteen minutes and then we'll reconvene