Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Nepal by Districts

This is a great map from Nepal's Election Commission. map by districts

I'm using the map to think through where I want to set Hara Shankar. It needs to be in the Terrai of course, but otherwise I'm not sure. I have three ideas.
a.) On the boarder of India because of the Indian influence. Also, the boarder towns were the driest places I experienced.
b.) Somewhat near Chitwan National Forest. Where there would have definately have been jungle at one point.
c.) Closer to the hills. Could see the outline of the himals in the distance.

By the way, I lived in Lamjung district above Beshishahar.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

108 Sun Salutations for the solstice

I went to an interesting class at Yoga Shala last night. 108 sun salutations for the summer solstice. Actually, I didn't complete all 108 because I did a few variations in there, but for the most part, I tried to keep the rhythm going for the entire two hours. I wanted to flow into the sun, the feel the energy of summer radiate from my core. But, with all the running I've been doing I took a pragmatic look about half way through and realized that I could also get some much needed stretching in too. The balance between the plan--aka do the entire 108--and the inspiration--hey I could get a good pigeon stretch in right now. Each solstice I learn a bit more about myself. I heard, and more importantly paid attention to, the message that I need to let go of the plan. When I joined the Peace Corps, the PC macho phrase resonated too well in my New English rugged individualist soul. I have softened. I really have. But I also have hardened. Balance. Be nice. To myself and to my world. I repeated these mantras as I dipped down into each forward bend-that would be 216 forward bends, if all had been completed.

I put the number 108 in the first paragraph of my second novel. It's a good number with meaning in Hinduism and Buddhism. It is round and rolls of the tongue. And the number enabled me to stay in the yoga room for two hours feeling a rhythm and just being present with my breath. That in itself is of sparkling importance.

Friday, June 20, 2008


A Lovely poem by Byron

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal.
I love the last two lines because that is what it feels like to stand in nature and realize the diminutive nature of our lives.

I'm realizing that nature and ghosts infuse my writing. It could be that I grew up in the woods and my grandmother instilled in me an awe of spirits. I spent much of my childhood silent standing in nature trying to hear her breathe. Now, as an adult, I need to stop and listen more. Perhaps that is what writing is to me. Tonight after I worked out I decided to do my stretching in the club's hottub. I don't know how long it took me to realize that I had been stretching over my leg for an indeterminate period of time completely traveling down a scene in my novel, watching it rather than my environment. I get lost in thought like that a lot when I'm not "on duty" either with work or my daughter. And when I'm in nature I'm lost.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


In Shaw's The Importance of Being Earnest, the irresponsible main character, Algernon, creates a fictional friend named Bunbury who is always "getting sick" and calling him to the country, thus freeing Algernon to explore. Algernon tells his friend who has a secret life in the city, "What you really are is a Bunburyist. I was quite right in saying you were a Bunburyist. You are one of the most advanced Bunburyists I know." I am an unabashed bunburyist. I realized this today as I was tooling around the streets of downtown Portland while my daughter was in theater camp. I'm happiest when I'm clicking down unknown paths, watching, searching, bunburying. Today I walked all over the Pearl district, poked my head into stores, listened to conversation, tromped down busy streets, residential areas, and construction sites. When I lived overseas that's what I did most weekends, I wore through the soles of most of my shoes. Now that I have a child, I don't wander as much as I used to, particularly because Coranna hates to go on walks. But when I do, I feel whole, right, in my own skin. I can't put it on my resume, but I'm really good at bunburying.

I suppose it is no accident that my first novel would be a journey. I don't travel much any longer except in my writing and in reading. That's fine because I know I'm tilling the soil for my daughter, but it is strange for a milkweed to land and take root. I guess how else could you grow other milkweeds.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

It's been awhile

I haven't written in a couple weeks--the longest I've gone. Blame my silence on the end of the school year. Sometimes it takes superhuman effort to pull me through the thick seaweed of tasks and obligations, but I can see the open ocean up ahead and I'm smiling at the sight. Just one more week, and then I'll do a Kirtan to clear my head, and drift into my summer. Spend lot's of quality time with Coranna, get caught up with some old friends too. I also plan on upping my workout times and running distances. I want to hit some trails and get to ten miles by July. And I will write. Write. Write. Write. And lastly, I need to think. I experienced a lot of change this last year and I really need to reorient myself. I've been looking at some of the Buddhist centers near me, and I think it is time to go back to meditation. Still my mind so that I can think more clearly, really figure out what I need to be doing with my life. It is difficult to listen to your soul when you're racing between appointments.