Q: Hey there, Rodney. I just started reading State of Wonder: Awakening to Presence, and I am thoroughly enjoying it.
Q: And that it is...
Rodney: Music to my middle-aged ears.
Q: Every sentence has such astonishing, laser-like exactness. An Emily Dickinson quotation sprung to mind: "If I feel physically as if the top of my head is taken off, I know that is poetry."
Rodney: Right. Everyone reacts differently to precise and poignant writing—some are paused by it (especially when the writing has a spiritual or numinous bent), while others have the kind of physical sensation that Dickinson had. And then there are those who find themselves uttering the proverbial "Oh yes...," while perusing some remarkable piece of prose or poetry. Ironically, I have had all three of those reactions—but not at the same time, of course!
Q: Who are some writers that move you, if I may ask?
Rodney: Derek Walcott, Yannis Ritsos, and Philip Larkin, as far as poets, go. But I really don't read any contemporary nondual books, except, perhaps, for those of U.G. Krishnamurti. He has a freshness and a directness with which I resonate. I certainly don't agree with everything he says. But so much of it is solid and illuminating. As for nondual poetry, I haven't come across any that has piqued my literary sensibilities. But the fault is largely my own—I haven't had time to explore what poets are out there. I'm sorry, but Rumi rubs me the wrong way. I find his writing saccharine and bereft of subtlety. It has a spiritual glaringness that strikes me as monotonous, quite frankly. People are quick to quote him because it makes them sound mystical and profound. Anyway, elegant phrasing is not a requirement for nondual writing. If your words clear and point beyond themselves, then they will subsequently be engaging and praise-worthy. But my perusings are not always so erudite. For I read everything from sci-fi and non-fiction to Robert Ludlum and thrillers set in Washington, D.C. and the Virginia, which happen to be two of my favorite areas of the country
Q: As do I!...And I l
Q: And that it is...