Sunday, June 17, 2007

Karaoke nights at the Twilight Lounge - Writing Show podcast

Jean Tennant (photo right) wrote a novel (Karaoke nights at the Twilight Lounge) and is now trying to get her work published. How to go about that task? Send the manuscript to publishers? Get an agent? And another thing, while waiting for answers and receiving initial critiques: Should she rewrite some of the novel upon reconsidering?

Jean Tennant arrives as a regular guest on the podcast The Writing Show to report the progress or lack thereof with getting Karaoke nights at the Twilight Lounge published. She is supported by the show's audience, with good critiques and acclaim. Show host Paula B (photo left) interviews her very emphatically and together they discuss Jean's options. Paula calls this the reality show, as opposed to other editions of the podcast where she interviews writers about their end-products.

For an aspiring, forever aspiring, writer such as myself, The Writing Show is both an inspiration as well as a cold shower. The intricacies of writing and moreover of getting published and what more, that is involved in the writing process makes me discouraged. The example of Jean as a particularly discouraging case in point. I mean sofar, I couldn't push myself to finish an entire novel and she has. But then she mostly gets ignored and if at all rejected it is after more than half a year. In the mean time she has begun rewriting the novel and is still alive and kicking. I'd have come to a grinding halt with a broken heart.

The show is lovely though. Paula Berinstein is an absolute dear and I recommend this podcast warmly, especially for writers.

Not knowing - Zencast 102

One of the podcasts in my playlist that I haven't come round listening to for some time is Zencast. I love the dharma teachings, especially by Gil Fronsdal, but I have to be in the right mood. Zencast puts out podcasts that last between 30 and 90 minutes out every week, so it is easy to build up a backlog -- as I have.

I do not listen to all of them. I am particularly fond of Gil Fronsdal, like I wrote above, unlike some of the other speakers. In view of the backlog, I also revert to selective listening, based upon the subject. Hence, the issue #102 of April 29th had a compelling title: Not knowing.

I like counter-intuitive things. Like here, I am so much into knowing, I try to learn all the time, not for nothing i spend almost all of my free time listening to educational podcasts. Not knowing, stated like that, sounds like some imperative, or at least preferred attitude, and I couldn't possibly relate to the good side of that. Well, only superficially. You can't be very much into knowing, without finding out how little you know. And what is more, how much of what you thought you knew, turns out to be prejudice. In that respect, an attitude of not knowing, could mean letting go of prejudice, and there is a lot to say for that.

Dharma teaching is not like ordinary teaching. Not even like philosophy teaching. So you have to tag along and appreciate the associations and conjectural path of the speaker. That is why speakers I do not like can be so off putting. But not Gil, he has never let me down. And what is more, part of Not Knowing, means, indeed, letting go of prejudice. Fine, sofar, it would be just as good as a philosophy session, but the dharma always implies some exercise and the exercise is to practice not knowing. To study all assumptions and approach all question with an I don't know. See where it gets you. Where? I don't know.