Missing person

November 25th, 2009

I caught a story in yesterday’s paper that you shouldn’t miss. It’s not uncommon for one little story in the newspaper to sum up the wretched whole of human tragedy but this story was in a category by itself. A 13-year-old autistic boy, running from rebuke at school and evading punishment at home, stowed away in plain sight on a subway where he rode nonstop for 11 days without being noticed.

It wasn’t hard to be invisible, he told police. “Nobody really cares about the world and about people.” He is a rare jewel among human beings: he can see things as they are. Read more about his journey here.

I feel as if I have been missing for some time. Not so good about reading your blogs or writing my own. Not as open-eyed or even-keeled as I might have been. I’ve been immersed in the late stages of the publication process: the manuscript submission, the diagnostic revisions, and now the slice-and-dice of copy edits. No one who is striving for that mythical, magical realm called “Being Published” will ever believe what it is really like: how much it extracts from you, and yet how little it changes things. It’s like abdominal surgery. Over the course of the procedure, all 28 feet of your intestines are shoved aside, and in some cases, taken out and piled up on the table beside your body. Then your bowels are put back and you’re sewn into the semblance of something new. For a short while you feel the effects, but before long everything is just as it was before. You’re not younger, better looking, or rich. You might even been poor. You don’t believe me, but you can read more about it here.

Today I said goodbye to my husband and daughter as they travel east to celebrate the holiday with my in-laws. Aside from the year my father died, this is the first Thanksgiving we haven’t been together. I will attend Rohatsu sesshin, a Zen meditation retreat that commemorates the Buddha’s enlightenment. It is time for me to excuse myself from the family table and do what the Buddha did, to be like the boy I told you about at the top of this post: a rare jewel who can see things as they are. You can read more about the story of Buddha here.

Next week several guest bloggers will appear in my stead. I thank them for spilling their guts, and I hope you’ll stick around and read more about them here.

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  1. Have a peaceful week. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, observations and experiences today.

    Comment by Swirly — November 25, 2009 @ 4:40 pm

  2. Amazing – I saw this story and had a reaction as well. The thought of being lost resonated with me – as I'm sure it did with others. I'll definitely be blogging about it soon.

    As the previous commenter shared, may you find some peace this week during what must be a challenging time.

    Comment by Lisa — November 25, 2009 @ 6:46 pm

  3. Thank for your concern Lisa. My challenges are non-existent!

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — November 25, 2009 @ 7:22 pm

  4. Thanks for your honest insight into publishing. You say it so well.

    Enjoy your reprieve from family duties.

    Comment by 6512 and growing — November 27, 2009 @ 3:48 pm

  5. just wanted to get my correct blog address in my signature. Smiles.

    Comment by 6512 and growing — November 28, 2009 @ 8:19 pm

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