Part travelogue, part meditation on an author and his work, Zen and Now is a tribute to a beloved American book and the landscape that inspired it.
Since it was first published in 1974, Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance has become a modern classic, a beautifully constructed blend of travel narrative and philosophical inquiry that has moved generations of readers. One of those readers was journalistMarkRichardson, who after rediscovering the book at middle age, decided to retrace Pirsig’s journey. Fromthe back of his own motorcycle, Richardson investigates what happened to the reclusive Pirsig, his family, and the people described in the book in the years after its surprising success.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of Religion eBook: Zen and Now|
|Release Date: 09-09-2008|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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Zen and Now
I can tell from the sign by the bank, without turning my head from the road, that it’s nine thirty in the morning. The sign flashes to show it’s 80 degrees, and the heat’s already coming through my jacket. It’s going to be hot today. That’s okay—on a motorcycle, heat is always welcome.
The small town passes, and I’m back among the fields. The bike’s running well this morning, and both of us are stretching out a little, starting to relax on the road now that this trip’s finally under way. You’ll have to excuse me if I think of her sometimes as if she’s a person. It’s just me now, me and my old bike.
I’m on Highway 55, the original road that runs up from Minneapolis toward Minnesota’s northwest. This is an old road, made from concrete with flattened stones in the mix for hardness and ridges every few dozen feet that set up a clickety-clack sound like a locomotive on its tracks.
There aren’t many cars on this stretch of highway because anybody who’s really trying to get somewhere is on the interstate that runs alongside a couple of miles away. Sit on the inter- state and you don’t need to stop till you run out of gas. In fact, on the interstate, if you didn’t have to pull over every few hours and pay at the pump, there’d be no reason to ever slow down or even speak to anyone. Truckers do it all the time. Stay awake for long enough and you’ll be at the coast by Wednesday.
Not on this road, though. Trucks stay off this road. Clickety-clack. There’s been a track here for centuries, paved sometime in the 1920s or ’30s to better link farmers with their ...