I’m sitting in Oslo airport, where I’ve been for the past… um… five hours? Has it been six hours? I’m not really sure.
I departed from LAX at 8:30pm on the night of Sunday May 26th. According to my watch it is now about 8:45pm here in Norway. My phone tells me that the date is Monday, May 27th. Although the clocks tell me over 24 hours have passed, I know that’s not right. I think it’s been about fifteen hours.
The flight over Canada and Greenland was particularly painful for me. Physically painful. High altitudes always play havoc on my guts. This time was about the worst it’s ever been. At times it felt like my entire digestive tract was about to burst out of my body like in the movie Alien.
Plus I was stuffed into a cramped economy seat that would only have been comfortable for a small child. And there was a crazy lady two rows behind me singing Queen’s Crazy Little Thing Called Love loudly and tunelessly when she wasn’t hooting.
It was not a good flight. I watched three episodes of Family Guy, and read a few chapters of 10 Billion Days and 100 Billion Nights by Ryu Mitsuse. It’s a very epic science fiction novel. I’m reading it in English. I might try reading it in Japanese when I finish the English version. We shall see. Jesus, Buddha, Plato, and Maitreya are all characters in it. And it begins with Earth coalescing from cosmic dust. Someday I want to write something that epic.
Oh, and when I arrived I discovered that what was supposed to have been a four hour layover in Oslo was now a six and a half hour layover in Oslo. So there’s that too.
It may not be quite as epic as the novel I’ve been reading, but I’ve just received the final edited version of my forthcoming book Letters to a Dead Friend About Zen. It’s actually pretty damned epic for a book of mine, if I do say so myself. I have one last chance to make minor corrections before it goes to the printers. The release date is set for early October.
I’m starting my 2019 European Tour in a few days (info and links below). My new book is based on a diary I kept while traveling through Europe a few years ago when two friends that I’d known since high school were back in America dying of cancer, and the brother of another close friend died suddenly and unexpectedly at age 36 from an undiagnosed heart condition.
The book is constructed as if it is a series of letters to those two dead friends, who I have combined into one somewhat fictionalized friend. I’m ostensibly writing letters to them in the World Beyond while I travel through Europe. Each letter is from a different city I visited while on tour.
In a sense, then, the book takes place in cities across Europe. And because I always do an audiobook version of my books, I’ve decided to try something experimental with this one. Instead of just doing normal lectures to the audiences on this tour, I will be reading chapters of the new book in the cities that the “letters” are supposedly written from. Or as near to those cities as I can manage.
I bought myself a new digital recorder and borrowed a couple of microphones. If the recordings come out good enough, I’ll use them for the audiobook version. I always do a Q&A session after I give a talk, and I plan to include the Q&A’s in the audiobook. So the audiobook will contain some bonuses that won’t be in the printed version. You should really get both — mainly because I could use the money, but also because I think the two versions taken together will form an interesting composite.
I’m really hoping this will be my final tour of Europe. I’m getting too old for this kind of stuff. I was already too old for it five years ago, to be honest. I’ve been thinking about why some people in positions like mine charge so much to lead retreats or do lectures.
For some of them it’s simple greed. But sometimes I think that if I am to continue doing this sort of thing, I really need to find a more tolerable way. If I started charging more for my services, I could afford to travel business class and hire an assistant to travel with me and take care of the logistics. I could also stay in hotels rather than crashing in people’s apartments. I’d probably end up taking in the same amount of money for myself, which is always just slightly more than it costs to get over here and get around. But at least I wouldn’t be shaving years off my life with the stress of travel.
I’ve traveled a whole lot in my life. I was seven when we moved to Nairobi. While we were there, my dad found every opportunity he could to take us to see the world. The company offered him what they called “home leave” every six months. But instead of going back to Akron, Ohio, he took us all over Europe and Africa. He wasn’t getting paid extravagantly by Firestone, so we always traveled cheap. I’m forever grateful for how he made that happen, and I stand in awe of his accomplishments just getting it all together.
Then I moved to Japan when I was 29 and traveled a whole lot during the eleven years I was over there. Even so, I’m not a hardy traveler. Maybe I was at one time. But now I’d rather stay at home and be bored than see the sights the big wide world has to offer. I have literally been there and done that when it comes a great deal of places on this planet. Sure, it’s always new. But, then again, so is Glendale.
I hope my plane to Helsinki will be boarding soon. Signing off now.
Smell ya later!
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IT CAME FROM BEYOND ZEN and SEX SIN AND ZEN are now available as audiobooks from Audible.com! You can also get Don’t Be a Jerk, Hardcore Zen, Sit Down and Shut Up and There is No God and He is Always With You in audio form — all read by me, Brad Warner!
May 29, 2019 Turku, Finland TALK and MOVIE SCREENING at 6pm at Bar O
May 30-June 2, 2019 RETREAT Hämeenlinna, Finland (register at THIS LINK)
June 4, 2019 TALK Vienna, Austria
June 6, 2019 TALK Vienna, Austria (more information soon)
June 7, 2019 TALK Prague, Czech Republic
June 8, 2019 RETREAT Prague, Czech Republic
June 12-16, 2019 DOMICILIUM RETREAT near Munich, Germany
June 19-23, 2019 BENEDIKTUSHOF RETREAT near Wurzburg, Germany
June 24/25, 2019 TALK Nijmegen, Netherlands
June 29-July 2, 2019 HEBDEN BRIDGE RETREAT, England
July 4, 2019 TALK in London, England
ALL THESE EVENTS TAKE PLACE WHETHER I’M THERE OR NOT.
Every Monday at 7:30pm there’s zazen at Angel City Zen Center (NEW TIME, NEW PLACE!) 2526 Kent Street, Los Angeles, CA, 90026 Beginners only!
Every Saturday at 10:00 am there’s zazen at the Angel City Zen Center (NEW PLACE!) 2526 Kent Street, Los Angeles, CA, 90026 Beginners only!
These on-going events happen every week even if I am away from Los Angeles. Plenty more info is available on the Dogen Sangha Los Angeles website, dsla.info
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