It was in February, a week before Maezumi Roshi’s birthday, only his 64th. I’d thought that I would leave him a little something behind before I raced back home, a poem or a line inscribed when inspiration arrived. Nothing arrived, and I hurriedly copied a story from a book I carried with me, a book of stories by William Maxwell called All the Days and Nights. The book was a treasure trove, and I’d read and recommended it frequently in the weeks since I’d beelined for the bookstore, upon hearing the delicate, eighty something voice of the author on the car radio one night. I was at a stoplight on the way home from work and I heard him say, “I’m astonished that there always is a story, but first it has to come out of the absolutely emptied mind, the mysterious.”
The story I copied was called “The Man Who Lost His Father.”
People ask me how I write. I can’t really say, and I really can’t teach it. I’m not sure that anyone can teach you how to write. But this, I can teach.
Illustration (c) 2010 Andrew Buckle