Nathan Thompson finds a way to bring Valley Girls and Buddhism together.
Long before I became a blogger, I was living the life of writing. Even though I made some small breakthroughs in the wall of being publishing before, it’s only been in the past two years, since I started blogging, that I began to truly experience the interaction between reader and writer. What I write online does have an impact on others and, unlike in printed media, that impact is fairly quick, and sometimes surprising. Don’t get me wrong, I still love books and magazines, but there’s something unique and liberating about sharing writing on the internet.
A few days ago, I wrote a post on my blog about attending to the messiness of life. In it, there was a brief mention of Valley Girls, the stereotypical self-absorbed and materialistic rich girls that seemed so common in American films and TV shows during the 1980′s. It was mostly an aside, but the reference caught the attention of one of my readers, Daniel, who left the following comment:
A “Valley Girl” reference in a Buddhist Blog. Never thought I’d see one, but then again they say you live long enough you’ll see everything. BTW you (and I) really dated yourself with that reference!
I had to smile. It was way funny when I thought about it. And suddenly, I had the idea of writing a little play featuring valley girls and Buddhist teachings. I dug up some refresher references to the ways in which Valley Girls were supposed to speak, and then set off to create some dialogue. It was entirely fun. I laughed out loud while writing the thing, something I hadn’t done in a long, long time. Writing about spirituality, and social issues — the two most frequent topics appearing on my blog — tends to be a serious affair, sometimes too serious. So, playing with Valspeak, and making jokes about Buddhism in America was a rollicking good time!
When I finished writing the play, I thought, “Maybe I should start a creative writing blog.” After all, I had gone to grad school to polish those skills, had been an editor of multiple literary journals, and had long been a lurking member of our local literary community. It seemed only natural that I’d take the step of putting some of the stuff online, but somehow, between the cognitive dissonance I had about the nature of publishing, as well as the momentum of being a blogger, the thought of a creative writing blog just hadn’t occurred to me.
After I posted the play on the new blog, and a link on my old blog, amongst the readers was the same Daniel who had started the ball rolling just a few hours before. He wrote:
See this is a very good example of interconnectedness.
I doubt anyone who reads your blog will ever meet me, but one day I made a small comment that inspired you to go ahead and right a short piece which not only managed to use a line like “I was so totally doing zazen until you two messed it up” but managed to work in Genpo Roshi and Big Mind.
Genpo Roshi is a successful American Zen teacher who is controversial for many reasons, including claims that his Big Mind method of practice is leading people to fairly quick and sometimes dramatic enlightenment experiences. But what’s more interesting in Daniel’s comment is the sense of interconnectedness he speaks of, how the internet made it possible for a man living in Brazil to inspire another man living in the United States to write a play, and begin a new blog that probably should have been started long ago. And all of this in a matter of hours.
These are quite amazing times to be a writer, perhaps a little bit akin to the days when the printing press began to allow people to publish en masse. We are fortunate in this way to live when we do, both as readers and, for those of us who practice it, as writers. There are stories around every corner. And now we can share them at any time, to anyone, across the world.
“Valley Girl illustration” by www.matusic.com
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