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Tim Lott


I wanted to interview Tim Lott because of an article he wrote for Aeon magazine about how Zen Buddhism helped him deal with the struggles in his life. Obviously, I am always seeking ways to heal my own mind and I thought that talking with Tim might help.


He is an author. I'd read his Rumours of a Hurricane when it came out and remember thinking it was very good. To celebrate his agreement to do an interview, I got Under the Same Stars, which I have just finished. More about that in a bit.


As for the interview, I really enjoyed it. I would have liked to have talked ho him more. I'd have liked to sit in a pub for a few hours. I like his brusque curmudgeonliness and his refusal to agree just for the sake of it. In a way, a difficult conversationalist, but entertaining and smart.


My mind wasn't healed. Though I do accept his stance that life changes and then you die... I mean, I accept that that is the case and when you deeply accept that, it is surprisingly liberating.


On healing, Under the Same Stars is a book about healing and I enjoyed it thoroughly. The characterisation was superb. Best, the way he writes of emotional states. I sent Tim an email when I finished it and what I said was that I don't think anyone is as good at describing the complexity and confusion of emotion. It was... like shining a light into a dark space. There is humour, too, and pain and profundity and some incredibly beautiful almost lyrical writing.


I wanted to pick out these two quotes I took from the book. I think they express deep wisdom.


He said that every day was filled with mistakes. They can’t be escaped. The point is not to let them dent your courage.


‘People aren’t grateful any more. They’re out of control. They want everything. You can’t have everything. One choice always destroys another.’

‘And not only for yourself,’ said Salinger.

‘No. For everyone else, all the time,’ said Ladybird.


Courage despite screwing up and the dreadful knowledge that whatever you choose means you and everyone else will lose something.


This reaches deeply into my thoughts about animals, about predation, about death, about leaving animals be and about the wonder of seeing them. It touches everything. You can't walk through the world without harming others. You just can't. And they can't help but harm you. And so you must be grateful for anything good, because the bad is inevitable. We just can't accept that these days. We expect wonderland. And there real insanity lies.

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maplekey4
Aug 24, 2023

I watched the interview a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed it - I liked the way he came across. And I am very glad to get the link to the article. Just finished reading it. It provides some great background to the interview -- more on Zen and Watts. Also glad to hear about his fiction writing.

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