(Originally published on March 7, 2008)
Zen and the Art of the only book I’ve not been able to finish reading, twice
There are so many places I could have gone with this title.
Zen and the Art of Being a Pretentions AssNubbin
Zen and the Art of Stabbing Out My Own Eyes
Zen and the Art of Pointless Repeated Rambling Oh God Make It Stop
Zen and the Art of This is the Book That Never Ends, It Just Goes on and on My Friends
So the other thing in addition to this that’s been making me think a lot of where I was in my early 20’s is that I’ve been trying to reread a book I was reading then, which I could never finish.
I would read about 20 pages, and stop. And think. Think about quality. Think about relationships. Think about how thinking can make you crazy. Think about how smart I must have looked, a hot young thing in her early twenties, reading such a heady book—and a dog-eared copy at that (thank you, Friends of the Library Book Sale). I would think about how brilliant and impassioned my friends were, for they had all read this book and they all had Great Thoughts and Important Things to Say, and my lord weren’t we all just the shit?! We would smoke pot and drink cheap beer and stay up until 3 in the morning debating Great World Issues like politics and religion and sexuality and how Society Was Evil for Putting Labels on Everything and basically how we were all going to Make a Change If We Could Ever Get Our Stoned Asses Off the Couch (and if you did get off the couch, could you please get the rest of us some chips, thanks).
But I could never finish the book. I told myself it was because it was too intense. It was too deep, that I wasn’t ready for it yet, that maybe I needed certain life experiences before My Soul Would Be Ready for Knowledge.
Now I realize, after trying to read it again, that it’s full of insufferable prattling, and I couldn’t finish reading it because it was just So Ungodly Awful.
I apologize now, if this is your favorite book; if you read it and it changed your life or opened new vistas for you or if you actually bought a motorcycle and drove across the country with a beat-up copy of it in your back pocket at all times. Obviously you are more spiritually enlightened than I am, and I bow in your shadow, Pretentious McCrazypants.
I bought the book on tape, thinking that maybe it would be better, HAHAHAHA wrong. And this is so funny I have to blog it: I was walking the dog the other morning, listening to the portion I had downloaded, and the author is going on and on (and on) about how Quality is neither in the mind nor in the object, and my eyes were glazing over… and then there was a pause in the “action” and the narrator said, “Chapter 22.” Yes, I had downloaded Part Two. And apparently I listened to 45 minutes before I figured that out. HAHAHAHAHAH! I rock.
I downloaded Part One, listened to about an hour, and gave up in frustration. Clearly my brain has not grown philosophically enough to appreciate this book.
Posted by Lorena on 03/07 at 10:53 AM in Personal, Navel Gazing
(Original comments are after the cut…)
I’m not even sure I know which book you’re talking about, so I’m sure I haven’t read it. And I’m really OK with that.
Posted by Finn on March 07, 2008 at 12:05 PM | #
OK, I looked it up. And could not even finish reading the description of it. *yawn*
Posted by Finn on March 07, 2008 at 12:08 PM | #
I’ve attempted like 5 times, approximately every 5 years. I am totally with you. Good if you want to put yourself to sleep.
Posted by Squidwidget on March 07, 2008 at 03:10 PM | #
A boyfriend in the past tried to convince me it was the best book ever. I *think* I read it. But I clearly have forgotten about it.
Posted by jacquieblackman on March 07, 2008 at 04:46 PM | #
Hmmm. Zen and the art of forgetfullness. All I remember about it was the description of the road right under your eyes when riding. And that is a sort of scary thing if you’re looking, as a passenger, at 70 or so mph. We hope the driver isn’t looking quite that closely. I guess I missed the main zen point of the book, which might be the point. All I can say about motorcycles is, Thank goodness bike week ends today and I can venture out again to the shopping center across from biker heaven, an impossible place to go for the past week or 10 days. And I still haven’t seen coleslaw wrestling. And the bar that had pudding wrestling closed last month. I almost missed the sound of their bands playing so loud I could hear them 4 miles away. What a loss to the community. That’s what motorcycles mean to me. It’s zen, baby, yeah.
Posted by alicesenior on March 09, 2008 at 09:12 AM | #
Y’all don’t know how glad I am that it’s not just me not being able to read the book.
Posted by Lorena on March 12, 2008 at 11:06 PM | #