New page. I have added a page called “Articles” on the top bar. Many of the pieces on this blog are really more like essays or articles than blog posts. So, I will package them nicely and create pdf files that you can download and print out. Now, light your pipe, and read at leisure.
New Tagline. I’ve changed the blog tagline to “creative criticism” to better capture what I am up to here. The basic idea of creative criticism is summed up by Camelia Elias* at EyeCorner Press, who speaks of “promoting … writing with an edge,” and encouraging “works that engage with rigorous thinking, but which are yet informed by a creative style, and irreverent approaches to literature, culture, and philosophy.” (And, need I add, buddhism?)
e-journal. Speaking of creative criticism, I am creating a new e-journal with the aim of fostering and disseminating creative writing that uses buddhist materials. I need your support and input. Here’s the idea. Then, what you can do.
Idea. When people hear the term “creative writing,” they typically think of poems and short stories and novels. That’s not what I mean. I mean word blood. I mean injecting vitalizing language into anemic buddhistic discourse. The main concern of the e-journal is to explore the subject in fresh terms. And that can be done—indeed, is often best done—without (necessarily) following the conventions of “good” writing. Unlike its well-behaved brethren—academic books and journals and informed blogs—the e-journal will host writing that is not afraid to hiss and spit.
Creative writing—word blood—plunges deeply into the well of human being. Bile of enmity rouses it no less than ecstasy of love. It says, along with Terence (the second-century Roman playwright): “I am a human being; nothing human can be alien to me.” Another goal of the e-journal: broaden the spectrum of permissible emotion in buddhistic discourse.
What you can do. During this phase of conception, you can give me your feedback and ideas. What should the e-journal be called? Is it something you’d like to get involved with? In what capacity? Most importantly, you can begin to submit your writing. Remember, there are no rules. Forget about “genre.” Length is immaterial. A paragraph can be as rich as a book. Better yet, how about a fragment? Something broken? Or a stammer? Make up a critiku (critical haiku) or critiverse. Rewrite a sutta/sutra/tantra. Make one up. Be shamelessly autobiographical. Have the Buddha do stand-up. Let loose the howl of an unshackled x-buddhist/non-buddhist/unbuddhist/anti-buddhist. Unbind, goddamit.
Oh, better yet! Err. Be a fool. Make a spectacle of yourself. Dance. Sing. Gurgle. Yowl.
Wondering about topics? Imagine the Great Feast of Knowledge. Escort Buddhism there, if you like. Sit down and allow tradition to converse with whomever you fancy—poetry, culinary arts, philosophy, biology; schizoanalysis, anarchism, punk, death. It really doesn’t matter, as long as you’re lost in the conversation. Write it up in whatever form you see fit. It really doesn’t matter, as long as it lives, breathes, shits—and bleeds.
Anyone who would like to contribute, please either respond directly as a comment (=preferred, since it’s shared) or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
* For inspiration and some guidance, I can think of no better words than Camelia Elias’s interview on Biblioklept.
Painting: Mark Rothko (1903-1970), “Red-Orange,” 1968. Source.