Unconnected updates

Several things, unconnected to one another.

It’s been well over a month since I posted something. The blog’s been on my mind. I am interested in fulfilling my desires from the beginning of the year to write more and write more often. But the last few months have been unexpectedly challenging. Full. Full is a good word to describe my current life-head-space.

I am also supposed to be writing something. (Don’t tell Ann Gleig that I’m posting on my blog but not writing that goddamn chapter.) I have found it difficult to write. It may seem somewhat counterintuitive for someone who is, literally, writing to write that writing is hard. But I suppose that I mean writing in a particular way has been challenging. This odd stream-of-consciousness writing at the moment I find rather comforting. But sitting down to write a very logical, structured, well-argued and and well-articulated essay about a niche subject — that seems hard. And, if I’m being honest, less important than other things in my life.

It will get done (I promise, Ann, I’ll get it done). I’m writing this post late in the day Thursday, I’ll set it to auto-post in the a.m., and then set myself up in my office tomorrow morning, at my “writing desk,” a cup of strong coffee at hand, and just plow through it, get over that initial hump and into the dopamine-fueled zone of pure writing. I am setting this intention. I am declaring my vows to liberate all beings (or, well, write an essay). Bodhi-svaha.

There is a chill in the air. It’s downright brisk. Fall is upon us.

For the first time since the Before Times, I am going to AAR. In person. In Denver. In just a few weeks. I am equal parts thrilled and terrified.

Terrified because the AAR is overwhelming, let’s be honest. Even before the specter of “super-spreader event,” I have long thought it odd that a profession which undoubtedly attracts more than its fair share of bookish introverts hosts an annual event for more than 10,000 people. What are we thinking? Seriously.

But thrilled nonetheless because I will have the opportunity to see folks I haven’t seen outside little zoom boxes in three years. I am looking forward to #AwkwardAcademicSelfies, masked and distanced hand-waves from across the room, even more awkward fist bumps, and (if you’re boosted and comfortable with it) the occasional hug.

I was looking through posts from the before times here on the old blog, and I noticed I used to post summaries of interesting Buddhist studies-related things happening at AAR. Perhaps before I heave off to Denver, I’ll revive that practice.

Oh, also, if you’ve got nothing better to do Sunday morning, I’ll be giving the dharma talk at the local Shin Buddhist temple.

Update on the The Book. It’s been passed off to production.

What this means: a team of editors based in New York coordinated with an editor in the UK to send off the digital files to a company based in Chennai who will be responsible for the copyediting and page layout of a book about California. Late global capitalism, man. Late global capitalism.

But this also means that I might be proofreading my book on the way to AAR or frantically putting together an index before Christmas. And, more importantly, that we’re another step closer to The Making of American Buddhism being, dare I say it, Published.

As I mentioned a couple months back — and can’t stop talking about on Instagram (well, that’s not true; I do occasionally stop talking about it but only to post pictures of Legos for some reason), I signed up for the AIDS/LifeCycle ride in 2023. This means I’m (a) riding my bike from here to LA like a crazy person but also and more importantly (b) raising money to help end HIV/AIDS and support the life-saving work of both the SF AIDS Foundation and LA LGBT Center.

Why am I doing this? Why now? Short answer is simply that my brother died this year so I’m ever-aware that life is short. Seize the day and all that.

So if you’ve got some disposable cash laying around, consider disposing of it this-a-way.

So say we all.

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