The Suitcase Lady


July 19, 2016, 9:39 pm

I have just finished reading The True Secret of Writing by Natalie Goldberg. She is the author of the widely read book Writing Down the Bones, lives in Santa Fe and gives writing workshops based on Zen philosophy.

Her writing retreats are structured around a rigorous schedule of silence, meditation (both sitting and walking), bell ringing (to mark beginning and ending of activities), tasks and writing at specified times. The purpose of all this discipline is to “let go” and get to a “deep quiet peace”.

I am certain I would get expelled from these writing classes. Even though I went to college in the 60’s, read Alan Watts and Kenneth Rexroth and joyfully discovered Japanese art and poetry, I can’t create anything on cue. In ten years of writing this blog, I have never said, “Now I am going to sit down quietly and write for the next hour.” I believe I will always be an admirer of Zen philosophy and art, but will never be a practitioner.

The highlight of Ms. Goldberg’s book for me was her thoughts on teachers, specifically, the ancient Zen poets. I was inspired to get out a stool and clamber up to my top bookshelf to retrieve the Japanese poetry books I had bought during my college years.

Here are a few of these poems……minimalist jewels that juxtaposition a fleeting moment of time with timeless emotions. Since Zen poetry is often based on a seasonal reflection, all my selections are for summer.




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