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Archive for September, 2006

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Prisoners and the shape of freedom.

Wednesday, September 27th, 2006

For three years now, John and I have been facilitating a writing workshop at a men’s prison, a medical unit in Richmond, TX. Actually, I took a semester off to work on “deep practice” with a Zen teacher and discovered that my spiritual practice in working with prisoners was “deeper” (if such can be measured and compared) than my work at the Zen center; I returned to the workshop and left the Zen center. So the truth is that John has been doing this in Richmond for three years, and I’ve been doing this particular workshop for two and a half. I have been voluntarily walking into prisons for a long time. I started as a creative writing workshop leader in 1972. Working with prisoners is a calling for me. Last night, John and I “auditioned” six applicants for the two places in the writing workshop vacated when two prisoners were released last semester. [read on]

Intelligence reports and a whiff of Africa.

Monday, September 25th, 2006

Glorious weather in south Texas, and wonderful news abroad in the world. At last our sneering President’s own intelligence (I hesitate to use both words in the same sentence) agencies have reported what the Buddha said: VIOLENCE BEGETS VIOLENCE. Violencia faz violencia. It was never enough for our media-numbed populace that thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were dying bloody deaths from high-tech killing machinery; but at last we have word from a “conservative” source that the war has made life less safe for Americans. If that can just get people’s attention, maybe the movement for peace, or at least for a change in government, can take hold. So I hope. And as I was beaming in the gentler heat and grinning at the news, I stumbled over a book about southern Africa that is so achingly well-written it takes my breath away: Scribbling the Cat, by Alexandra Fuller. [read on]

Beginning again.

Sunday, September 24th, 2006

OK. Now I see. All my blog-entries between August 17 and September 22 were lost in cyberspace when WordPress had a server crash. Blogs, like meditation, may begin with good intentions, drift away, wander, get lost, and begin again. I begin again today, with a new blog-look and a fresh intention. No more illusion that cyberspace is a safe place to store things. Great lesson for a Buddhist. Everything is impermanent. [read on]

Birth, death, and the inbetween

Sunday, September 24th, 2006

This week was Seth’s birthday! Happy birthday, Seth! He’s thirty-three. Wonderful number, wonderful age. He was an enormous fat Buddha of a baby, nearly ten pounds at birth, who came to light in New Orleans with an air of wisdom and wonder. He didn’t cry when he was born. I did LaMaze, so he wasn’t drugged, and the doctor didn’t slap him on the bottom because he was so large and well-developed at birth, he just took a big breath, opened his eyes wide, and was fully present before the cord was even cut. His mouth made a perfect O, and he gasped and waved his arms in the air as if to say, “Oh, wow! Lights! Colors! Action! Look at this!” [read on]

Blog loss

Friday, September 22nd, 2006

Suddenly the server for WordPress has lost all its blogs since August 17. COINCIDENTALLY the last blog entry I have left is the one written on my last day in Portugal. It raised the existential question with which I started this blog: Should I do this? Who would be served by it? Does it serve me? Certainly in Portugal, it served me, by linking me to my community of friends. Some people reported loving the Portuguese travel story and pilgrimage. But when I returned from Portugal, I waffled, started, stopped, was uncertain of my intention, and then that disappeared mysteriously.

Here’s how the WordPress man-in-the-machine explained it:

Why are the Blog entries back to August?
Maybe you noticed that your blog is missing posts dating back to August 17th? Or that your blog ain’t here anymore. Well, after doing this for 3+ years we have had a series of server errors and the database that was storing all the blog entries was wiped clean. The most recent back-up that we’ve been able to restore is from August 17th. All our daily back-ups between August 17th and now are missing for the moment.

We are still working on finding a more recent back-up. If we do not find it, I am not sure if there is anything we can do. We are truly sorry about this.

Posted by Sean at September 21, 2006 06:27 PM”