Alrighty, then

Joko Beck standing next to her teacher Maezumi Roshi.



As I describe in my first post, I was hypnotized a couple months ago to quit smoking. I was (am?) a very  light smoker, but attached to it nonetheless. Well, what started as one drag, turned into one butt, and then last weekend, T and I spent a night in the city sans our daughter, at the Royalton, then delighting in the tasting menu at Babbo, including the wines. I was wearing heels. I needn’t say more, and yet….

There’s more.

Last week, just in time for our night on the town, I got final word from “my agent,” or rather, her assistant (I still haven’t heard from her personally), that the third of the three editors who had Non-fiction Book Proposal #3 passed on it. The title of the book is Who I am Right Now: The Story of Charlotte Joko Beck, Studying Myself, and Living American Zen. It is part biography of Joko, who died at 94 last year, part my own story of finding her teaching, and then Zen, and part history of Zen in America. A book I am dying to write, but more importantly, to read.

One editor found it too narrow, the other not well written enough, the other thought Joko was not bio-worthy. Last week there was this in the NYT about some middle-aged dude talking about how Buddhism is the fourth-largest religion in the US, and how cool it is. And the fact that his article is on the list of most emailed is not surprising to me, but apparently, I just didn’t hit the sweet spot with the editors. While one editor liked the personal take part, the other didn’t. In any case, I worked my ass off on this thing for about a year, interviewed tons of people, and got myself all in a tizzy. With wanting. Wanting to dive in to the topic, wanting to just dive in….to a writing  project that will sustain me and excite me and teach me. And with wanting the world to love me enough to give me a chance! The proverbial nod from the universe: Go ahead. Do it.

Of course I can still write about Joko, about the challenges of spiritual life. And I will. And I will do it here.

But it still sucks, and my feelings are hurt. In a way. I mean, I know better, but!

And I want to smoke because I want something fun to do to take the edge off.

But ultimately, smoking makes me cranky.