KingMidget's Ramblings

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Breakfast with Buddha

I get to blog tonight!  You may be asking yourself how this can be in light of my most recent posts about trying to limit myself here.  You may also be thinking hmmm, ‘get to’ sounds somewhat like a privilege.  You would be right about the privilege thing — I need to think of it that way.  A privilege I need to earn.

Maybe you read my very last post — For Zoe — the one about a certain door being opened yesterday at a writing workshop.

It didn’t just open, it was blown open.  Since then, I’ve written 3,000 words on The Irrepairable Past.  I don’t remember the last time I was able to write that many words in a twenty-four hour period.  There’s more to come.  I know what’s coming on the portion I’m working on.  I know how it’ll end.  And, once I finish this chunk, I’ll be able to get back to the three intervening chapters I haven’t touched yet.  It’s a damn incredible feeling.

So, here’s what I want to share with you tonight.  One of my best blogging friends, Olivia O’Bryon, told me about a book a few days ago  Breakfast with Buddha by Roland Merullo.  She read it and thought it seemed comparable to Weed Therapy, my as-yet-unpublished novel, based on my descriptions of the story.

Amazon delivered it a couple of days ago and I’ve been reading it ever since.  And doing something I never do, particularly with fiction.  I’m underlining passages and making notes in the margin.  There are these rare books that strike a deep chord with me.  Everything Matters did it.  So did The Art of Racing in the Rain.  I have this feeling Breakfast with Buddha will be added to the list.  Here’s the first passage I underlined:

What’s the point of all this? would be putting the question too crudely, but it was something along those lines.  All this striving and aggravation, all these joys and miseries, all this busyness, all this stuff — a thousand headlines, a hundred thousand conversations, emails, meetings, tax returns, warranties, bills, privacy notices, ads for Viagra, calls for donations, election cycles, war in the news every day, trips to the dump with empty wine bottles, fillings and physicals, braces and recitals, Jeanne’s moods, my moods, the kids’ moods, soccer tournaments, plumber bills, sitcom characters, oil changes, wakes, weddings, watering the flowerbeds — all of this, I started to ask myself, leads exactly where?  To a smashed-up Buick on a country highway?  And then what?  Paradise?

You want to talk about the question and conversation that has filled my head for years and continues to do so more and more and more.  In the quiet hours of the morning.  In the hustle and bustle of the work day.  While I’m alone in my car or out on my bike.  When I’m in a room full of people, listening to three different conversations but participating in none of them.  While my kids tell me of their day.  While my wife chatters on about her this and her that.

It’s right there … is this it?  Is this the point?  Is this why I do all that I do?  Is this the limit of where and who I will be?  The author of Breakfast with Buddha hit the nail on the head.  I feel like I live the ordinary and I ache for something more.  I want, no, I need, that more.  It’s right there, just outside of my reach, and I keep wondering if I’ll ever grasp it and pull it to me and live incredibly.

There are many more underlined passages I’m going to use as jumping off points for a post here, but this is the first.

What do you think?  What’s the point of what you do?  Does there need to be a point?  What does all that we are add up to in the end?  And do we even have the ability to change the calculation?

You want to talk about a book that is in my head, it’s Breakfast with Buddha.  Pretty stunning thing to read a book that lays out on almost every page a thought I have, in almost the same words as I do.


10 responses to “Breakfast with Buddha

  1. Carrie Rubin March 18, 2013 at 8:42 am

    That ever-popular question–“What’s it all for?” I envy those who never feel the need to ask it, but I suspect most people do. That book sounds interesting. I’ll have to go check it out.

  2. Help Me Help Holly ♥ March 18, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Sounds like a book after my heart, off to order it now! I feel like everyone must ask that question at some point in their lives. And for some, they either accept that what they have is what they will always have/be, and are happy with that, but others, like myself, and obviously you, strive for more. Are positive there must be more, that we will be more. Like you, I want to be incredible. I used to think that would one day be through my writing, but now I’m wondering if the most important thing I will ever do, the wonderful legacy that I will leave, is Holly.

    • kingmidget March 18, 2013 at 1:04 pm

      This gets to what I think my next blog post will be about. What does living incredibly mean? Maybe it’s a moving object. Maybe it’s such a huge question for me now because I’m at a crossroads. My kids are teenagers approaching college. They don’t need me the same way they used to. I know that when they were Holly’s age that was all the “incredible” I could take. 🙂

  3. Kathy March 18, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    Yes they do. It’s just in a different form. Your magical power as a father just changes from being needed to being wanted (but absolutely always being needed, trust me). You’ve always been wanted, but as you know, want takes different forms throughout your life. I don’t believe you’re at the crossroads with your kids.

    • kingmidget March 18, 2013 at 8:09 pm

      Actually, I think it’s the other way around these days. They still need me, they just don’t want me. Particularly the oldest. My point in my prior comment was that when they were younger living incredibly meant experiencing their world and being their father and doing all those things. The crossroads is that I no longer live for them and through them and with them. It’s a natural thing. It’s not bad. But, if that stage of living incredibly is over … well, what’s next?

  4. oliviaobryon March 18, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    You’ve inspired me to pick back up the Art of Racing in the Rain. It’s sitting on my dresser, abandoned for other reads. I will make a real go at it this time, thank you. 😀

    PS. My favorite scene in Breakfast with Buddha is when he does yoga. Such a perfect explanation of what it feels like in the beginning…

    • kingmidget March 18, 2013 at 8:13 pm

      Haven’t got to the yoga scene yet.
      Everything Matters was a book that I rolled along with for about 75% of the story. Then, all of a sudden there was a shift in it and the last 25% of the book just blew me away. I can’t begin to express what that last portion did to me. There are lines and ideas in it that are just … There’s a paragraph in it that will always be my most favorite words from a story. Ever.
      The thing about The Art of Racing in the Rain is that it hit me in a different way. First I had to get past the idea that the narrator was a dog, but once I did, there were these observations the dog made about human relationships that were so spot on it was ridiculous. Almost every chapter had a line or two, or an entire passage, where I was nodding my head, thinking “exactly.” It is a story that will leave you in tears, but considering how much of a dog lover you are, you just have to read it. If you do, let me know what you think.

  5. butimbeautiful March 19, 2013 at 12:17 am

    Maybe I should read Breakfast with Buddha.There is no real point to what I do, just to be the best me I can be. Of course, it matters (to me) that I try to give my kids a good start, and fulfil all my responsibilities to dogs, cat, pony, family, etc etc etc. But ultimately it’s all about me. This is the me generation after all isn’t it? Mind you, if I don’t write, I start feeling very meaningless.

    • kingmidget March 19, 2013 at 7:02 am

      Actually, trying to be the best me I can has what it has always been about for me. That’s part of the meaning part of living incredibly. But there seems to be something missing in the equation of what makes up the best me.

  6. Pingback: Breakfast with Buddha | butimbeautiful

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