A friend gave me a Zen desk calendar, probably in hopes of inspiring me every day. It's one of those blocky-types that displays one day per sheet, along with a quotation or saying that embraces all things Zen.
I love philosophy, and I love my friend, but for nine months this calendar has been pissing me off just about every day. It makes no sense. None. I don't get it. I've even saved some of the sayings and asked people. They don't get it either. For example:
January 8: "I know what the great cure is: it is to give up, to relinquish, to surrender, so that our little hearts may beat in unison with the great heart of the world." -- Henry Miller
Giving up as a great cure. Sure. Somebody IM Sean Lindsay, will you? This is right up his alley.
February 2: "The night light is sooty -- a cold evening of snow." -- Etsujin
Sooty snow? Black snow? What?
February 18: "Do not linger about where the Buddha is, and where he is not, pass on." -- Zen saying
I swear, this was ripped off from that Go to Jail card from Monopoly. You know, do not pass Go, do not collect $200....
March 6: "Your soul isn't in your body; your body is in your soul!" -- Alan Watts
So tell me, does this skirt make my soul look big?
August 5: "When a man is instantly awakened, he comes back to his original mind." -- The Vimalakirti Sutra
When a man is instantly awakened, he usually has to take a whiz. Oh, wait, I get it now. Never mind.
August 18: "The whole world is you. Yet you keep thinking there is something else." -- Hsueh-Feng
If I'm the whole world, then who are all these other people? For that matter, who the heck are you?
I decided that next year I'm going to make my own Zen calendar. A Writer Zen calendar, because if anyone needs some Zen that works, it's us. Here are some of the sayings that I'm planning to put on mine:
January 1: While you sit and ponder the universe outside your window, I am mailing off my book proposal to your editor.
March 15: Your novel, it dwells in Library of Congress. Hatchet job review, it dwells on HenParty.com. All is where it should be.
June 30: There, in your plot, a hole. See? Fix.
July 23: Where there is Hugo, Rita or Edgar, do not go. Where there is mystery chicken, do not eat. Where there is agent, editor, and cheap alcohol, do not drink.
September 6: They don't all hate you. Go and write.
September 7: Maybe two hate you. But only two, I promise. Could you write now?
September 8: All right. Fine. They all hate you. I hate you. Happy? Now go write something, or tomorrow we'll start talking about why we hate you.
Now it's your turn -- what saying would you put on your Writer Zen calendar?