Goodbye Mr. Zen: An informal wander through Zen via James Hilton’s “Goodbye, Mr. Chips”

This little book is a short meander through Zen thought and practice intertwined with a discussion of the novella by James Hilton about an eccentric Oxford don titled "Goodbye, Mr. Chips," interwoven with a discussion of James Hilton's short but remarkable life and the durability of the "Chips" book in its various stage and screen incarnations. Hopefully it will inspire readers to find out more. More

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  • Category: Essay » Literature
  • Words: 11,110
  • Language: American English
  • ISBN: 9781310177446
About Cameron Gordon

More will be revealed. My watchword. My life. Like everyone else's life. I am nothing special. Just a writer who embraced the craft, the art and the vocation relatively late in life, with later better than never.

I have had two careers up to now, the first as a policy researcher, analyst and report writer in government (in the US) and the second as an academic lecturer and researcher (in the US, Australia, China, Singapore, Russia, Spain and the UK). These careers have been creative in their own way and have involved a lot of writing. But it took me a long while in that rather plush wilderness to embrace the identity that I have always known, and practised 'on the side', namely artist.

That's a rather pompous term to be sure, but for me it simply is devotion to one's craft, putting it first, and giving it form on a regular and daily basis. To quote the poet W.S. Merwin, who visited Ezra Pound to get this advice: " was important to regard writing as not a chance or romantic or inspired (in the occasional sense) thing, but rather a kind of spontaneity which arises out of discipline and continual devotion to something." (p. 318, Good Poems for Hard Times", Keillor, Garrison (ed), Viking: 2005). That is why I have left my former work behind and embarked on the writing life full-time.

I write both poetry (haiku in the beginning and now other forms as well), short stories, novellas and novels, and plays. I also write creative non-fiction. I have a play in early development with the Street Theatre in Canberra, Australia (where I now live as a former native New Yorker) and two poetry books nearing completion. I am currently also editing a collection of my short stories and am reworking a first (unpublished) novel. I blog regularly on a number of platforms.

My themes seem to focus on two major things: the life of cities and the tension between humanity and mechanisation. But, of course, I cover a wide range of topics, as most people do as they live a daily life and the days accumulate into experience.

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