Analyzing the Leaves and Missing the Forest

I’m acquainted with some very smart people, and as a general rule I like to hang out with very smart people. For one thing, the conversational levels are usually higher. And, while nearly everyone has something  to teach, in general you’re more likely to learn useful things from people who are smarter than you are. One thing you eventually learn, as the Zen masters have known for centuries, is that intellect and analysis, wonderful tools that they are, sometimes just get in the way. You can wind up focusing your energy on understanding a description of a thing, rather than the thing itself. Naturally, the Zen masters’ “thing” was  satori . Here I’m talking about story, with the following example:

There’s a writer I admire. Call her Writer A. Sexes changed or not for demonstration purposes. There are several writers I admire, and what I’m saying here could apply to almost any of them. Anyway, I like this person’s work. Not in the “I wish I’d written that” vein, since if I were writing like this person I wouldn’t be writing like me, but in the “it’s always interesting to see the world through her eyes for a while” vein.

There’s another writer I admire a little less, call him Writer B. Continue reading