Like a downward fountain, that’s what I’m thinking this new blog is going to be. For more than ten years I’ve been writing a book, latest working title: Uncovery: Beyond Addictions and Recovery. And I must admit I quite love my book and I give my writing practice the pride of place in my day. Every morning, with coffee, after meditation, before I go the Y—before I used to go to the Y, I should say, because that scenario was before the pandemic. I used to write at the Starbucks at Yonge and Wellesley, downtown Toronto, a window seat, my perch on the street. And now we’re just assuming all that’s changed? Something like gone forever, and we’re tired of hearing about it. I don’t know how we’re going to look back on this pandemic time, and sitting down to write seems different therefore. Seems to me like writing is significantly changing now. Also because during this decade while I’ve been all about recovering from my addictions and uncovering my well-being there’s been this global experiment of social media, which is doubling and tripling down on the bad habits of our species: the fears, the cravings, the raging. And all this, you know, is deeply connected—our old addictions and new global experiments, time and change—all really deeply interrelated. And yet a lot of the time it feels like we’re disconnecting faster than we can recognize the total connectedness.
Through the summer and fall I’ve done my writing sitting here in my sailboat’s cabin, but that won’t be for long because the boats are going to get hauled out for the winter. It’s getting colder. I bought a space heater and strung a long extension cord across the dock and up the shore to the outlet on the lamppost. The wind is strong today and from the south-east, which roils the bay, rocking the boat, causing her to tug against the lines, straining and squeaking. Through the raindrops on the plexiglass of the companionway slide I’m watching the trees across the harbour as they sober up from their chlorophyll run, showing their true reds, oranges, and yellows, some bare branches, and still infinite shades of green. Against the motion of grey clouds and the brilliantly blue sky, with angled sunlight occasionally illuminating this watery world, so very large and very, very small. It’s actually amazingly beautiful here.
Most mornings, here in Stormont County, my wife and I power-walk a portion of the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail. Back in Toronto I’m in the Taylor Creek Ravine Trail, and more likely I’m walking alone there, although the city parks that aren’t closed are crowded. Here, there’s almost nobody out, and those few that are, they always smile and say hello. We recognize each other. It’s really nice.
Before Covid, in Toronto, after the hour of writing that comes after my morning meditation practice, which is also about an hour, I’d work out all day. I entered the senior-citizen category doing crazy amounts of yoga and other exercising, more than twenty classes a week. Now it’s much less, and what I do is yoga on-line, in the bedroom, and TRX, in the basement or the garage. I miss the camaraderie of my nine-to-five at the Y, but here at the Stormont Yacht Club I have my fellow boaters. And it’s also full time for me here, often well into over-time, my being on my boat. For sure, I’m very lucky.
Still, whichever place, city or country, on land or on the water, whatever, I am still a writer. Well, I mean, some kind of a writer. Enjoyably and gratefully, yes, and extremely routinely, but I have no agent or publisher and I conspicuously lack entrepreneurial zest. But I reckon my project is pretty much pandemic-proof. This morning I’m wishing that this old boat was also leak-proof, which it most manifestly is not. It’s been raining for two days and nights, and before that I was racing her in heavy winds—on Sunday we came in second by eight seconds, and this is totally excellent, because we are first overall on corrected time with just one more race to go in the series. Winning!! Me, the captain and owner. But, seams have opened up, somewhere—I don’t know how the water’s getting in and I’m searching everywhere with my fingertips and my flashlight but I just cannot figure it out and I am truly pissed! I fight leaks, it’s a constant battle. The place where the water drips out is no indication of where it’s getting into the structure; the path can be convoluted, can be very sneaky, often is. Trying to make this cabin snug and cozy is like an obsession with me, but I really like racing, too. And this old boat has ten thousand moving parts, which intense action pulls apart.
My old book’s ten thousand words—must be more like a million now—feels like a fountain’s water coming out again now, playing with you and me now—for a conversation downwards spreading, irrigating. That’s what this blog seems to me like it’s going to do. Not just for the sake of my stories, but for yours, too. And not only our stories—for all of our spirit, for energy, for the whole generative fabric of form and emptiness. Existence! Of course!! I don’t need to know exactly who you are, but I’m curious. And I’m also wondering about the comedy that’s waiting for us somewhere around here, too. So, I’m in, and the thing’s got to grow. Oh yeah, our future’s down, down, down here germinating, as we’ll hopefully see, watching carefully, and I don’t know, it’s not up to me, but I can promise to take good care of the seeds and shoots, and I do—I do promise to.