A decade of writing
I’m reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert Persig, on the eve of launching the book that I’ve been working on for more than 10 years. I’m also finally diving into the archives of Lilly Library at Duke University, to find the texts on aesthetics that speak most vividly to my sense of what it means, truly, to say something significant through Art.
You could say it’s reassuring to revisit old texts. Going offline and finding something old, in print, on paper, most of which was written by people who are no longer here—all of this fits tightly in line with what I’m discovering to be Kismuth’s overarching theme. Honoring, and fulfilling, your greatest potential while you’re still here, breathing.
Some of what I wanted to tell you in this story I’m reading about in this work, and finding it so thoroughly constructed, I almost don’t have to write Flight of Pisces. Except, of course, that I do.
My purpose in writing Flight of Pisces is to tell you how I got to be the way I am. The kind of person who believes, wholeheartedly, that nothing is worth doing if we can’t fully express ourselves. And I don’t mean just part of us, I mean our best selves. And taking the time to do the work to discover what that even is. It’s hard, I know.
This all started when I got a queer feeling. My first job out of college was at an office park in Research Triangle, which is a sprawl of complexes spanning the space between Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill in North Carolina. Until I was 23, I hadn’t taken a solo trip, and I’d barely left North Carolina from the time my family moved here in 1985 from Michigan. I was just a kid in elementary school then. And I went through middle school, high school, and college all within an hour and a half of where I grew up.
But sometimes you hear a call, and you know you must answer. Intuition begs you not to discard what you may see.
This is the true story of my journey, not just external but internal, too, to a profound new beginning. The kind of thing that happens when you’re young and in search of something, vying for your independent voice in a world that bows without question to authority.
In this case, authority took on many shapes: bosses, parents, the general idea of what a fresh graduate of a school of engineering “ought” to do with her new degree. Yet there was one moment that changed everything, for me, and this is the book that tells you howthat happened, and where.
I promise it will be not a heavy philosophical outpouring, but simply a straight story of what it was like to take a huge chance, and, unlike the other three volumes in Kismuth, come up for once on the side of “lucky.”
If you’ve ever had to make a choice based on what your heart told you, and what Society contradicted, this book will be just for you.
Flight of Pisces will launch on my birthday, which is March 16, of 2013. I’ll celebrate my life so far on this earth with all of you through this work, on that day.
Meanwhile, be sure to keep up with Kismuth stories by joining this online community.
A story of coming-of-age…
RISK. This is a volume of Kismuth that brightens some of what’s so far been a conversation with readers about loss, and the pain of letting things go that you really would never want to. But in India, somehow without realizing she was even looking,Karin Malhotra* wanders into the Lake City of Rajasthan and sat by the lakes splishing against marble embankments, losing track of time. She meanders somehow into the deserts of Jaisalmer, and then, later, north to the mountains of the Hindu Kush. It was there, looking out over the blue that the Russian painter Nicholas Roerich devoted his later years of life to capturing in hues that she collected when she visited a tiny museum dedicated to him in Manhattan’s Riverside, that she reached some kind of truth. Truth, beauty, whatever you want to call it, if you’re a Keats follower as I am then you’ll see they’re both the same.
In the pockets of old King’s cities, Karin saw the buildings and landscapes that lent texture and color to the stories she’d learned about this old country, the land her parents chose to leave to pursue a new life of opportunity in America. She got to know my way around and feel, almost, like part of the place. Almost, but not quite. This is the story of coming of age in a foreign land, but one in which she is only a half-stranger. Waiting for signs and acceptance from the land she hopes will claim her as her own, one day, on a mountaintop cliff in Manali, she gets an answer that surprises her.
*Names have been changed, but the story is otherwise relayed as it happened.
Volume IV Flight of Pisces will be published in March, 2013. Join Kismuth’s online community to stay connected about:
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