This morning I start writing quickly. I’m impatient with Sher, her final words building to some austere Zen crescendo of non-meaning, hidding meaning, inverse meaning. She says the ritual of a Zen meal is scrupulously structured, which sounds like ruthlessly structured, and I imagine all these people sitting around a plank table, grimly chewing each bite a hundred times, observing the food as it melts from flavor to pulp and then down the throat, nobody laughing, why laugh. And then I get that itchy feeling and I fold up the book and start writing. Only a few more pages to go and then I’m done with her. Which is not to say that I don’t learn something from this, or that the time is wasted. But I need more distractions, I need more fun. Can’t we learn to pay attention without sucking all the waste from our lives? Do we have to live in the woods on nothing, friendless, like Thoreau, in order to write about a bird?