Friday, February 22, 2013


... from The Buddha Diaries.  As you'll there in this entry, I'm beginning to think that TBD is approaching the end of its run.  It has been active since the demise of The Bush Diaries, my first blog, in 2006.  Long time readers may recall that, after a two-year run, that gently satirical journal began to wear on me: with its daily entries, it had begun to feel like waking up with Bush in bed with me every morning.  Now, after six years and more than 1800 entries, The Buddha Diaries feels almost as old as the Buddha himself.  I feel that I'm repeating myself, or at least confining myself to a single point of view, in a voice that--while still true--sounds too familiar.  It's getting to be time to open another door.  I don't know yet what lies behind it, which of course is a part of the appeal.

Should it be another blog?  In fooling around with that notion, I have discovered something that should not surprise me but nonetheless leaves me with new doubts: it is a challenge to find a blog title that is not already taken.  I want to maintain the affinity with Buddhist thought and practice, while looking for a title that's a bit less explicit in establishing that affinity.  Perhaps, I'm thinking, my long-neglected "Persist" would offer me the possibility.

"Persist: The Blog" was started with the intention of addressing some of the issues raised in the book, Persist: In Praise of the Creative Spirit in a World Gone Mad with Commerce.  It was to be about the spirit of creativity and the creative process.  With it, I hoped to create some dialogue about those issues, and met with a measure of success.  I discovered a good number of other blogs and websites that concerned themselves with those issues, along with a whole community of good people, some of whom had given the matter a good deal more attention than myself.  The blog--and the book--allowed me to communicate with a huge base of artists, writers, and others engaged in creative work, many of whom responded immediately to the title of my book.  We live in a culture that values money and celebrity, and where huge numbers of creative people go ignored because they are not obviously "commercial."  "Persist" was written out of my own experience, bringing some of the principles of Buddhist thought and practice to bear on that predicament.

So here I am, looking back at "Persist: The Blog" and wondering whether this might not be the forum--and the title--that I'm looking for.  If I do decide to move on from The Buddha Diaries, I'll need some other venue where I can "persist" in the work I do.  I risk losing a familiar part of my identity in letting that blog go; one part of my identity I'm not (yet!) prepared to risk losing is the writer.  Writing is what I have wanted to do with my life since the age of twelve.  I let go of a relatively successful academic career a quarter century ago, and have been fortunate to survive without a "job" since then.

Then, too, "persistence" applies to a much larger endeavor than creativity alone.  I persist, for example, in the discipline of a daily sit--a now fifteen-year meditation practice that continues to deepen my perception of myself and the world.  And there are areas in my life where persistence would be a useful tool in achieving other goals: like many men of my age, I have developed a greater girth than I would wish to carry around with me.  I could certainly use some persistence in shedding the extra weight.  Then, too, it is persistence that impels me not simply to read the book or see the movie, but to use what skills I have as a writer to explore their meaning and their value.  I persist, in this way as in others, in the effort to expand my consciousness and make more profound such wisdom as I have managed to acquire.

So, then, these thoughts.  I am still not sure where they will take me, but I find it helpful to test out new directions in words.