Monday, February 2, 2009

Zen Golf

I had the very good fortune of having dinner with Sherman Alexie and a few other people tonight. Mr. Alexie is an enormously talented, funny, humane, intelligent man, who also likes basketball and big laughter.

I was talking with a friend after the dinner, and he said, "You write--a lot"--referring to my blog, etc. I told him, "Yes, but unlike you, I'm unimpeded by being smart."(This fellow won a MacArthur "Genius" Grant, so I wasn't indulging in flattery.) I thought that was a pretty good line: If I were smarter, I probably wouldn't write as much. Reflection might get in the way.

Back to Alexie: what impresses me about his intelligence is its flexibility. He's interested in . . . everything. That's actually more a characteristic of a poet than a novelist, in my opinion. Novelists tend to ge most interested in things that follow a certain deep channel. Poets will go up and down any creek.

Back to the friend: He has a great idea for a Zen-related novel set in Seattle. I shall try to induce him to write it.

In the meantime, a wee Zen poem:

Zen Golf
Bow to the ball. Apologize
in advance for striking it.
Hit it with your favorite
club in any direction.
It's all a Hole out there--
the course, the world,
reality. Therefore, you
can't not hit a hole in one.
Going dualistic for a moment,
the bad news is that no one
keeps score. Even if someone
did count the strokes, there's
nothing to win. Good news
on the dualistic scale: You're
outside, the club in your hand
gleams, a bird craps on a
rich man's head, and . . . .

Copyright 2009 Hans Ostrom
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