back to being Rip…

Photo: freeparkingI'm reading Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's Finding the Flow, along with Natalie Goldberg's Wild Mind and Tim Robinson's Stones of Aran. All together: Wild Mind when I wake, Finding the Flow in the car, and Tim Robinson at bedtime. Alain de Botton's book on the Pleasures and Sorrows of Work arrived from Amazon yesterday, and I'll open it Monday, but in the meantime I'm considering reading a book I'd abandoned after thirty pages two years ago, Ray Croc's Grinding it Out. At that time I'd shut the book to open another, the Four Hour Workweek, and I'd even gone some distance with the advise I took from it, nursing a midlife crisis which departed recently, leaving me restored like after the flu.

I've enjoyed my bouts of flu, having always fed them well. I fed this other flu well too, with every indulgence it asked for, and, as with every flu, I took Sujaya down with me. She didn't complain, but I've never looked so deep into her lovely eyes as to find there what I fear. She's human, and a good one.

Last month I went to the Aravind Eye Hospital and its manufacturing arm, Aurolabs. They showed me a documentary on their founder, Dr.Venkataswamy. He died three years ago, aged 86, and until his last days he appeared for work every morning at seven. A month before I visited his hospital an incident occurred in my main factory which proved cathartic (I'm sorry to state it like in the horoscope columns). I should have gone down in that incident, but I seem to have fled upward.

I'd figured a retirement would be good for me, and that I'd go see the world at my slow pace. I read Amitav Ghosh and went to Cambodia and to Mauritius and planned a visit to Egypt, and I watched Kurosawa and walked about Tokyo and Kyoto for two weeks. I wrote a bit and believed I should write much more and searched in Istanbul and Kandy and Colombo for the sense of how Pamuk and Ondaatje had let fall their minds on hometown. For twenty years I'd been sunk in my work, had been lost in its slumber, been a van-Winkle. When I woke three years ago and went loafing I thought it would be fun, but it seems better to go back to work, to be lost up there another twenty years, to being Rip again.

This week in the office I used snatches of free time to progress a para at a time through Jim Collins' Good to Great, and finished today the chapter on Level 5 Leaders. In the evening I lingered a long time on that English poet's line, that there's plenty of sleep after the journey is done. You may know the poem: Reveille.

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