HARDCORE ZEN AUDIOBOOK!!

The Hardcore Zen audiobook has arrived! You can get it at CD Baby by following the link below:

http://www.cdbaby.com/AlbumDetails.aspx?AlbumID=bradwarner

Don’t risk damaging your eyes and your brain doing old-fashioned style reading just like your grandma did back during the Gold Rush while sucking down a sarsparilla! Get with the times! Download the audiobook like a real 21st Century citizen.

People have been talking about an audiobook version of Hardcore Zen since 2003. But nobody did anything. Last year Smog Veil Records said they wanted to do it. So I went to Wisdom Publications and they said, “No. We want to do it!” So I waited around for like six months. After hearing nothing, I contacted Wisdom and they were like, “Oh we don’t want to do it anymore.” So I told them thanks for letting me know and said I was gonna do it myself and now HERE IT IS!

This is a real DIY piece of work. But for all that, it came out pretty good. That’s because the quality you can get with cheap equipment at home is like twice as good as what you could get using a professional studio twenty or even ten years ago. Pirooz Kaleyah, director of Shoplifting from American Apparel, donated a Snowball microphone made by a company called Blue. I plugged that into my MacBook, opened up Garage Band and started reading the book.

I haven’t read Hardcore Zen even silently to myself since before it was published. The last time I read it all the way through was when I had to proofread the final copy edited version just before it went to press. I’ve read bits and pieces of it since then. But not the whole book.

I still have mixed feelings about that book. It’s OK. It might even be good. But it’s not the book I wanted it to be.

I wanted Hardcore Zen to be an example of what it was about. I wanted it to be a punk rock book about punk rock. As it stands it’s sort of a self-help book about punk rock.

As a punk rock book about punk rock it would have been rougher, less professional, and far less formulaic. It was intended to have digressive passages that just wandered off into nowhere for no discernible reason. I wanted it to meander> I wanted readers to be like, “what the fuck just happened?” Only one of those digressions actually made the cut.

In that particular digression, I wanted to describe some of the interesting things that have come up from my practice. Nishijima Roshi always said, “When you do zazen, you come back to your childhood.” This is really true. At one point I kept getting flooded with memories of things that had happened very long ago. I started to understand that the way I had perceived and conceived of the world when I was two or three years old was more correct than the way I had learned to perceive and conceive of it as an adult.

One of those memories involved being in the back of an old VW bug, probably my grandmother’s. Those cars had this weird storage space right behind the back seat, between the seat and the window. A little tiny kid could fit in there. And my memory was of being in there and looking out at the sky through the little oval back window. That space is so small there’s no way I could have been more than three years old. Probably less. But something about the way things had looked to me that day came rushing back all at once.

So I wrote it down. But instead of telling the story in the first person, I told it in second person (i.e. “You are sitting in a VW bug” or whatever I said). Josh Bartok, my editor, really wanted to cut that out. But I held fast. He cut out a lot of other good stuff. But I wasn’t going to let him take that one away. Still, he did move it to the end of a chapter where its placement was a little more “user friendly” and normal. Ah well…

My version of the book wouldn’t have sold nearly as well. So it’s fine.

I also realized, while reading the book aloud, why that book has sold so much better than my others. Recently I was told by somebody who is supposed to know about such things that my books would sell better if they were more “prescriptive.”

I was like, “More what?”

Apparently that means you have to give life lessons. People love life lessons. This person told me that I should write out my stories of things that happened to me and then follow those up with, like, a little capsule lesson to take away from it. I went to the library and took out a bunch of books by the likes of Deepak Choprah, Joel Osteen and even our old buddy Thich Naht Hanh. Choprah and Osteen follow that formula to the letter. Every single chapter is set up exactly like that. First the story, then the life lesson. They even put the thing you’re supposed to learn from this story in big bold letters so you can’t possibly miss it. TNH’s books don’t follow the formula quite so closely, but it’s in there with his writing as well.

As I read the book aloud I realized that in editing my manuscript, Josh Bartok had done precisely the same thing. He didn’t change too much of what I wrote. He just moved the sentences and paragraphs around such that it went Story, Life Lesson, Story, Life Lesson etc. It follows the Joel Osteen, Deepak Choprah formula very closely.

This doesn’t make it a bad book. It’s fine. But it makes it a lot like a pretty standard self-help book. Except that it’s not really a self-help book at all. It’s way more practical than anything Osteen or Choprah ever wrote, and far more real. Deepak Choprah and Joel Osteen can eat my shorts. After they finish polishing the Mercedeses and winding their Rolexes. They’re rich, but they suck. I’m poor as shit, but at least I don’t suck.

The only parts of the book that made me squirmy were the little cheerleading style bits near the end. Basically the entire epilogue kind of made me want to barf a little bit. The book was meant to end with the story of eating the tangerine. It was supposed to stop right there. But instead, I was encouraged to write that little cheerleader section that ends it. And I did. So I can’t blame anyone else for that. Maybe it’s OK. Maybe people need that kind of thing.

All that being said, I still feel like it’s a worthy book. It’s a very polished, refined version of what I really wanted to say. The rough edges were sanded down and made pretty. But it’s still mostly there.

I didn’t change anything as I was reading. I feel like it should stand as it actually is. I hated what George Lucas did to the Star Wars movies and I don’t even want to see how he messed up THX 1138. Those movies should stand as what they actually were. And so should Hardcore Zen.

Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate is still a far superior book. I’m not sure if I could do an audiobook of that one, though. It’s too intense. It’s too personal. I might try it sometime. If I succeed, I’ll let you know.

92 Responses

Page 2 of 2
  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 14, 2012 at 9:52 pm | |

    Smells like teen mysterion..

  2. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote April 14, 2012 at 10:29 pm | |

    "Ongoing investigation of the nature of that 'thought, that mind, that will, that consciousness' on the basis of that 'thought, mind, will, consciousness' expressed in the posture is more the nature of the practice than achieving any specific 'ideal' posture IMO." -Harry

    I agree. What I mean by practice is the thing I find myself doing without meaning to, just to be where I am. This is not the thing I thought would be my practice, usually, but something actually unique to my accumulated experience and my situation at the moment.

    The question for me is, how do I experience the necessity that's built into my human condition, such that practice is there and the pivot of zazen is required? At least, that's the question right now.

    "Between exhalation and the next
    inhalation is the absence of body
    and mind." – Fred

    Almost like I can't turn the breath, but the place of mind can, live in three directions. I have to be waking up or falling asleep to observe the place of mind in action, that's all I'm saying.

  3. an3drew
    an3drew April 14, 2012 at 11:06 pm | |

    john fumbles link on stories

    'yeah mental laziness'

    if

    you

    want
    a

    definition

    of

    enlightenment

    it's

    the

    pursuit

    of

    that

    stretching

    for

    what

    it

    reveals !

  4. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 15, 2012 at 3:59 am | |

    Kevin Bortolin requires that all students read Hardcore Zen for his Zen Buddhism class at Ventura College. The other day I was at the local bookstore in Ventura – and there were so many copies of Hardore Zen available – that they were about to fall off the shelf. I would bet that out of the whole book store – Hardcore Zen takes up the most space…Pretty cool.

  5. anon #108
    anon #108 April 15, 2012 at 8:16 am | |

    A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.

    ? James Joyce, Dubliners

  6. anon #108
    anon #108 April 15, 2012 at 8:34 am | |

    …Yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will yes.

    ? James Joyce, Ulysses

  7. anon #108
    anon #108 April 15, 2012 at 8:37 am | |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. anon #108
    anon #108 April 15, 2012 at 8:45 am | |
  9. john e mumbles
    john e mumbles April 15, 2012 at 9:10 am | |

    Thank you Anon 108. Love those quotes and the Youtube recitation (but why, he asked, did you go to the trouble??)

    I've been on an Irish lit kick, having just roared through Flann 'OBrien's wonderful AT SWIM-TWO-BIRDS, Beckett's MURPHY, & ENDGAME, and a hilarious short story titled "That's My Bike!" by Paul Murray (whose two novels I'll soon seek out) in the Winter 2011 Paris Review.

    The Beckett has me reading Genet's plays now and studying Martin Esslin's THEATER OF THE ABSURD, but your DUBLINER'S quote reminds me I have not read that one and should..next?

  10. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote April 15, 2012 at 9:15 am | |

    Thanks, anon#108, I might pick up "Dubliners". Beautiful prose.

    Maybe someday I'll appreciate his stream of consciousness writing, like the bit from Ulysses; I thought all of his writing was like that, so I left him on the shelf, illiterate wretch that I am!

  11. Mysterion
    Mysterion April 15, 2012 at 9:31 am | |

    anon #108

    when it comes to Ulysses, what is the answer?

    and yes anon, that was teen mystie waiting for Santa Clause to deliver the Easter Bunny to the music of Clapton.

    your point being???

  12. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote April 15, 2012 at 9:31 am | |

    I am definitely fond of "the pursuit of that stretching for what it reveals".

    "If everyone realizes selfless activity as a part of their daily lives, then whats the point of practice?

    The stretch that is already in existence as consciousness takes place registers the shift in balance occasioned by a contact of sense or mind as an impact; the feeling that occurs in connection with that impact informs the sense of location in consciousness. The stretch that is in existence as consciousness takes place is a stretch of fascia and ligaments, and these tissues stretch and resume shape with our movement and rest. In particular, as we sleep, these tissues tend to resume a shape without stretch."

    My answer to the question Dogen went to China for, and maybe an explanation of why masters like to sleep less and sleep sitting up, sometimes. Not me though.

  13. anon #108
    anon #108 April 15, 2012 at 9:39 am | |

    John – If I have a favourite book, Ulysees is it. A friend to whom I'd recommended Ulysees visited yesterday. He's reading it now. Not understanding it, he says, but loving it. And so I was reminded and wanted to share. And as the written/spoken word is on-topic…

    Mark – Ulysees isn't everybody's cuppa for sure, but imo, it's one of the most brilliantly profound, funny, moving books ever written. A shame to have lived and missed it. There again, some folks will say the same about KISS :)

  14. anon #108
    anon #108 April 15, 2012 at 9:42 am | |

    …Beats me, Chas.

  15. Harry
    Harry April 15, 2012 at 9:51 am | |

    Roddie Doyle fell foul of Joyce's challenge to tidy literary reason. He reckons Ulysses 'needs a good editor':

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2004/feb/11/classics.jamesjoyce

    …maybe so he can formulate it so as to knock out a slew of copycat potboilers that'll spin him a few bucks (arf arf!)

    It's a book to challenge how we read books, and what we expect to get out of it IMO (…wonder if the guy who was talking about our predilection for 'stories' over on TED has read it? He should).

    Joyce wrote a book designed to send you off to the library or the mug's guide. "I've put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant, and that's the only way of ensuring immortality," he said.

    Canny boy our Jimmy. Take note, Brad.

    Regards,

    Harry.

  16. john e mumbles
    john e mumbles April 15, 2012 at 9:56 am | |

    My good friend and mentor Tim Saska back in the 1970's did a monumental series of paintings based on ULYSSES that toured with the Fiona Flannagan play based on the book…Yes, that IS the book, isn't it?

    Fionna's nude bed scene will always remain in my teenage mind's eye…

    But who of you has read the mighty Flann O'Brien? If not, You MUST.

  17. john e mumbles
    john e mumbles April 15, 2012 at 11:00 am | |

    AT SWIM-TWO-BIRDS arrived the same year as FINNEGAN'S WAKE, and although ASTB was not only reputed to be the last novel Joyce ever read, but praised highly by JJ as well, O'Brien's response from having been eclipsed by the far more famous author was:

    " I swear to God if I hear that name Joyce one more time I am surely to froth at the gob!"

  18. john e mumbles
    john e mumbles April 15, 2012 at 11:02 am | |

    Whoops, meant to add this to that last bit:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_O%27Nolan

  19. Mario
    Mario April 15, 2012 at 1:50 pm | |

    Hey guys, did you notice that in a talk gave that's on his podcast he says that he "returns to the breath" when he gets lost in thoughts? Does this mean brad practices mindfulnes of breathing?

    Take care,

    Mario

  20. Harry
    Harry April 15, 2012 at 3:21 pm | |

    The breath is the work of the devil!

  21. Khru Jr.
    Khru Jr. April 15, 2012 at 4:10 pm | |

    My earlier post was removed. I'm sure it was an accident.

    Let me re-post it:

    PLEASE SCRATCH YOUR BALLS VIGOROUSLY WITH YOUR FINGERNAILS AND THEN SNIFF THEM; REPORT BACK TO US HERE IN FULL DETAIL IN TERMS OF ODOR, TEXTURE, AND, HOPEFULLY, TASTE. THANKS, BRO!

  22. Fred
    Fred April 15, 2012 at 4:12 pm | |

    Yes, Brad has a point about
    mindfulness.

    A fiction that wishes to one up
    itself performs a technique in
    order to attain a higher state.

    When all that is necessary is to
    see that the dream within a dream
    should relax and let the breath
    blow out the candle flame.

  23. Harry
    Harry April 15, 2012 at 4:31 pm | |

    Yeah, the truth blows.

  24. Mysterion
    Mysterion April 15, 2012 at 6:23 pm | |

    I think almost all of us start out with some wanderings and lack of focus and eventually find a way to where we are (and rarely 'where we are going).

    I throw this out to make a point. Brad did not start out with the goal of making an audio book before he embarked to Japan with JET.

    2012

    As long as you avoid the top 1/3 on Honshu, I still recommend JET for recent college graduates (English majors preferred). For a time, JET favored Western States Americans over the Brits but, owing to the contamination of Northern Japan, all applicants have a fair chance of success.

    Japan is no more deadly than Iraq or Afghanistan for the average visitor.

  25. Oz
    Oz April 15, 2012 at 8:00 pm | |

    Great blog, congratulations from:
    http://leyendas-de-oriente.blogspot.com/

  26. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote April 15, 2012 at 10:23 pm | |

    The critical part of the "intent contemplation on in-breathing and out-breathing", which was Gautama's practice before and after enlightenment (SN V X, volume 5 pg 280 & 289, Pali Text Society), is the very first instruction after "(one) breathes in mindfully and mindfully breathes out":

    "As (one) draws in a long breath (one) knows: a long breath I draw in. As (one) breathes out a long breath (one) knows: I breath out a long breath. As (one) draws in a short breath (one) knows: a short breath I draw in. As (one) breathes out a short breath (one) knows: I breath out a short breath." (Ibid)

    Zen master Dogen's teacher Tientong (Rujing) had this to say about the length of in-breaths and out-breaths:

    "Breath enters and reaches the tanden, and yet there is no place from which it comes. Therefore it is neither long nor short. Breath emerges from the tanden, and yet there is nowhere it goes. Therefore it is neither short nor long."

    ("Dogen's Extensive Record: A Translation of the Eihei Koroku", by Dan Leighton, Shohaku Okumura, Steven Heine, and John Daido Loori, pg 349)

    So there's a problem for most people in following the Gautamid's instructions for setting up remembrance (setting up mindfulness), right there (more).

  27. Uku
    Uku April 15, 2012 at 11:08 pm | |

    Hi Mark Foote,

    I'm curious about how you write Gautama, Gautam or Gotama as "Gautamid". Can you explain why, what's the etymology?

    Thanks!

    Peace
    Reggae Buddha

  28. Soft Troll
    Soft Troll April 16, 2012 at 4:28 am | |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  29. Soft Troll
    Soft Troll April 16, 2012 at 4:43 am | |

    Joyce wrote a book designed to send you off to the library or the mug's guide. "I've put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant, and that's the only way of ensuring immortality," he said.

    A brave and remarkably gifted writer. Like those other Modernist heavy weights, Pound and Eliot, he tore into the staid clutches of the C19th zeitgeist with an intellectual hubris that was most likely necessary at the time.

    An intellectual hubris which, it seems to me, has often attracted that self-same strain, whether it be in starry-lobed professors, students or others lured by the distractions of proving themselves equal to the giddy heights of artistic genius.

    More so, perhaps, if the artist in His and our complicity is bathed in the heroic musk of some bruising radicalism, so that our own pretensions can muscle up.

    Tongue-in-cheek or not, Joyce was off the mark in that quote. Artists, Professors and their troupe change their clothes and get wise to some of the neurotic games and foibles to which they, their predecessor and their subjects were and are inevitably subject. And to which their works – be they artistic or critical – can often be burdened by.

    Literary 'immortality' (sic) relies on the quality of the work(s) in its first and last breath, even if it is swollen or infused by other concerns and interests – whether they be of a predominantly historical, political, or biographical nature.

    Broadly speaking, I think there are two kinds of 'difficulty' with regards to such 'enigmas and puzzles' writers such as Joyce present a reader. The kind Joyce presents us in the quote above, as he often does in works such as FW and U, betray that very Modernist obsession with the monolithic daddy of 'tradition' and its high-minded intellectual guardians.

    Games meant for members of the club become redundant when the club opens its doors to the rest, or gets disbanded. And what once seemed 'canny' starts to show like dead wood on the tree immortal. And yet this still sometimes leads people to feel shut out or not literary enough (or sadly not clever enough) to tackle such a work.

    The other kind challenges in all sorts of ways (as has already been mentioned), as well as inspiring and enabling (as Joyce et al certainly has) new shoots and fresh approaches. But how many have given up on the one kind of challenge, being put off by the other?

    And how many refer to such writers' greatness without having really challenged themselves to really find their own handle on the work – the ones who are mostly recycling what the essay, the introduction, or the prof, told them, having agonised for longer over the copious notes at the back every page or so, so they can wear that masterpiece like some stamp of (self) approval?

    Did we laugh at those Shakespeare jokes too?

    Many writers who learned valuable lessons from the early C20th Modernists saw how arbitrary these preoccupations with high cultural tricks, puzzles or allusions were, and either left that aspect out of their works, or reveled in that arbitrary aspect, yet turning it on its head, often reading Joyce or Eliot's work as playful post-modernist texts, regardless of whatever authorial intention.

    Perhaps such writers just enjoyed the punky fun of what writing can offer.

    It was intended to have digressive passages that just wandered off into nowhere for no discernible reason. I wanted it to meander> I wanted readers to be like, "what the fuck just happened?" Only one of those digressions actually made the cut.

  30. john e mumbles
    john e mumbles April 16, 2012 at 4:56 am | |

    Before it just disappeared, Soft Troll's criticism of Modernism was most astute, I think. Pity.

    IMO Joyce, Elliot, Pound, et al were waving through the flames with the signs of the quick decline of the Western Canon, and with it, hope for the future of literature and culture, …(and along came existentialism) Of course, its still with us, it simply remains unnoticed due to the dumbing down of the post-war generations.

    Their work is cabalistic, requiring certain keys and strong determination to find what they were on about, yet it preserves within it the canon itself,in the way Notre Dame contains the keys to the philosopher's stone.

    This is a HUGE oversimplification of course, crucify me gently…

  31. john e mumbles
    john e mumbles April 16, 2012 at 4:57 am | |

    Oh, by the time I posted it was back, thanks ST!

  32. anon #108
    anon #108 April 16, 2012 at 5:08 am | |

    Hi ST,

    Intellectual hubris. OK. That's the down-side of being a clever-dick. But there's an upside too.

    For me, the genius of Ulysees and Finnegans Wake is that they are both books about stuff – the richness of stuff – not merely an assemblage of cryptic puzzles arbitrarily hung on a story, designed to massage the egos of the few clever-dicks who might identify the allusions/solve the puzzles. Joyce's literary devices and stylistic tricks are always used to say something *more* about the thing he's describing.

    And yes, I'm pretty sure that JJ's immortality comment was toungue-in-cheek.

  33. anon #108
    anon #108 April 16, 2012 at 5:24 am | |

    Hi John,

    You wrote: Their work is cabalistic, requiring certain keys and strong determination to find what they were on about…

    I find that's true for Ezra Pound, and to a lesser extent for TS Eliot, but not nearly so much for JJ. I don't know much, and I knew even less when I first made it all the way through Ulysees, but I still found it a profoundly moving and funny book.

  34. john e mumbles
    john e mumbles April 16, 2012 at 6:27 am | |

    Yes, I deleted "sometimes" before the "…requiring certain keys.." bit but should've left that alone, I suppose.

    There's a lot to say about this, and backing it up on topic I for one was appalled at Brad's description of the formulaic editorial critique of HCZ. Thank Jah my editors at Sophia Perennis let al Kimia's lengthy digressions stand! (He mumbled w/ tongue lolling in cheek).

  35. Soft Troll
    Soft Troll April 16, 2012 at 8:17 am | |

    To #108

    Yes, I did spend more time on the downside. For certain, FW and U are not merely 'cryptic puzzles arbitrarily hung on a story'. If they were they'd have been old hat in the literary world at the time of writing and not game changing works.

    I agree about the 'richness of stuff' bit and I would go even further with FW and say that it goes beyond the richness of stuff 'out there' in the world as reified and represented, to a playfulness that incorporates such worldly functions as 'error' into the stuffness of language. The form starts to acknowledge its emptiness, so to speak, in quite a thrilling way at times, and helps to enrich 'out there'.

    As I pointed out, I think there are two kinds of 'difficulty' or challenge that such a writer presents. I don't think that puzzles etc are doomed to be in one or the other, or mistaken per se.

    I do think, though, that Joyce for all his remarkable innovations and successes, and just good old fashioned great writing, was a writer of his time and milieu.

    I don't think one can downplay how a kind of elitist, high-art intellectual hubris burdens that very broad though challenging playfulness.

    In short, modernism can often be exclusive in unnecessary ways, without which there would still be that richness and depth and challenge.

    Everyone in some way is excluded until they have developed, to use John's word, the 'keys' to understanding how to approach challenging literary texts.

    Modernists often fall into inviting the reader, either consciously or unconsciously to feel they should have a certain set of 'keys' that really are the concerns of the intellectuals of the day and what they thought were important and immersed themselves in. Modernist writing can sometimes end up feeding the clever-dick more than the intelligent and curious.

    For me this isn't a case of 'a few
    clever-dicks' but a case of how the whole game for so long has played in part to the clever-dick gallery in everyone, so that less folk get to enjoy and be enriched by the works you and I have. To feel okay about that 'difficulty' and to see genius in the language and not just the person.

    Take my old fav John Ashbery, another playful, prodigious cultural antenna. In 'Daffy Duck Goes To Hollywood' for example, the multiplicty of allusions, puzzles, enigmas, voices and styles are so broad, that the work starts to unmoor itself from an invitation to unlock clues so as to enter the cabal of an exclusive club: his work invites us to let go or puzzle at will, to feel as much at ease or unease with what we don't know or understand, as with what we 'get' or feel we should.

  36. Soft Troll
    Soft Troll April 16, 2012 at 8:17 am | |

    I think with JJ there is still some unease with a truly democratic and open way of approaching the relationship between the so-called high and low aspects of human cultural life, still that desire to play into a monolithic, canonistic tradition or mind-set with its elite clever-dicks. Even though his radicalism, as much as any lauded writer, did much to reconfigure that relationship.

    I think the innovations of later writers allow us, in fact, to read modernists in that more democratic and open way, and without having to look down on those who love their secret doors and passageways, their halls of mirrors and their rarefied intellectual game or their concerns with what they saw often as a world coming apart at the seams, rather than lots of patches coming together in a wonderful babel.

    Yet wonderfully in modernists some of that babel is still there to revel in, no matter how they shape or obscure it to their professors.

    Tongue-in-cheek or not Ashbery said that he wanted "to produce a poem that the critic cannot even talk about." I'm not sure I fully get that, and I don't feel I have to – any more than I have to get a leaf or its cell structure (or convince myself that somehow I have).

    For me, one doesn't have an Ashbery without a Joyce coming first, and a Joyce becomes richer because of an Ashbery.

  37. Soft Troll
    Soft Troll April 16, 2012 at 8:38 am | |

    Typo: the Ashbery poem is 'Daffy Duck in Hollywood' not 'Daffy Duck goes to Hollywood

  38. Harry
    Harry April 16, 2012 at 9:28 am | |

    Funnily enough, Joyce also said he wrote Ulysses for the people of Dublin (all of 'em presumably).

    Don't think he said that quite so tongue-in-cheek.

    Regards,

    H.

  39. anon #108
    anon #108 April 16, 2012 at 10:10 am | |

    Points taken, ST.

    This:

    In short, modernism can often be exclusive in unnecessary ways, without which there would still be that richness and depth and challenge.

    describes well one of my reasons – or rather, justifications – for abandoning experimental/avant-garde music in favour of 'popular' music. Still, I'm grateful, as I imagine you are, that artistic expressions of revolutionary times, places and attitudes are available to us to revisit if and when we fancy.

    Yes, Harry. JJ, it seems, was a genuine, inclusive regular bloke whose writing transcends 'modernism' – a label he despised. That doesn't make him any easier for most folks to read, but what the hey.

  40. john e mumbles
    john e mumbles April 16, 2012 at 1:40 pm | |

    I have an unbridled LOVE of the arcane, the obscure, the patently bizarre, and anything "experimental/avant-garde" but feel like it is an acquired taste.

    Probably one needs a solid footing in the classics to understand "modernity" in order to appreciate "post-modernism" for example, but I agree (with someone above) that art that is good enough will stand the test of time with or without the (marketing) labels.

    Just like everything else, like "Buddhism" for example…

  41. Juergen
    Juergen April 19, 2012 at 5:32 am | |

    Hi Brad,

    when I buy your Audiobook from amazon, where I already have an account, will you get the same provision?

    Regards

  42. Julie
    Julie April 19, 2012 at 5:52 pm | |

    Hey Brad. Here are a couple of reasons I enjoyed Hardcore Zen: I don't want formulaic. I don't want the thing I'm supposed to learn in big bold letters. I just want to read a dude (or dudette) talking about doing this thing called life. Heck, I'd be happy to read the rougher-around-the-edges version of Hardcore Zen. Are you allowed to release that as an ebook, or a massive PDF?

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