I wrote down everything I read and began writing my own first novel...

This blog aimed to contrast what I was reading in in 1975-79 with the same month, week and day, 30 years later in 2005-2009. I'm leaving the blog up in archive mode, blogging in real time on Live Journal--and still writing novels.

Lynne Murray's Live Journal and Bride of the Dead Blog

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanks to you who read! Plus anger—less of it—thankfully!

To those reading this blog now, thank you for your time, and I hope each of you has a great day. If it doesn’t happen to be Thanksgiving on the day when you read this, well, appreciation is a good thing for every day, and I appreciate your reading my words.

This past few weeks I’ve been studying up on anger and rage for purposes of literary research, however I myself have not actually been experiencing anger or rage—for which I am supremely grateful. I used to have a very short fuse and hot temper. But one of the unlooked-for results of decades of Buddhist practice is that my temper, while still white-hot, gets triggered less often and no longer sets off smoke alarms and forest fires.

During one time in my life I could literally rage for days, and it was not a pleasant experience—like a merry-go-round through hell. You keep buying tickets for another go-round without realizing you have any choice in the matter. Nowadays when I do get angry (and frequently that will happen when I am quite tired or sleep-deprived) a kind of built-in sprinkler system of non-attachment gets triggered and I have the choice to disengage from rage—which I always do—nowadays.

There’s a genuine adrenalin rush to be had from anger, be it righteous or un-…but the toxic cost is too high. The reason it was never a personal goal of mine to control my temper is that my own anger was invisible to me. It seems to be part of the condition of anger that a person manages to stay there by focusing on other people or situations as the cause of his or her ire. So I was first able to see in other people how they chose to keep rekindling anger rather than stopping the cycle. By the time I began to be able to see how damaging this was in myself, I was already beginning to figure out how to choose not to be angry…and again…and again. It gets easier with practice.

October 28 to November 22, 1977 I read:

Operators and Things: The Inner Life of a Schizophrenic, Barbara O’Brien
I think this was a re-read, this book was very haunting and I’ve read it many times

The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, Dorothy L. Sayers
My note is – “still soothing, amusing” so another re-read

Clouds of Witness, Dorothy L. Sayers

Whispers, An Illustrated Anthology of Fantasy and Horror, Stuart David Schiff

Gromchik & Other Tales from a Psychiatrist’s Casebook, A. H. Chapman, M.D.
Um, I didn’t like this one. My note was: “self-satisfied bastard”

Ringworld, Larry Niven

Jane Austen & Her World, Ivor Brown
Another re-read. My note is: “again—this time noticing that it’s 48 less-than-brilliantly illustrated pages, more of a skimpy essay than a book.

The Five of Me: the Autobiography of a Multiple Personality, Henry Hawksworth with Ted Schwartz
Okay, this note is from 2007, but I am guessing that Ted Schwartz is a collaborator and not one of Hawksworth’s other personalities. But wouldn't it be an intriguing idea if he were!

October 28 to November 22, 2007 I read:

A Violent Heart: Understanding Aggressive Individuals, George K. Moffatt

Rage, Michael Eigen

Anger’s Past, the Social Uses of Emotion in the Middle Ages, Barbara H. Rosenwein, Ed
Lots of fascinating stuff among the scholarly stickery weeds.