Friday, March 5, 2010

Conditions Change

Yesterday, I learned that one of my publishers has decided not to take one of my manuscripts.

Okay, two of my manuscripts.

This doesn't feel good -- it never does. But that's the way it goes. Sometimes it takes a while to find the right publisher, and sometimes it takes a while for the manuscript to be ready. And sometimes, some manuscripts are never ready, but through the process of development, they serve to strengthen other projects, or the author's vision.

That's the perspective I'm choosing to have.

In honor of honorable rejections, a poem that appeared in the Mindfulness Bell (Summer 2009):

Kill the Buddha haiku

A letter comes back:
Sorry, these haiku are just
not Buddhist enough.

-- Charles Suhor

Such moments offer a good opportunity to contemplate the Eight Worldly Vicissitudes.

"Monks, these eight worldly conditions spin after the world, and the world spins after these eight worldly conditions. Which eight? Gain, loss, status, disgrace, censure, praise, pleasure, & pain. These are the eight worldly conditions that spin after the world, and the world spins after these eight worldly conditions. ...

these conditions among human beings
are inconstant, impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don't charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance."

Conditions change; they most certainly do. The whole publishing world has changed, and the market into which books are now published. (I.e., it's the economy, buddha.) I will try not to resist the condition of walking down the avenue along which certain kinds of publishers set up shop and finding that they don't fill my bowl the way they used to. But it seems intelligent to explore other avenues, along which different publishers set up shop. And also to make note of the sorts of books that booksellers along those avenues find are filling their bowls.


Lokavipatti Sutta: The Failings of the World" (AN 8.6), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, June 7, 2009,

The alms bowl is available at

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