People occasionally ask me who is my favorite author. In fact, I can’t be sure because when I try to take the measure, I change my mind. To try and suss out my all time favorite, I created a rule. Answer the question as you would if you were in your best mental space.
It’s clear after 2000 books, and countless other materials that my preference for a writer depends on my state of mind. For instance, when I’m angry or depressed (usually because someone has called me crazy), I think of Charles Bukowski. It’s not that I read Bukowski to become more depressed. No, that wouldn’t be smart. Instead, I read him because I can feel that he has experienced depression, characterized it well, and found an outlet; in that I feel comfort. A favorite quote of mine from Barfly, “Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.”
And for instance, if I’m having a moment of paranoia, my favorite book feels like it is The Magus by John Fowles because in my darkest hours I actually thought I was caught in a similar ploy. O to my poor friends who suffered with me on that journey, thank you, you are e’er appreciated with all of my heart. But I digress, my point is that I read books like these to meditate on how our minds can warp under various pressures. And that alleviates the pressure for me somehow.
So with that in mind, I’ve come to the conclusion that my favorite author is Herman Hesse, writer of Siddhartha. I read this book at Lakeside School in David Beare’s religion class in 11th grade, I think, and became a practicing Buddhist at the Sakya Monestary on 1st and 83rd a week later. I wish I hadn’t turned my attention away from meditation for so many years, but I’m glad to have found it again, as well as my old copy of the book.
/I actually stopped by the monastery yesterday, after writing this. Here’s a photo/
While I was trying to come up with an answer to this question, I wished that my favorite author was my father, Eric Redman, but for some reason I just can’t seem to stick with The Dance of Legislation. Winks, hugs, and kisses to you, Dad. Thanks for teaching your boy to read, and helping him learn to manage his mental space.