Second Avenue coffeeshop, New York City

New York City. Sunset: 4:35pm. A bright springlike day with a high of 70 degrees and lows in the fifties. Tonight the moon is full. This morning I flipped open my beaten copy of Shunryu Suzuki’s Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind because I needed what it advertised. Some zen. Some peace of mind. Some enthusiasm for this exhausted world. My finger landed on a heavy-duty sentence that I’ve been considering all day: “When you do something, you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself.”

Suzuki emphasizes the importance of doing rather than thinking because ruminating leaves a trace. I like this image of traces, of thoughts that can tint and even stain. And my head is shellacked with so much babble and gunk. I can feel it in my nerves. Maybe even my soul, although I’m not yet sure if I believe in such a thing. Perhaps I must. Otherwise what is the Darwinian function of all this head noise?

I’ve also started reading John Yorke’s Into the Woods: A Five-Act Journey into Story to improve my understanding of how stories work. I wish I’d read something like this sooner. It’s both humbling and reassuring to see all of my tangled plots and narrative cul-de-sacs crisply addressed thousands of years ago by Terence, Horace, and Aristotle. 

And returning to the bonfire, I love the doom metal energy of this line from Shakespeare’s Richard II: “Let us sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings.”

E.R.P. – Burning Question

Afterimage | Forgotten Future, 2018 | Bandcamp
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Related Reading
December 28, 2021

Holiday Drift

Ohio. Sunset: 5:14pm. These blurry days between Christmas and New Year's Eve stand outside of time.
July 6, 2020


A world without the color green. A man who repainted all the seashells on the beach.
July 24, 2020


The Stand brought me back to teenage nights of staying awake into the small hours with a flashlight, promising myself just one more chapter.
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x