I’m going to need a little motivation here, people. It’s nearly four o’clock on a Monday afternoon. I’m sitting in my office skimming over the buddhoblogosphere. Some stuff is popping out at me, but nothing altogether too urgent or interesting. Then again, I’m having a helluva time keeping my mind in order. Strewn about my desk are scraps of paper. Outlines. Post-It notes. A cup of coffee. My laptop. A chapter of my dissertation all marked to hell in red ink. Results of a survey I did. And books. Books, books, books. That’s right, I’m writing. Writing like a madman, trying to get this dissertation under my belt. Whew. It’s hard work, let me tell you. To answer the questions that everyone’s been asking, it’s going okay, thanks. So far I’ve got a decent draft of the first three chapters totaling a hundred and twenty pages (I think) including footnotes. The last two chapters will probably be at least fifty pages. This seems short to me, or at least it seems short to the insecure kid in me who thinks he’s inadequate. I tell people who’ve never written this much before that I’m writing a near two-hundred page work and they look at me like I’m nuts. I feel a little nuts. This is such engaging and simultaneously isolating work. I feel like I haven’t talked to a soul in days. I mean really talked to someone. Except my wife of course. She’s great. Wonderfully supportive and beautiful and I really wish I was hanging out with her playing video games right now rather than trying desperately to push another few pages out of my computer this afternoon. So I’m looking for a little motivation. I think I’m coming up on it now. I mean, I’m in the home stretch. And this is the part where I get to talk almost exclusively about my own ideas. Where I get to act like a philosopher and be all full of myself as if I know what the hell I’m talking about. Which, supposedly, I do. I mean, surely I’ve learned something in my studies. If not, what a waste of seven years and a whole helluva lot of money. So I know something. There. I said it. I know something. And I don’t care how arrogant that makes me sound.
Specifically, I know a thing or two about the development of American Buddhist communities and their attendant ritual practices. I know a thing or two about how self-important geeks like me ought to be studying this phenomenon. And how small the world’s getting. And how the smaller the world gets, the less likely it becomes that there’ll ever be a fully independent and unique American Buddhism.
Chew on that one for a bit. I know I have to.
Anyway. I’m rambling. And if you’ve stuck by me this long, you deserve a present. So. Here ya go!