Going to California


I’m now committed.

On Friday my friend Pirooz, director of Shoplifting from American Apparel, signed a lease for an apartment in Los Angeles, California that he and I will move into in June, 2012. On that very same day perhaps at the exact same moment I signed a contract with New World Library to publish my next book There Is No God And He Is Your Creator. This could come out as soon as Spring 2013 or might be pushed back to Fall. We’re not sure yet.

In the meanwhile, the audiobook of Hardcore Zen is on sale right now. Just in case you’ve forgotten.

And a new eBook collection called Hardcore Zen Strikes Again will be out any minute now. I think they’re still working out some kinks in formatting. I realized I couldn’t do it myself so the fine folks at Cooperative Press in Cleveland are handling that part. Up till now they’ve only done books about knitting. But Shannon, who runs the company, is a fan of my writing. So this will be their first non-knitting related title.

Hardcore Zen Strikes Again is a collection of essays I wrote for the old Sit Down and Shut Up webpage. Many of the articles I wrote for that page ended up reworked into chapters of Hardcore Zen: Punk Rock, Monster Movies and the Truth About Reality. Many did not. Others were so thoroughly reworked you wouldn’t recognize them. It is articles from the latter two categories that I chose for Hardcore Zen Strikes Again. I’ve also included a chapter that was cut out of Hardcore Zen and an article I wrote for a Japanese monster fanzine consisting mainly of things I wrote about my work at Tsuburaya Productions that were also removed from Hardcore Zen. So the book is sort of like the bonus disc for Hardcore Zen. Hence the title. The essays are each accompanied by new introductions and afterwords talking about how my views on things have totally changed now and why the essays are shit.

Not really. But I am not nearly as loud in my writing as I was in 2001. I say pretty much the same stuff, just in a different way.

Those of you without Kindles or iPads or Nooks need not fret. There will be a print version as well. But the print version will be produced in limited quantities. Whether you’ll be able to find it in stores or not is still an open question. Probably you will.

Going to California is a big move for me, and, in some ways a thoroughly stupid one. It’s stupid because I could have saved myself a lot of hassle and just stayed in Los Angeles. But, really, things there at the time had become un-workable and I needed a change. It’s also stupid because I’m now making way less money than I was when I moved away and am going to a place where the rent is more than twice what I’m paying in Akron.

But it’s also a good move because I liked living in California. It’s sunny. It’s warm. It’s L.A., with all the weirdness that means. I’m going to try getting a teaching gig out there or maybe work in the film industry. Pirooz has a company, which is mainly just him right now, called Sangha Films. Years and years before I ever met Pirooz I had the notion that maybe there could be a Buddhist sangha whose livelihood was supported by making movies. Lots of Buddhist sanghas support themselves with commercial endeavors. Some sanghas make tofu, some bake bread, San Francisco Zen Center runs a luxury tourist resort (Tassajara). So why not movies?

I’m hoping to talk Pirooz into moving in this direction with me. But every time I say something about it he just sort of grunts noncommittally. We’ll see. I envision it as sort of a Zen version of Troma Films. Not in terms of the gore and splatter. But in terms of the way Troma is fiercely independent, knows its audience thoroughly, and makes its way in the world by producing movies that will never be big hits but always sell to its loyal core audience. Pirooz wants to make a zombie movie next. I’m trying to convince him to make it a Zen zombie movie. We’ll see…

Every choice a person makes in life affects their future in ways large and small, foreseeable and unforeseeable. Even a smile or a frown can make a huge difference. But some decisions seem more momentous than others. Signing that book contract and committing to a huge move in the same day seem pretty momentous to me. To be honest, I’m scared shitless. Maybe a year from now you’ll find me living in a cardboard box on Venice Beach trying to sell CD-Rs of my audiobook in order to buy burritos. But maybe not.

Sometimes you just gotta make a move.

165 Responses

Page 4 of 4
  1. Moni
    Moni May 2, 2012 at 6:24 am | |

    @Clamato i agree, just wrote the same what you said now

  2. seekr
    seekr May 2, 2012 at 6:30 am | |

    Hey Brad,

    I found This spiritual program online which seems pretty interesting but I'm not sure if it's something I should follow through on it. If you have a moment to peek at it, could you give me your take on the 'sincerity level'?

    Thanks,
    seekr

  3. anon #108
    anon #108 May 2, 2012 at 6:35 am | |

    Hi Moni,

    Thanks for linking the article. Many of the questions at the end about the pear/razor metaphor are my questions too. And Gudo answers don't satisfy me.

    I once put to Gudo on his blog that his metaphor does nothing to explain the free-will v determinism problem. In fact, it can be read as a confirmation of determinism: What determines whether the pearl falls to the left or the right – or whether it falls at all? If causes and conditions, then no free will. For free will to play a part there has to be an unconditioned agent acting on the pearl, outside of cause and effect, choosing to push the pearl one way or other. Gudo agreed that an agent was necessary to cause the pearl to fall one way or the other. So the question remains: What is this agent, this thing that does the choosing, and how is it able freely to control its environment?"

  4. anon #108
    anon #108 May 2, 2012 at 6:48 am | |

    …even if the razor edge is very thin indeed, there is still an event – movement – occurring. Gudo's metaphor doesn't help me understand how any movement, any event in time/space can happen outside of cause and effect.

    – Unless Gudo's very thin razor's edge is the quantum level? But I am not a quantum pea. The metaphor doesn't relate to the macro level and human experience, so…

  5. anon #108
    anon #108 May 2, 2012 at 6:54 am | |

    pea/pear?/pearl.

  6. Moni
    Moni May 2, 2012 at 7:00 am | |

    @anon

    yes, we might have our own interpretations when we read this article for example. My own with really simple words is the following: life "happens" and according to Buddhist practice we should live consciously and our actions should be in accordance with our Buddhist values.

    I do not think that it is possible to be conscious in every moment, but there are moments when we recognize the possibility of free choice and are aware of that we have a chance to make a choice through choosing our action and acting according to that at the same time (pearl right or left).

    Even though Buddhism is stressing the importance of the existence in the moment, somehow our human nature is still storing memories and we have thoughts towards the future and I do not think so that any of us can live only 100% in the present moment. The people who know us remind us of the past, if we park the car in a wrong place we have to pay the parking fine afterwards etc. Even if we would like to live in the present moment only, social rules, personal relationships, people remembering what we did etc. are most of the time generating the laws of cause and effect around us and we do the same with ourselves.

    Like we can not separate ourselves from a world, but with the right choice in the present moment we have the power to influence the law of cause and effect through compassion, forgiving etc etc.

  7. anon #108
    anon #108 May 2, 2012 at 7:07 am | |

    So for you The Razor and the Pearl is a kind of parable? Fair enough. People are different, for sure. Thanks.

  8. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 2, 2012 at 7:46 am | |

    Hardcore Zen the Movie by Troma Entertainment. I would watch that!

    Regarding free will and the cause and effect, its all good and fancy till you remember that according to current understanding of how things stand, the universe is not deterministic.

  9. john e mumbles
    john e mumbles May 2, 2012 at 7:57 am | |

    I've been trying to think of other catch-phrase titles Brad might use for future books. Any help is welcome, please post suggestions here. So far I have come up with one title:

    OH MY GOD, WHERE'S THE BABY? (subtitle:) No Room For Mindfulness In Zen

  10. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 2, 2012 at 8:07 am | |

    God Shit The Bed

  11. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 2, 2012 at 8:07 am | |

    hey 108, do you live near Bristol? My friend Anna is playing the last show on the uk tour there tonight with her band and could use some old school support!

  12. anon #108
    anon #108 May 2, 2012 at 8:35 am | |

    Annabella Lwin?!!! Off of Bow Wow Wow?!!! I live in London, anon, so can't be there. But when you see her, tell her Malcolm thinks they were truly fine.

  13. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 5, 2012 at 4:41 pm | |

    A Zen Master, because of samadhi addiction, get severe neurosis and went to psychotherapist:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/26/magazine/26zen-t.html

  14. visachris
    visachris May 16, 2012 at 1:19 am | |

    Do best, no regret. It is said that wholesale oakley sunglasses is a good business, so I concern on oakley sunglasses 2012 and oakley sunglasses clearance.

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