Ohaiyo means “good morning” in Japanese. But you knew that. And I’m in Ohio. But maybe you knew that too. Tonight (Sunday March 10, 2013) at 7pm I will be speaking at the Akron Shambhala Center located at 133 Portage Trail Suite 202 Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44221. On Friday Zero Defex played an excellent set (if I do say so myself) at the Spitfire Saloon in Cleveland, Ohio. It’s sad for you that you missed it. But I’m told it will be available on line soon (or perhaps it already is). I’ll try to get the details and post them.
About a week before that I spoke at the Nashville Zen Center. I spent about a week down in Nashville, seeing the Parthenon, going honky tonkin’ and hanging out with my friends Dave and Emma and Claire, and running around town with my dad, who was out there doing some business. Nashville is the Portland of the South.
Next week I will be in Chicago and Milwaukee. The details of the remaining dates on my 2013 Spring Micro Tour are at the end of this blog. Your attendance is mandatory at all of these events. Failure to appear will be noted on your permanent record.
The photo I’ve posted is of Zero Defex signing the contract for the upcoming release of our new album, Caught in a Reflection, which will be available from Revolution Harmony Records on May 4, 2013. We’ve already posted a few videos from the record including our soon-to-be hit single Armageddon.
I’ve got a lot of stuff coming out this year. People keep asking me if I have any new books coming out. The answer is hell yes. In June there will be a new Zen book called There is No God and He is Your Creator from New World Library. I’ll have more info about that when it gets closer to the release of the book. It’s still not quite finished.
In a matter of days you will be able to lay your hands on a copy of my novel Gill Women of the Prehistoric Planet. I wrote it way back in the 20th century, but it’s only now coming to light. The book will be first available in an exclusive special edition available only to readers of this blog and subscribers to the Facebook page I’ve linked to above. That is, if I can work out the technological stuff that makes that happen. Wish me luck!
Back in those days I was working for Tsuburaya Productions and struggling to break free as a writer. I thought I would be a science fiction novelist. But Gill Women is only tangentially science fiction — mostly in terms of the title but it does have some sci-fi elements. It’s more about life in Akron in the 90s and the people I knew there. It’s also about Zen but not in the way that Hardcore Zen (which I began writing almost immediately after) was about Zen. You’ll understand when you read it.
June will also see the release of the documentary movie about me directed by Pirooz Kalayeh. The tentative title is Sit Down and Shut Up. Look for it in theaters everywhere this summer. Well, maybe not everywhere. More likely it’ll play at a few places here and there before getting a DVD release. It ought to be summer blockbuster popcorn movie. But I kinda doubt it will.
In support of all this activity I’ll be doing a tour. I’ve got tentative dates scheduled in Saskatoon, Calgary and Montreal. I’ll be in the UK in the Autumn. If you want me to show up in your town — especially of it’s in the USA where I’ve currently got nothing booked, write me. We’ll talk.
Is there a Zen lesson in all of the above? Probably not. I’m gradually coming to terms with the fact that I will never be able to answer the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I’m more interested in searching out the answer to to the question, “Why not try everything?”
One answer to that is that it’s confusing to others. Most people in my position have a very clear public persona. There is the mold of the “spiritual teacher” and they find their way by fitting into that mold as best they can while adding little personal embellishments to it. Like, “I’m a spiritual teacher who rides a Harley” or “I’m a spiritual teacher with a big ol’ afro” or what-have-you. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact I often wish I could do it myself. It is a much more sensible approach to take when marketing. And it probably makes life more orderly for them.
Me, I feel like spiritual teacher is just one of the things I do. If “spiritual teacher” is even the right term for it. Which I’m not even so sure about. I also write novels. I act. I play bass. I do a whole bunch of stuff. None of it exceedingly well. But that doesn’t bother me a whole lot. I just enjoy it for what it is.
The thing the world seems to want most from me is spiritual teacher (for want of a better term). So I tend to devote more of my time and energy to that than to the other stuff. Maybe I ought to dive head first into that role and forget everything else. But I don’t think so. I tend to believe that not devoting myself 100% to playing the role of “spiritual teacher” may also be part of what the world wants from me.
2013 Spring Micro Tour
• March 10th (Sunday) 7:00 pm AKRON, OH – Akron Shambhala Center 133 Portage Trail, Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44221
• March 13th (Wednesday) 7:00 pm CHICAGO, IL – Zen Buddhist Temple of Chicago, 608 Dempster St., Evanston (near the Dempster Purple Line station). The event goes from 7-9pm.
• March 17th (Sunday) 10:20 am MILWAUKEE, WI – Milwaukee Zen Center 2825 N. Stowell Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53211-3775 My talk will start at 10:20 am but come at 9:30 am if you want to sit zazen with me too.
• April 26-28 ZEN RETREAT AT MOUNT BALDY ZEN CENTER F0r more info or to sign up, click here. No groping.
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Donations to support the tour will be gleefully accepted.