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    A Democracy of the Imagination Paid Member

                         Ernest Hemingway spoke once of sitting at his desk each morning to face "the horror of a blank sheet of paper." He found himself (as any writer can confirm) having to produce by the end of the day a series of words arranged in a way that has never before been imagined. You sit there, alone, hovering on the cusp between nothing and something. This is not a blank, stale nothing; it is an awesome nothing charged with unrealized potential. And the hovering is the kind that can fill you with dread. Rearrangement of the items on your desk assumes an irresistible attraction. More »
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    Letting Go: Life On The Hospice Ward Paid Member

    I'm a new hospice volunteer and walk up and down the ward between the two rows of beds with their pale blue sheets 2nd blankets and blue-green curtains that blend with the pale blue-green walls, which echo the green of the garden and the trees outside the windows. The hospice ward is minty, fresh, and light. Smokey, one of the resident cats, finds an empty bed and curls up on it. "Got a minute?" asks a haggard man with a husky voice. Of course I do, I have 180 minutes until the end of my shift. George introduces himself to me. "Sit with me while I smoke," he says. "Got a light?" More »
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    Beastie Boys: The Big Show Paid Member

                                                      Tricycle: When did you become interested in Buddhism? More »
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    A Walk in the Garden of Heaven Paid Member

    This piece is included in Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace (Koa Books), a new collection of writings from a series of writing and meditation workshops for veterans and their families led by author and editor Maxine Hong Kingston. Poet George Evans served in the U.S. Air Force in the late 1960s as a medical corpsman, stationed in Libya in 1967 and in Vietnam in 1969. In Vietnam, he became involved in various forms of antiwar protest and was eventually court-martialed, ostensibly for disobeying orders; the prosecution was unsuccessful, and he was honorably discharged in 1970. “Garden of Heaven” refers to Tenshin-en, the Japanese rock garden at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The author, George Evans, visited the garden with the North Vietnamese writers Ms. Le Minh Khue and Mr. Huu Thinh, both of Hanoi and both combat veterans of the Vietnam War. They were visiting the United States for the first time. More »
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    Saved From Freezing Paid Member

    I'm in my car, on the highway. I turn off the news reports and the baseball game I've been listening to and switch to a Beethoven violin sonata that's loaded in the CD player. Listening to the music, my mind gradually starts to release, like a hand that had been grasping something tightly and is beginning to let go. Another mind appears, a mind completely engaged with the pattern the music weaves. A moment before, I'd been frozen into the shape of a self in a world. Now, the music has thawed me out. More »
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    Cold Hard Cash And The Middle Way Paid Member

    When I was five, I soaked a bucketful of pennies in blue starch. It was that kindergarten kind of starch, a magical substance. At night before I went to bed, I poured the pennies under my pillow. The plan was this: While I dreamt on top of them, God would take them for the poor in heaven. In the morning, it was a moment or two before I remembered that a miraculous absence lay in wait for me under my pillow. I lifted the pillow up from the bed—but it wouldn't lift. I pulled until the pillowcase ripped, the pillow came away in my hands, and then I saw it: a greenish foam of copper pennies congealed in a sour-smelling glue. More »