Since this is the time of the week where I keep you up to date on my latest doings, here’s a small update. I’ve got about a week left as a substitute before the year is over. It’s been an interesting year, to say the least, and a good experience over all. I don’t know yet if I’ll do it again next year; I’m hoping that I don’t have to, that I can find something a bit more reliable by the time August roles around. On a related note, I’ve sent out a flurry of applications/resumes to other jobs, some full time, some not. Even if I can find a steady part time job, that will be something! My best bet is a local district looking for a science teacher. It’d be a bit of a drive, but if I get it I could consider moving closer. I’d like to find something part time in the mean time, and I’m looking at a job in a local library. I’d be content with just the library job honestly at this point; anything to get a steady bit of income, even if it isn’t all that much.
On a more personal note, I’ve been feeling a bit better about things of late. It’s like a lot of the things I’ve concerned myself with are dropping away. It helps that lately I’ve been in a more Zen state of line. I recently decided to stop calling myself “Buddhist”, which I did funnily enough for very Buddhist reasons. After all, we should not cling too tightly to forms, or in this case labels. Still, Eastern Philosophy has a strong influence on my life and outlook. Lately I’ve been thinking about looking more into Zen practice. Before that I mostly focused on Tibetan and Theravada Buddhism, with a little smattering of Zen and Tao for good measure. Now I tend to look more inward, using the philosophies and discourses more as sign posts than destinations. My biggest focus has been to try and meditate more often. I’ve also started to record my dreams, in an effort to ease back into the practice of lucid dreaming (of course when I could do it, I didn’t really practice; it just kind of happened.)
At the very least, dreaming is good fodder for stories. As I mentioned last week, I’ve refocused myself in terms of my writing, deciding to put my effort into one genre, that genre being horror. And boy has it paid off so far. In about the course of a week or so I conceived and outlined a novel, and I’ve written 5255 words on the rough draft, and I’m only two days in. I’m shooting for between 50 or 60,000 words total. Once that draft is done, I’ll start work on the novelization of “Benton’s Station”, a Lovecraftian novella I wrote for the anthology On Dark Paths (which is no longer available) a couple years ago. Someone told me awhile back I could expand it into a novel, and now I’m starting to see how that could be done. I have ideas for about ten different horror stories, some of which are simply adapting extant works into a longer format while others are completely original.
As for the writing, I’ve come to some conclusions about that as well. I am a writer; that is no lie. However, for me the emphasis is not on money. Sure, I’d like to make a business doing this. If I could just write six hours a day and sell my books for a living, I’d be perfectly happy. And it is feasible, because if I stay in the area I live in now, I wouldn’t have to pull down six figures to make a living. I couldn’t even conceive of making that much money, honestly. I’m a simple man, so I don’t need a ton of money to be happy. And that is my main goal; to be happy. I want to write my stories, and hopefully someone reads them and likes them. Sure, I’m going to market them and I hope I could make enough to live of off, but if I don’t I won’t consider myself a failure. Even if no one read them and all I did was write for my own satisfaction, I could be happy doing that.
But enough about that. Time for the ‘story time’ part of this post. I came across a couple of Zen stories I really enjoy, so though I’d share them with you guys. Enjoy!
“One day a young Buddhist on his journey home came to the banks of a wide river. Staring hopelessly at the great obstacle in front of him, he pondered for hours on just how to cross such a wide barrier. Just as he was about to give up his pursuit to continue his journey he saw a great teacher on the other side of the river. The young Buddhist yells over to the teacher, “Oh wise one, can you tell me how to get to the other side of this river”?
The teacher ponders for a moment looks up and down the river and yells back, “My son, you are on the other side”.”
There is a story in zen circles about a man and a horse. The horse is galloping quickly, and it appears that the man on the horse is going somewhere important.
Another man, standing alongside the road, shouts, “Where are you going?” and the first man replies, “I don’t know! Ask the horse!”