But last night, while reading Alan Watts's Tao: The Watercourse Way (and I highly recommend the Alan Watts lecture clips available on iTunes in podcast form), I realized a few things. First, that I really like Taoism. And second, that this leaves me no actual religious practice to perform. I actually like the world and myself as they more or less are, and have no desire to suddenly start meditating to achieve satori or go to a guru or anything. Taoism truly is a philosophy, not a religion. There are no rites, no decorations (except the yin-yang symbol), and only a few slim texts that merely repeat what the Taoist already knows: do all things without unnatural striving; be like the willow that bends in the wind, or like water that seeks out the low places, etc.
So this may seem strange, but it has occurred to me that this blog is the equivalent of my religious practice. According to Watts, Buddhism (and especially Zen, my favorite flavor of it) delights in the dichotomy between knowing and not-knowing; the absolute absorption in the moment, broken by the realization that you were just in a moment and isn't it weird and special that we're alive. Every religion that vacillates between sacred and profane time brings us to these realizations; only Chinese religion (Tao and Zen), so far that I'm aware of, sees equal value in both, and tries to make every living moment a dance between sensory absoprtion (which I think of as being in the zone) and detached wonderment.
And this, if I may dignify such silliness, is what I feel when I write my cartoons, post my poems, and otherwise comment on some absurdity or other that I've seen in this lovely character-filled city. Ignoring life's bemusements, failing to report them, is damn near sacrilegious. At least for me.
So I think I've decided that this weird lapse in posting, for the purposes of focusing on a book, may be unhealthy or otherwise imbalanced. (Of course, I no longer believe in abstract "shoulds," so let's just call my last few weeks suboptimal.) If things are working well--and most of you know I'm a fast writer--I should be able to post *and* write the odd book or two. I'll be getting this book finished in another two weeks, I imagine. After that, I hope to post a helluva lot more than I have. Too much good stuff has gone by. So for now, here's my promise: no more Novembers.