Discover more from Christopher Titmuss - The Buddha Wallah
Dear Facebook Friends, Can you recommend a book?
Dear Facebook Friends
Can you help? I would appreciate it if you kindly recommend to me a certain type of book to read, either fiction or non-fiction. Let me give you the background so that you get the picture.
I had the privilege of spending 10 years in the East, six of them as a Buddhist monk, having made the overland hippy trail in April 1967 and returned home in May 1977, via Korea, West and East coast of the USA. During this period, I filled up rather a lot of diaries and sent home around 350 letters. My mother kept every letter with a rubber band around every bundle of letters for each year. Of course, I censored these letters for the peace of mind of my parents. My mother made me promise that I would write a memoir of these years abroad before she died. She was 57 at the time of her request – in May 1977.
I said “Yes, Yes.” I put the diaries and bundles of letters in my father’s two wartime suitcases and left them up in the loft for about 25 or 30 years without even bothering to open a diary or take off the rubber band around the letters.
About five years ago, I decided I had to make a start with my mother having reached her mid 80’s. I started systematically going through the diaries and letters with a view to writing the memoir. I wrote about 65,000 words of the first draft – a bare bones account of the flow of events during those years. At that point, I estimated that the memoir would come to around 160,000 words (about a 300 page book), once I put the flesh on the skeleton of events.
Then I lost interest in going over the past. I can’t think of anything less important than the self. It is also slightly ironic. If I may say, I have written around 15 books dealing with mindfulness, meditation, liberation and the emptiness of I, me and my. And I promised my mother to write a memoir that will be riddled with I, me and my in every chapter, on every page and every sentence.
Fast forward to November 2011. My mother is now 91 years old living in a senior citizens home in Brisbane. Australia – not far from the home of my sister, Judy. My mother doesn’t forget to remind me ( yet again) that I promised to complete this memoir before she dies. Various friends keep asking me how far along have I got with this book.
At this point, I would appreciate any suggestions from Facebook friends of any books you have read that you love – written in the first person, fiction or non-fiction. These books would have a travel theme, letters of reflection, a spiritual exploration, a pilgrimage or inner inquiry. The content of the book would contain something deeply personal from the author with a sense of the poetic revealing an intimacy of what is shared and the sense of adventure.
I am currently re-reading enthusiastically several wonderful books on my bookshelves at home that roughly meet the above criteria. Such books provide me with inspiration, fresh ideas and stimulate creative processes. I am reading again:
A Time of Gifts (a walk through Europe in 1933). Patrick Leigh Fermor
An Interrupted Life. Etty Hillesum
In a Strange Room, Damon Galgut
Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho
What am I doing here? Bruce Chatwin.
I feel I need to read more books as described above as it is such a shift in writing from non-self to self, from Dharma teaching to a Dharma story. Upon my return from India in late February, 2012, I will once again throw myself into the past to complete this memoir. I am looking forward to the challenge of completing the recollection. And also a dutiful son will please his old lady!
Please run your eye across your bookshelves. All you need to do is send to me the title of the book and the name of the author. I will check it out. You can send to me the title/author on Facebook or by email to email@example.com
THANK YOU. Love c.