Well, I thought about…

Well, I thought about writing a story today, but eventually decided against it. Too many other things to do -- some grading, some cleaning, a bunch of CS stuff, a reading to attend. I think this one will be a long one, so I want to have eight hours uninterrupted time free when I start it. Also just not in a fictional mood today; it comes and goes, and while I appreciate the need for discipline, I also know better than to try to force it; I just get crap when I do that.

I am pleased that I spent much of yesterday researching, though. In the process of plotting out the story in my head I realized that at least some of it will be affected by the character's buddhism, and that I didn't know enough about the religion (especially as practiced in Sri Lanka, where the story takes place) to write it properly. So I started researching, taking notes from several different books. In the process, I realized that his buddhism was more and more integral to the story; at this point, I don't think I could write the piece without exploring it, which is interesting. I wonder if living here is making more aware of the place of religion in many people's lives...

Ever wonder what a writer's research notes look like? Here's a sample of mine -- they're a mess!



Sri Lanka - Theravada Buddhism (School of the Elders; conservative,
traditional)

The Discipline became the guiding principle of an established religion, of
a nation 'at prayer', majority of people are Sinhalese Buddhists

unrelenting in asceticism, retiring from the world but unequivocal in
moral judgements

the world including all its heavens and hells is a place of suffering, if
for no other reason than that its joys are transient and all lives
(including those in heaven) end in decay and death; into this arena of
suffering all creatures are constantly reborn in an endless cycle

what binds one to the treadmill is desire

desire rests ona false perception of our condition, a perception intuitive
but wrong

we think we have some enduring essence (soul) which is the subject of our
experiences

the self is nothing but a bundle of physical and mental constitutents kept
going by cdesire

it is desire alnoe which leads to rebirth, for there is really no self to
be reborn no substantial entity which could pass from one life to another
gnosis is to realize this and behave accordingly

to eliminate desire and attain salvation we must purify our minds
first stage is ethical: we must restrain our appetities and be kind, both
to ourselves and others

since there is no self, there is no basis for selfishness, the buddhist
aims to love without attachment and hence to love all equally
follow his example and renounce the world

free from social and  family ties, and from the need to earn a living,
they should devote themselves to a life of meditation

monastic order; shed all social ties, including families

for alayman to attain salvatio is virtually impossible; just not
practically feasible

cocnerned only with salvation, defined as escape from cycle of rebirth
no objection to Christian veneration of Jesus, denying only that one's
stay in heaven can be forever and that one can be saved by God


As you can see, I'm not overly concerned with spelling/typos when taking notes; I usually have the book propped open in front of me and my hands on the keyboard; I don't think I glanced at the screen more than twice during the whole process (the finished notes are about four times as long as the above). Interesting stuff; learned a lot.

Anyway, I should get back to work -- just one more thing before I go. I've started putting together a page with CS ads, so that those lovely people who have home pages and want to support CS can do so with grace and easy. If you're interested, please stop by there and steal an ad to use on your own pages, with a link to CS. Much appreciated!

I also spent some time streamlining my stories page today -- I'm not sure why. Feeling finicky, I guess. Should get in a more relaxed mood before I start grading or my students will suffer.

Oh, and I finished that Donaldson book. Interesting -- the first one is basically a novella; clever, slightly repulsive, lacking the depth I've come to expect from him -- but his detailed afterword is fascinating for any writer or anyone interested in how some writers think, and makes me think that the rest of the series will be rather more substantial. Hmmm....

3:20. Well, Paul's reading was great -- that's the second story of his I've heard, and I've liked them both a lot! Gonna be fun being in the program with him! Other than that, I've watered the plants, done some laundry, moved some papers around, organized my todo list, worked through a whole bunch of e-mail (only 18 messages left!!!) and have thoroughly avoided grading. Sigh. Okay -- reward. If I do the grading tonight, instead of putting it off to tomorrow morning, I get to watch a video tonight. Otherwise, no. Let's see if that works. (But there's still dishes and more laundry to procrastinate with...)

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