Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The air on Los Angeles was burning. The sky is still reddish grey with smoke and chemical particultes that infiltrated our lungs. On Sunday I stood on the Venice piers watching the Malibu fire climbing up a ridge.

The fires and the Santa Ana winds set the air on fire. Walking outside felt like stepping into a stove. My sinus ached and bled from each chemical infused breath. We are being warned to avoid outside activity into next week.

Such is life in the land of earthquakes and fire...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Finishing the AT

On August 28, 2003 I completed the 2,169 mile Appalachian Trail. I began the trip in September of 2003, hiking approximately 500 miles from Spring Mountain, Georgia, to Mount Katahdin, Maine. I went to school for a semester, and returned to finish the remainder. During the last leg I usually hiked at least 25 miles a day. My brother was getting married August 30, and school had begun on the 27th.

I awoke at 5 am at the base of Katahdin. About 10 other hikers and I scrambled up the granite boulders of Katahdin. During the trip my daydreams had been filled with thoughts of standing upon Katahdin at the trip's completion. As I scrambled above the treeline, a storm had enveloped the mountain. The 30 mile an hour gusts gave the hail a horizontal trajectory.

I reached Thoreau spring, a mile from the summit, and came to grips with the fact that my summit moment would be accompanied by a hail storm. I was overcome with tears, and began the final push to the summit. The wind roared in my ears, drowning out all but thoughts. 100 yards from the summit one particular gust tore the cloud cover from the mountain, revealing the craggy summit that was the Northern Terminus.

The above picture captures my life's greatest moment.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Story And Its Relation To The Yogi

What is the origin of our creative pulse? What are we seeking to accomplish when we write? In the past I thought of writing as a dialectic, a way of placing unresolved issues on the table for the purpose of putting me at ease. I could find a middle ground in a mind shaken by competitive emotions and compulsions.

Over the past two years I have taken to the yoga path. Rather seeing the world from a polemical point of view, the yogi sees the union of all. Struggle ceases as everything is accepted. Also, the yogi views the mind as a tool rather than the core of the true self.

So where does story fit into this? If the story is about reconciling our disparate emotions, what does one write about when one is in ecstacy with themselves and all of creation? The Siri Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh scripture that presents the formula for escaping from our problematic take on our existence, has seemingly little logical structure or story. It is present a few core teachings that largely lack the elaborate cultural coding of other scriptures.

Perhaps the story is unique to the Kali Yuga, the time of separation between man and God. When the people of the earth realize that they are taken care of by the creator, will there be a need for a fictional dialectic to aid in explaining our surroundings and reason for being here?

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Creativity of the Immobile

What does one write about when one settles in a routine? I ask myself this question as I find myself in the ninth month of office life. My writing is voluminous when I travel. Some aspect of the journey, of the experience of the new, elicits new thoughts and a need to record them.

But here in LA I remain immobile. I work five days a week at a nondescript office job. Three weeknights are filled with yoga class. Two and a half hours every morning are dedicated to yoga. While I am content, few startling or exciting thoughts enter my mind.

My travels have been the main source of my inspiration, and as I approach a year since having left the country, I must find other sources.