Inner Castle

April 27, 2013

Build your inner environment. Practice Silence! I remember the wonderful discipline of the Great Ones. When we used to talk and chatter, they would say: “Go back into your inner castle.” It was very hard to comprehend then, but now I understand the way of peace.

Paramahansa Yogananda

Song of Central Equilibrium

April 10, 2013
We are centred, stable and still
as a mountain
Our chi sinks to the tan-tien and
we are as if suspended from above.
Our Spirit is concentrated within and
our outward manner perfectly composed.
Receiving and issuing energy are
both the work of an instant.

– T’an Meng-hsien

Writing with Fred Waitzken

April 9, 2013

Fred has trouble understanding and finding inspiration for the character he is writing in his novel. He says:

I talked about the problem with Josh [his son, the subject of Searching for Bobby Fischer] and one day he proposed an idea. “There is someone I want you to meet,” he said. He arranged lunch for me with a young actress, Maya, a girlfriend of a friend of his. We met in a restaurant. Maya was sensual, the right body type, and gorgeous. I spent more than an hour describing the character I wanted to write—her name was Ava. Maya listened but said virtually nothing. She was a sweet girl—NOT Ava. This great idea was beginning to feel like a failure. But then when we were leaving the restaurant she turned to me and her entire being had darkened, she had become sultry and damaged. It was thrilling. She was becoming Ava. She was Ava. It gave me chills.

For the next year we would meet in my office about once a month. I would send Ava, no Maya, a long email describing what I needed from Ava in the next chapter of my novel. Then during the course of an hour or two together we would imagine the scenes or she would act them out. When Maya left me at the end of a session I was shot out of a gun to write the new material into the novel. As time went on, I did less talking and Maya held court. After a year of this she had truly become Ava. I put her in dangerous situations and she embodied Ava’s responses, her muted passion, her madness, a reckless impulse to bolt to the edge of the cliff. Would she fall? I think it was deep fascinating work for both of us…Just to say, I’ve never tried to create a character in this manner before or since. But I could never have written Ava without Maya.

Full interview here.