A soldier who turns from battle and is struck on the back is considered cowardly. Vrtrasura, the leader of the demons, cursed his soldiers when they fled from the demigods in battle. He also cursed the demigods for pursuing the demons and attacking them from behind. This is against the code of military etiquette. Vrtrasura stood alone to face Indra and his soldiers.
There is a story of a queen who refused to open the gates of the castle to her husband the king because he had sustained injuries on his back from running away from the battle. It is better to die honorably on the battlefield, because then one attains the higher planets. This is the high standard of battle for ksatriyas in Vedic history. The head executive did not stay safely behind in his office, but he went to the front and fought with his weapons. In modern times the chief executives manipulate the population over warfare. They sometimes start skirmishes just before an election because the people are not liable to depose a leader who is in the midst of war. They do this at the cost of the lives of the fighters and innocent people. The chief executives start wars and sustain them by keeping a military presence in the inimical country. This is done at the cost of billions of dollars to support the military rather than using the money for peacetime and spiritual causes.
For breakfast I offer porridge with bananas, blueberries, peaches and prunes. I add hot milk and pistachio powder. I eat silently while hearing the devotees take turns reading Srimad-Bhagavatam. We are now up to the Eighth Canto section of Gajendra’s crisis and his prayers to Lord Visnu. Gajendra is fighting in the water, and he is losing because he is not a creature of the water. Lord Visnu appears on Garuda. Gajendra remembers a prayer he heard in a previous life. He recites it sincerely, and Visnu is pleased, and He kills the crocodile. Gajendra is then elevated to the spiritual world, and the crocodile is reinstated to his position in the heavenly planets. This kind of breakfast is sublime.
A small version of this occurs when Radha-Govinda are off the altar being cleaned and having Their dress changed. I look at the altar, and They are not there. But I try to see Them in my mind’s eye and anticipate Their return. There have been blind worshipers of the Supreme Lord who envision Him in their mind or heart. So it can be done, by intense devotion. But the very theoretical thought of not being able to see Them makes me treasure the ability and ease by which I can see Them now in darsana throughout the entire day. They are meant for seeing, for the beginner devotee as well as the advanced devotee. We look at Radharani’s benedicting hand and then go down to Govinda’s lotus feet. One could practice doing this without having the Deities on the altar, but it is not a desirable thing.
Maharaja Khatvanga was given a boon to ask whatever he wanted. He asked how much more time he had to live; he was told he had only a moment. He then hastily returned to the earth and surrendered to Krsna. The author of Damodarastakam prays that he may always have the vision of Krsna’s childhood pastimes in his heart. If I only had a moment left, I would gaze intently at Radharani’s benedicting hand and then swoop down to Govinda’s lotus feet and keep my eyes there as long and as tenderly as possible, fixing them indelibly in my heart.
The title means I am grateful that Lord Krsna allows me to write my poems. In the invocation poem, I write,
“I won’t claim
this is Vaisnava poetry
but a man on earth wrote these,
an ordinary man who
met the pure devotee but still
Here are two poems written in Ireland at a place called Castlegregory. We rented a cottage but would go out on the beach, myself and two devotees.
“Somebody else’s poem comes to mind
as I look out at the sea but can’t
focus. It’s my day for 64 rounds.
I’ve got 28 done. I wanted to pay
attention and make the mind friendly so
he would gently prod the spaced-out chanter.
“The mind comes and goes . . .
Was I thinking of breakfast?
Sure, all of that and poses and
real moments I didn’t even notice.
‘What’s this?’ I kick at a root
that looked like wood. Madhu says,
‘It’s the bottom seaweed.’
What’s this? A dead seagull.
And what’s this, the roll of breakers. ‘Is the tide out?’
Just keep walking. It will come to you.”
“Sat on the grass cliff bank
20 feet over the incoming sea.
Kirtana-rasa was 15 feet to my left and
both he and I were chanting japa.
Later, walking back, he told me about
his deceased brother and the guilt he feels
that he should have saved him. But he couldn’t:
‘Krsna took care of him.’
“How did you feel when
you completed sixty-four?
Good. No words. I said to M.,
‘I just crossed the mountain.’
He was standing in his room.
He said, fingering his counter beads,
‘I have 5 more to do.’
Our many potted tulasi plants are not so healthy. Last spring they went through a disease which ravaged them. About a third of them died. This summer when we put them outside, they didn’t flourish but just recovered from the disease. When we bring them inside for the cold weather, we will remove their dead leaves and expect they will look better. Tulasi is very important in Vedic culture and is worshiped by the followers of all paths of religion. Tulasi leaves and manjaris placed on the lotus feet of Lord Visnu have special potency for creation of devotion. The four impersonalist Kumara brothers became pure Vaisnavas just by smelling the tulasi leaves covering Lord Visnu’s feet. When Narada converted a hunter into a Vaisnava, he ordered him to construct a simple hut and constantly chant Hare Krsna there, with a potted tulasi in front of him. Many Hindu families keep a tulasi plant in their homes and give it sunlight and water it just to create auspiciousness. Tulasi-devi is the plant incarnation of Vrinda-devi, the gopi who makes beautiful forest arrangements in Vrndavana for the pleasure of Radha and Krsna. In ISKCON centers we sing a song to Tulasi-devi every morning. Here is the translation:
“O Tulasi, beloved of Krsna, I bow before you again and again.
My desire is to obtain the service of Sri-Sri Radha-Krsna.
Whoever takes shelter of you has his wishes fulfilled.
Bestowing your mercy on him, you make him a resident of Vrindavan.
My desire is that you will also grant me residence
in the pleasure groves of Sri Vrindavan dhama.
Thus, within my vision I will always behold
the beautiful pastimes of Radha and Krsna.
I beg you to make me a follower
of the cowherd damsels of Vraja.
Please give me the privilege of devotional service
and make me your own maidservant.
This very fallen and lowly servant of Krsna prays,
‘May I always swim in the love of Sri Radha and Govinda.’”
The Bhagavatam states that all material creations come from Krsna’s energies; they are not manufactured by men in the laboratory or factory. Take for example a building. It is primarily made of bricks. The bricks come from the earth. The other ingredients also come from Krsna’s energies. “Know that all opulent, beautiful and glorious creations spring from but a spark of My splendor.” (Bhagavad-gita 10.42)
“Oh, I am seated too far across the room to nicely see the features of Radha and Govinda. But I see Prabhupada well from here. He is bigger. I would like to be captivated by Their forms and think one day, when I see Krsna and Radha, They will look like this. Is it too warm for a soft wool chadar? I’m feeling too warm with my sweater. I am the big flesh-and-blood servant.
Received a letter from a graphic artist-devotee from Croatia. She turned her little home into a studio and gallery. Gave a show of illustrations from Songs of Bhaktivinode Thakura. She loves my books, which contain encouragement for fellow artists but advice that we must stick to Krsna consciousness. I’ll write to her, encourage. My sort of people.
“Stay in this house if you can. Try not to let them rope you into the human drama being enacted. So, you can write of that other world. Then you say, ‘When I got free of it, there was nothing instead’– that’s not true either. You have your Deities. Get more clothes and candrikas.”
“Before I went to take my rest I did my puja of Radha and Krsna, with a twinge warning me that discomfort is here and more on the way. The clothes fit very nicely on Krsna, the pink dhoti draped eloquently, and I tucked it in between His legs, and His feet showed just right—His blessed feet (of which the demigods take shelter). I don’t know anything about these things. But I know He looked nice. If devotees could find relief like this, maybe they wouldn’t engage in their controversies or feel that they had to find satisfaction by bossing people around. Radharani looked very nice. I hesitated whether to give Her a woolen chadar. Go ahead, tell us of these things. And while I bathed Them and glanced upon Krsna’s hard and slim body—and I wanted to do this—I listened to the reading of Narottama dasa Thakura’s prayers. He wants to be with Radha and Krsna in the spiritual world, with his spiritual master. The poetry, ‘Those feet . . . those feet . . . One who has not connected with Lord Nityananda doesn’t know anything, his life is a waste of time.’ Yes, yes. Come to me. I don’t go on pilgrimage to Ekacakra, I don’t live in Vrndavana, but I get these drops of mercy, even here.”
“Srila Prabhupada wears his brown chadar, I’m glad to say. And Radha and Govinda in a favorite dress of mine (brown-gold). But when you can’t see Krsna’s lotus feet, that’s a serious drawback.”
“Mostly white, light cloth on Radha and Govinda. Narottama dasa Thakura was saying that he just wants to worship Govinda and keep far away from the various kinds of nondevotees. Cry out, ‘Govinda!’ and the evil elements will flee from you the way elephants flee from the roar of the lion. He doesn’t want to travel to various pilgrimages. He wants to reside in Vrndavana and worship Radha and Govinda. Mostly light, white cloth—Radha in blue flower trim, Krsna in yellow-gold trim.”
Shack Notes is the first book in which I experimented with free writing. It was half-free writing and half-group participation (reading the Krsna book and then envisioning in our own words and senses the scene described). Here’s an example of the free writing:
“Evidence that you can use free writing in Krsna consciousness: It is the soul’s nature to freely love God and freely give help (mercy) to others. If you don’t give freely, it becomes charity in the mode of ignorance. When you discover that your duty includes transcendental bliss, then you are on the right track.
“‘Every living being is anxious for full freedom because that is his transcendental nature . . . . We can just imagine the extent and unlimitedness of his freedom, which is as good as that of the Supreme Lord. . . . Similarly, the transcendental system of devotional service is also free. . . . It may or may not develop in a person even after undergoing all the detailed formulas. Similarly, the association of the devotees is also free. One may be fortunate to have it, or one may not have it after thousands of endeavors. . . . Therefore, in all spheres of devotional service, freedom is the main pivot. Without freedom, there is no execution of devotional service.’” (Bhag. 1.6.37, purport)
“The trees—how hard it is to believe they are souls being punished. It sounds like a Grimm fairy tale. But what do we know? As Prabhupada said, we are ‘wet behind the ears.’ Life is hard to believe. It is inconceivable, beyond our grasp. Who can say what a tree is? It stands with many others, grows straight up to get its bit of sunlight. It is a mystery. And why do different birds sing the way they do?
“Why is the sky blue on clear days? I don’t want to hear the explanation scientists give about light refraction and gas and stratosphere. I want to know why it makes us happy to see the blue sky? Why do artists especially love Nature? Why are they moved to paint pictures and write music?
“You ask what is a tree; then, what is a human? Once you start thinking about the wonder of things, then the Vedic explanations make good sense. They accommodate the fact that existence is wonderful, acintya. They explain it all within a context of ultimate knowledge. It solves all bewilderment. I can look at a tree and accept the Vedic conclusion—a tree is a soul with very low consciousness, with a thick, heavy bodily covering, waiting out its karma. You can chant to the trees and they will benefit.”
“Rain on the roof. Krsna is in His Name. Bow down to Him. Be a happy servant of His pure devotee. Be happy playing on a small ‘flute’ and dancing before Lord Krsna in my mind. My spiritual master approves this and tells me to go on.”
“I look at the great poet Kavi-karnapura’s drama of Lord Caitanya’s pastimes. This is true art. I am standing outside the door of His trans-cendental theater and begging with my bowl.”
“Our wits need to be recovered from the garbage heap where they were thrown by misuse and bad association.”
“So dark I can’t see, although it’s almost time
I thank You, real Lord, for allowing me
more time to write
and little bursts of sincerity.
I have some mad attachment to say ‘I love You’
in a way that sounds right to me.
You employ me, and my spiritual master
encourages a sort of writing, as long as one
has permission from guru and the Lord
in the heart.
Taking that permission, he may write.
Srila Prabhupada says, ‘Poetry or prose.’
hear the raindrops on this roof
Krsna, Krsna, Krsna, I want to serve Krsna
(in this life and the next).
Let’s help each other;
follow what he says.
When I end this life, I’ll go for another,
but where, I don’t know
it depends on my deeds,
it depends what I think of at the end.
So here I am trying
to impress on myself
Krsna, Krsna, Krsna,
and hearing the rain as Krsna too
and savoring and thanking Him
for this routine, worshiping my Lord.”
The following are excerpts of spontaneous writing practice done in 1994-1995 in various places. Readers who are used to objective, linear writing may be put off by the spontaneous practice of “keep the hand moving.” I contend they contain Krsna conscious gems in the rough. I write about the process of unrehearsed writing, but I always come up with direct krsna-katha. I’ve been posting Writing Sessions in the Free Write Journal, but I don’t get any feedback from readers. I did get one letter from a man who understood the free write and said, “Your effort to find Krsna consciousness in your mind allows us to believe that our own strange and imperfect personalities can ‘correctly’ approach Krsna.”
Regarding my not getting a response from my writings, I received sensible advice from an editor of an American haiku magazine, who published a good number of my poems. I complained to him about the “silence” in which I received no response from my haikus. The editor wrote me back that I should not expect correspondence from my readers. People are very busy, and I should be satisfied that my poems were read (and probably enjoyed by some). I took his advice to heart, was pacified, and wrote the editor, thanking him for his sage counsel. John Endler opines that my Writing Sessions and the Every Day, Just Write series were written “ahead of their time” (like with other artists) and now they should be published for a wider audience. I submit these writings to my 2019-2020 readers with all humility and beg them to accept the offering with an open heart.
“What am I aiming for? A purity in motive, an increase in devotion, improve, improve in the basics—and that indicates strength even to endure life’s trials (the indifference and rejection by brothers, the fearful world, physical pain)—that includes a compassion to help others. But you don’t have to do it in another way, by managing a project, but by improving your reading and chanting. It’s the classic brahmana role I seek (to state it in varnasrama terms, or my place in the institution) and cooperation with the ksatriyas, vaisyas and others. I serve them. I serve the Lord and the spiritual master by making myself fit. I actually desire to be absorbed in the holy names and pastimes (Srimad-Bhagavatam) of the Lord, and then I pass that inspiration on to others. I do it via the medium of Srila Prabhupada’s words and ways of teaching. I may not go along exactly with the form of the ISKCON programs, although those I also respect . . . . I seek to add a genuineness to all programs. The person who works for Food for Life, padayatra, book distribution, etc., I seek to help him or her to taste nama and lila of Krsna in the Hare Krsna mantra and Srimad-Bhagavatam reading. To do this service for others, I first have to spend considerable time in doing it myself.
“It may be that I am at a stage of life which requires alone-attention, and that later I will feel better about giving my time to help others. Now I feel I must help myself. And yet even at this time, my example and writing— the best I can ever preach— may help others.”
“My dear Lord Krsna, You appeared in Your Visnu form in Vaikuntha and smiled to the sages. You are even more beautiful than the goddess of fortune, although in Goloka Vrndavana You are attracted by the beauty of Srimati Radharani, and therefore priests say You are Madana-mohana but became Madana-mohan-mohini, or captivated by Srimati Radharani.”
“You could write more structured work if you wanted, but let them come organically and let our editors find them in the rough. I like this way of creating books from a process of deep writing as life-practice, rather than as a byproduct, a created product separate from my life.
“Learn to grip the pen in the best way, and if you get inky, that’s okay.
“I’ll finish this notebook today. Record more of me reading Bhagavad-gita passages and Mahajana poems. . . . But first the japa lake. The pond outside is frozen. I’ll enter a different lake. No outside thoughts allowed—full respect given to the recitation of hari-nama. ‘O Radha (Energy of the Lord), O Krsna (the Supreme Lord), please engage me in Your service, starting now with this chanting of Your names, by which my tongue and lips can render loving service. I am not just saying some meaningless sounds, Ha-re-Krs-na’ . . . . It has an outer covering and an inner substance. It’s Krsna and Radha, Radha and Krsna, Rama the enjoyer of Radha in Vrndavana, Krsna the cowherd boy, Krsna the God of Gods—the Name is all things, a cintamani . . . . I seek it to touch me, I seek to touch the Nama, I seek to express my regrets at so much offensive, mechanical chanting. There is hope I can do better, always.
“See myself in a better state of chanting japa. It can be much better. If writing only helped in this, it would be a very good and useful kind of writing. Go ahead, encourage yourself—I can chant better with more attention. My writing sessions can be directed to help myself see chanting in the best way, and to increasingly gain access to inner needs and expressions. (Or unconscious self I usually can’t allow to speak—because I’m fully engaged on the superficial level—can be allowed to speak on this page. I can find ways to do it.)
“Writing is for that.”
“Now take a little break. Stretch your joints, wash your face and come back for a quality reading session. Without this reading, you have no contact direct with God in His form and qualities and your spiritual master in his intimate teaching appearance. I will not be without it; it’s open to me.”
(February 6, 1994
Saranagati, British Columbia
“I’m readying myself, spending my energy in a way suitable to me—my joy, also my limited physical ability each day to face people and the stress. Find a quiet corner and let loose a string of words several times a day, it’s all I can do. May they go out and serve.
“But why don’t you take time to create them for a maximum effect? ‘Because it’s a hoax, it’s not real, it’s not ethical to try.’ I say that. You don’t have to believe me.
“I write unrehearsed, un-reined, as a way to live truly, as blood flows in veins. You could argue that blood flows according to a plan, very carefully and scientifically.
“Well, I write that way too. It’s the science of heart and practice and putting down what comes from a ‘scientific graph’ that notes inside how I feel.
God is with us.
He is the Father, religion is out to get Maya and serve Krsna.
Recognize He is the source of all. Fight this bad age.”
“It’s raining hard, you can hear it. The sky is dark. That’s good, as far as I’m concerned. We have no outer duty, just to stay here and fill up the hours with writing and reading, and a peak good time of lunch. So many duties all day, whether it rains or shines.
“One should constantly remember the Lord and pray to Him for mercy. The Lord, situated in the devotee’s heart, responds to such a prayer and illuminates his heart…”
“Be who you are, calm and true. I read and stay awake. I chant and stay awake. I pray for improvements, not for miracles. I don’t fast, I eat krsna prasadam. I chant and chant and try to hear the mantras. I’m no longer in the Navy. I’m free in the gold period of my early old age. Thank Krsna and Prabhupada you are a devotee.
“See? The Writing Session is you, sheer you, better even than most stories you make for an effect.”
(April 5, 1994
“I like this line of thought—seeing that my taking retreats is not just my own willfulness but is Krsna’s gift for me. ‘Ask and you shall receive.’ It won’t last forever. He will say to me, ‘I gave you so much time for it. Did you find what you wanted? Did you use it and develop yourself to reach Me as best you could?’
“And I’ll reply, ‘I’m satisfied and pleased with the life and opportunities You have given, and I have achieved certain goals. But I wish to please You and be very dear to You. I wish to be attached to Your lotus feet and be able to think of You in loving service. Only You can guide me further. Please, now I only want to do whatever You want, even if it means leaving my retreats and service as a fulltime writer.’
“That has to come earnestly, that kind of surrender. And it may require Krsna taking a strong hand with me at the right time.”
(April 6, 1994
“Chanting and incoming news by a letter, and better than that, by Srimad-Bhagavatam. My own self, a thin container. He is getting older. Time, what does Srila Prabhupada say? He says practice Krsna consciousness and give it to others. You’ll be the best servant of Lord Krsna if you work to give Krsna consciousness to others. I can’t claim I am doing that to full capacity, can I? But at least I’m avoiding the worst prajalpa.
“On the lighter side: the Loch Ness Monster is a hoax, it’s been proved. The implication is that all mysterious things can be explained, and whatever passes now for a mystery may actually be a hoax. There is no monster, except in the heart of men. And the scientist would say, ‘There is no ultimate mystery to the universe, no Supreme Person. It is just a matter of time before we explain everything.’ ‘No!’ says Srila Prabhupada, ‘We cannot accept that post-dated check. You have never solved the mysteries of birth, death, disease and old age, janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi-, dukha-dosanudarsanam, and you never will.’
“Eight minutes left.
“Pilot, bring us down. You may have a drink in the bar because you are not a devotee. But for myself, I’ll drink only water. We want to pray now too, Hare Krsna Hare Krsna. I don’t have much time for anything else. Pray that Lord Krsna will give you faith so that at the time of death you can pray, ‘Please take me. Please give me faith. I could not advance as much as I desired in this life due to weak-heartedness and the conditioning . . . Then will You allow me please to revive my Krsna consciousness in the next life? I have no other desire.’”
(April 15, 1994
near Brescia, Italy)
“The Writing Session is not just a surface, busy place. I admit it could become like that – breeze through it at 80 miles per hour, to get it done. It can be a quiet review. Write, write is the only criteria . . . .
Now, time is up.
Just finish this one page.
“I wuz sayin’ Jimmy Durante is gone, all uncles are gone, years of the past are gone, youth is gone . . . Happy Krsna consciousness brightens our future. Goodbye to the past means no sorrow over that. Miles past. Next life comes up like a sign on a highway for the next town.
“Hare Krsna comes straight from Krsnaloka, and with chanting I do have a connection, and optimism that the Holy Name is always doing wonders in my mouth and life early in the morning. O Holy Name! You hope it is effective in others’ lives and in your life, it is the cornerstone of the day. But so much time is spent in writing.
“Krsna is the reservoir of all pleasure. He is teaching Sanatana Gosvami about the expansions of God, the Visnus and the pastime incarnations. They all come from Krsna. Even if you study how the universes come about by the glance of the original Visnu, the purpose is to finally conclude that Krsna is the source of all. He works through the material nature. He throws the jivas into matter, and they have to cycle life after life. Who knows these things? It is beyond our tiny capabilities. We’ve become puffed up with science and manufacture of tires and tubes and steel machinations, and abilities to bluff and put men in prison and torture . . . ‘We don’t wish to discuss,’ Srila Prabhupada used to say.
“Let’s talk of Krsna the Supreme. It is better that way.”
“No headache, but you can’t push it. Please give me one more page. I beg that of You. That page can be the works of Sanatana Goswami, such as Brhad-bhagavatamrta and how Gopa-kumara experienced all the lokas and became Indra and Brahma but was never satisfied. He kept chanting his mantra, and that pushed him beyond each place, even Vaikuntha. That’s because his mantra was to Madana-Gopala, and that bhava is satisfied only in Goloka. So he went up and up—and sometimes down—to various lokas until finally he went to Goloka Vrndavana beyond the aisvarya. There he tasted the madhurya, or sweetness. Now we read of Rupa Gosvami.
(January 29, 1994
Saranagati, British Columbia
“With no show-off stuff, just looking at your watch and going into practice.
“I said on my radio show, the writing session must be done with faith in bhajana, my devotional service.
“Dear Lord Krsna, please accept this. Our humble obeisances unto You. The skylark has a serious look on his face as he does his rounds . . . He wants to loop.
“The freeway of cars.”
“Beloved dictator, serving man, I and my close companions, like little children, or puppies, or even puppets, were absorbed in our work when Time surprised us and demanded we do his bidding. Thus a writing session is also a work of art that wants uninterrupted attention and a deep concentration sustained in order to go down layers and ask myself personal questions.
“And sing songs of trust and how I do love Krsna. Not that I am made up of doubts. I want to read, and it takes time. Be like a young man with a true passion to read good books. Even in a car, take Srila Prabhupada’s books and read, even if only one page, and think prayerfully of what he says there.
“Yes, what new book? Well, there is one called Bhagavad-gita As It Is. I don’t think you’ve exhausted it, pal. Take it with you in the deluxe edition and open it when you can to any verse and purport. You don’t have to read it in sequence any more. You are reading the Thirteenth Chapter now, but free to go anywhere . . . And Caitanya-caritamrta awaits your return.
“But for sequence, we’re on the Fourth Canto and going with it. Outdoor prayer reading in Ireland. I hope and preach and comment on what you read. Read a little and then talk to the sky about it?
“I don’t know. Something like that. Wire yourself up—or don’t.
“You have fifteen minutes left here.”
(April 17, 1993
“Christopher Columbus. The Russian poet said that Columbus was a real bum, an exploiter of the Indians. He carried chains. I went to Santo Domingo, where he is supposed to have first landed. There is a tourist section there with museums, but I never went. I went only from the airport to the temple and back to the airport, or downtown in front of the government building for harinama. That’s all, and on the roof of the temple, from where I saw rats across the street, and in the temple I stayed in my room and ran the electric fan, and sat on the veranda, and took prasadam of fresh juice drinks, and talked with Gobhatta Prabhu and the other devotee whose name I forget, with crippled hands. It happens.
“And now I have no reason to go back to Santo Domingo in my travels. But maybe I could go one day, hiding in a writing retreat somewhere like that, and say, ‘I’m here, but there’s no typewriter, and so I’m writing and saving the microcassettes and mailing them from here. I’m in exile.’”
“I will read a little more and get the work done. You have five minutes left, but you could quit at any moment. Jerry Davis, Corky, Kent, we all worked together in the office under Lieutenant Commander Richardson and a junior officer. We got released, got the hell out of there. Hello, mister. This is the way you guys got to behave. There is no respect given to the enlisted man. He has to work as the officer tells him. But they gave me a break pretty much and told me to close up the office. Lt. Cmdr. Richardson was often under a cloud, not a happy man. He wanted war to enliven him. He was too old to fly the jets now, and he only flew an old prop plane, I think. I don’t care, I’m Krsna conscious and can’t help these people in my past now.
“‘The Confessions of So-and-So,’ where they give the truth. The blueprint for the fall of Rome—Krsna Krsna deliver me from this blather. If you call this practice, I don’t know what it will lead to. This doesn’t seem to be what I wanted to be, but what comes when you let your fingers write. Perhaps the pen would be more fruitful. You can also try shorter ones, or you just get your stuff out and then stop.
“The detergent is on the shelf. John Updike is sharpening pencils. Mailer is putting down all of the writers, Celine, Genet, Burroughs, you keep looking for the favorite author, Henry Mill, D.H, Lawrence, I didn’t even mention them sufficiently in my book . . . Lawrence, I tried to find a friend but never found one I loved. Do you love your own self? Well that is true, but not in a vacuum. You have to have companions.
“I did like the writing of Murray and Steve. I did admire them. It was a true spontaneous enthusiasm. I liked it when we wrote what we actually thought instead of otherwise.
“This has been a trip, I hope the typist doesn’t mind. It is practice, you see, and first thoughts to generate release of censors and gain momentum for the great, ordered, clean, smooth short book I will write maybe later this summer, which will be as good as Photo Preaching. This is a warmup for it. So you say, and yet, in its own way, this is the best I could do.”
(July 31, 1995