Wai Zandtao

SCIENCE FICTION WRITER

This will be a record of Wai Zandtao's writing - check footnotes for writings that are not sci-fi.:-

September 12 2017

Awakened Writer

This is an extraordinary claim. It reminds me of that crazy man who said he was something as a writer in Hollywood – I have no reason to disbelieve him except many people make claims in Thailand. He was clearly searching, and not finding. I spent one night listening to what he knew about the world of writing, and then the next night I started to try to help him with his search. At every word he just screamed “Arrogant”, after the first few I knew it was time to go but he just did not stop. Unfortunately I was putting on bike gear so it took a time to escape the fool but it was just so horrible.

So when you read this you can scream “arrogant”, and do I have an answer? No. OK I have the website which one person described as prolific, maybe it is – but “a lot” only means commitment. Am I an awakened writer? Yes. Why? Read, that is enough. Sadly for most people it isn’t. We do not live in a world where people’s judgement is valued, we live in a world where people’s judgement is fashioned by business. A writer is someone who is published, does the publicity run, and …. all that stuff. I know little to nothing of that world. I was introduced to it by the Arts people – they had arrived at the Arts Centre because it was supposedly not about commercialisation. They were right to reject all that but how did they go on to live? Sadly because of my immaturity I will never know as we lost contact.

To me good people had rejected commercialisation, and that feeling has stayed with me to this day – or as the crazy man would say I am too arrogant. In addition I am too old, I am writing for the world and it is on the net – that is enough. Of course it isn’t, but I am writing for me more, I suppose.

But writing is about what is written – not about what the publishers want to market. Is Jeffrey Archer a writer? I doubt it but he sells books that people like. What I write about is deeply important but does my writing help people understand – I don’t know. The other aspect of writing that I don’t have is status. Much of my writing is spiritual but I don’t wear an “orange robe” – or equivalent. So my status is not going to attract anyone to my writing. So I am left only with what is written. That is how writing should be assessed but we live in such a market-created world that such assessment is rarely exercised. And there is one important aspect of that marketing that again I don’t fit into – fashion. Marketing creates fashion. With the Arts people I was on the edge of fashion, as they were, because they were young – fashion is targeted at the young and those who associate themselves with that youthfulness. Young people rejecting the commercialisation are in a way connected to that fashion as they are of the time of that fashion. I am not of any current time, I am not even of the country whose language I am writing in. But all that doesn’t matter because I am a writer.

And now the other part of that arrogance – an awakened writer. Who is awakened? Eckhart. Why? For me I read him, listen and know, for many he says he is a spiritual teacher and commercially he is accepted as such. I make no comparisons with his wisdom but deservedly he found money connected to his awakening – and an audience. And he was much younger when he started out as a spiritual teacher. Despite my issues with his transcendence Brad (Warner) has a lot to offer, he has been published though – publishing is important because they control distribution. And what is distribution? How most people decide what to read.

People like to connect in a writing world, this is legitimate. It is our world, we are ONE. But …. Anyway this is hypothetical, but knowing about a writer to some extent is legitimate. Hypothetical but a blog maybe is enough???

Awakened – I first knew I was a writer just after I hit bottom. As soon as I had started awakening what did I turn to – writing. But what was I writing about, what could I write about – nothing. I knew nothing. I was immature spiritually but I was also immature in terms of the world. I had not lived a childhood of adversity or suffering that could give me worldly wisdom, I was repressed. Whatever it is that is unexpressed wisdom was not battling with authority, was not learning about life when I was young – it was repressed and spent hours walking. There’s a book!!! Despite the wealth of experiences – jhanas, I was not wise or experienced enough to be a writer. I had to learn. And my compassion told me how I should learn – teaching, not an Orwell or Hemingway “learn about life in the trenches” but I did learn some. But when I was teaching I was not teaching to become a writer, I was teaching to be a teacher – that is legit. Yet it can also be seen authentically as a spiritual childhood You have to be something to get experience, to get wisdom. A writer can be a writer, seek experience to get wisdom to write. Or you can be something else, get experience, and then be a writer afterwards. But you must be something – mindfulness. Whilst I was teaching I only occasionally had interests in writing – two novels in 30 years. Once I stopped teaching writing started – long before I realised I was a writer.

Only in the last year or so did I realise I was a writer although I had been writing much. But it is only now that I have realised I am an awakened writer, that was what my awakening was for – writing, and that although I had matured previously I had to awake as a writer for it to be complete. My life was meant for the writing, and not this teacher retiring early to be a Buddhist writing blogs.

There is an important aspect of understanding the awakened writer that I picked up from 5 Gateways – being an awakened writer 24/7. Immediately after hitting bottom awakening in Chiswick was part-time, I was earning a living in the cubicle. Whilst my life at the time was only concerned with developing the awakening it was not 24/7. Belgium was 24/7 but awakening compassion had pushed me into child care and teaching. Whilst that was a 24/7 decision at the time, writing was still there. After a couple of years into teaching I was a teacher 24/7 but that 24/7 was so horribly compromised by the 1%-system there is no way I could call that teaching 24/7. Yes I was doing the job 24/7 but I was not teaching 24/7 because teachers are never allowed to be genuine educators. Once retired I was 24/7 me. My awareness of where I was going was all over the place, it was awakening trying to catch up. There was meditation and Buddhism, getting rid of teaching, making a healthy lifestyle, and all of this was done through writing but I didn’t see myself as a writer; that happened a year or so ago. And it was only this last week or so that I realised why – and now I am an awakened writer. 24/7.

Awakened writer. Arrogant …. , how can anyone answer that? Far more importantly I know I am an awakened writer. You, do you believe it? Read, a writer can only be understood in the reading – not status nor credentials.

July 1 2017

Have just had an amazing two days of writing - Ch 3 Honiti - sadly without the bells and banjos; some elation though.

Yesterday I woke up great after beginning with a terrible night. I went to bed and I couldn’t stop hiccoughs – maybe an hour. After the body calmed I slept deeply. Two dreams. The first, my father wanting to accept me – acceding, maybe he always did but couldn’t show it. I don’t understand, he is dead and I didn’t want to show forgiveness but was empathic to his accession. Maybe I wiushed he had shown it in life after my efforts.

Then a second dream. A return to Aber, I signify that as being looking for meaning often seeking it in academia. I did my usual of going back getting drunk but this time not attempt at academia. Went into a shop to buy bread and they took my credentials, I said I don’t have to show them.

I awoke and was comfortable in myself. I ignored my routine of Chi Gung and meditation (maybe paid for that) and wrote – maybe two hours one session stopped dozed and then again. Maybe 3/4000 words. But I got into good stuff about love.

I walked.

About midnight I had a bath and couldn’t sleep but tried. Woke after a short doze and couldn’t sleep. Meditated then gave up and wrote till I dropped. Went to bed couldn’t sleep – then had 4 hours. Did Chi Gung and meditation. Sat down in the study. Wanted to write not walk, and rattled a load off – not as interesting as the good love stuff. But I was shattered before I started writing yet still had to write. Finished still shattered but had to teach. Came back and wrote again. Not as much.

And then this blog. Am happy to call myself a writer now, it is what I do. I don’t think of myself as studying Buddhism any more but writing. Big change. Interesting I never retired to write. I have written a lot but it’s been all over. Maybe I had to find that I was writing.

June 3 2017

I have just watched two very different movies and I cannot sleep - 03.00 am usual problem of wai tong - andropause.

The first movie was silly and I was tired after a massage Jack Lemmon's "How to murder your wife" - 60s sexist and funny. But more importantly I had downloaded "Lost Horizon". I have watched it before but had missed its purpose - the High Lama was trying to preserve qualities of life whilst the world was killing itself. I went to bed realising I had been forgetting the timelessness of writing, and got up to write this blogentry.

I am ageing, and daily I struggle with the impact of wai tong with its sleep issues. But what concerned me when I lay down is how little determination I am now giving to that which is timeless. I had an excellent Summer of writing, and yet with just two hours of teaching - 2 days one hour each, the writing has dried. Not completely - I have done one long Pirsig Platform and have begun Honiti but it is maybe days since I have written. It is not helped by the vainglorious hope I have for Corbyn.

I started The Arico Chronicles with no idea where it was going leading to a coherent storyline in the end. It began with the mountains and a sense of depression, and the importance of chronicles although I did not know what they were when I started writing.

Honiti starts with love. I am not widely experienced in love, have never managed a lasting relationship. But I do believe I know something of love. Yet I have no idea where it is going.

I got a bit angry today and I need to be careful. I have a good relationship with my massage lady who is pleasant. But today she started giving me advice. Her English is the same as my Thai, and she focussed on "activity". I had told her about my sleep issue and the hormone tension in my body so she proceeded to advise me. I told her about the importance of my writing although she doesn't know what I write about. She advised me to go shopping, to listen to some local open air Thai music - often played by schoolkids. It ws like she was reading off a catalogue of things I reject doing. I told her I was happy, I meditate sometimes, study and write - and go swimming and walk by the lakes. Personally I think that is well balanced, and I think I am unlucky with the wai tong. Yet compared with most my body is doing OK. I was angry; I had told her about y writing and it didn't matter to her.

That brings me back to Lost Horizon and anicca - timelessness. The truth is timeless, and my writing is the way I express truth. Oh how I wish it could be read but then I am not willing to do anything about that but if I have learned any truth I have to put it out there. I am lucky to have writing and I do nothing, and use dabbling teaching as an excuse. Shame on me.

May 12 2017

I feel good as I have just finished The Arico Chronicles. Looking at the last entry of this bioic I realise that this Summer holiday (bpit-term) I have worked well as Wai Zandtao. I can’t now recall how much of Sannadee there was to have finished but I was only half way through the first part of Arico. I had to remember where I was, adjust some of it and put it all together. The second part has been very quick – at the most a month. I am surprised, I sort of feel elated but not bells and banjos but it is a good feeling. If I ws younger I would have been feeling real elation. I think the second part of Arico has been much more about ideas than usual. I kind of know writing should be more about characters and situations and writing about detail – Pirsig’s brick. But how much of that is the way selling is done, and how much is quality writing? I will never know as I am unlikely to meet publishing and even less likely to bend my ways. Anyway contrived quality is not what I am after, I just hope there is sufficient quality in what I like doing. I hope someone gets to read this.

But I do enjoy the telling of these stories, I never really know where they are going – collective anarchism indeed 😊

I have been feeling I would like to develop the Pirsig Platform but who knows? I don't feel a new book at the moment, and there is much unfinished elsewhere.

Yes this is good, I feel good.

April 25 2017

Musing on the Muse - This last month of writing has been productive and has given me an overall sense of satisfaction. In terms of achievement I have finished Sannadee, and am into the second part of The Arico Chronicles.

There is however no presence, I miss this "muse" experience. To try to explain. When I was in the Summer of Kirramura I would live for the writing which started about midnight. I would be waiting to go to bed because I knew I could lie there and the presence - muse - would come. The room would fill with presence, I would feel a deep stillness, and then start hammering the keyboard. It was powerful.

Since I have retired meditation and writing have become my raison d'etre - not specifically scifi (see below); it has not all been "creative writing". Hence the patchiness of Wai Zandtao. Kirramura gave me a real buzz - a strong memory. Writing now doesn't give me a buzz, but rather writing has given me a long drawn-out sense of satisfaction. There is the muse, that is good, but none of the presence. Of course I am a lot older, and in old age the muse does not elicit youthful reactions.

I draw a parallel with meditation. Throughout my life meditation was a hit-and-miss affair that gave me bells and banjos, then meditation became part of my daily life in retirement. As a result the level of my daily life was raised but I lost the bells and banjos. Creativity is now similar. There is no feeling of presence - muse, no elation when writing or when a book was finished, but a general writing satisfaction (this is particularly good as my sleep has been screwed by metabolism issues in old age).

April 15 2017

Since finishing Sannadee I have been working on two projects:-

To continue writing The Arico Chronicles
To finish putting "The Parables of Hexoto" online

Even though I wrote "The Parables of Hexoto" maybe 40 years ago, typing it up puts a storyline in my mind. I don't like it, and prefer to keep one story at a time. So I am just concentrating on Arico.

I started Arico whilst I was still writing Sannadee. I am sure two story lines delayed the finish although I cannot say I concentrate on scifi. I hope to do so now given the state of the anarchic world we live in. it was difficult to bring together all that I had done on Arico, and it is only now that I am on top of it and moving forward with the storyline. With the Gathering I am coming to the end of the first part of Arico, and feel quite good about it.

April 2017

You have been linked to here because I have just finished Sannadee. Ignore this waffle and go straight to the story.

Sannadee began as far back as June 2004. I had just finished a year in the UK dealing with probate after the deaths of my parents - I needed a holiday after being in the UK for that long. I had been going to Thailand since January 2000, and I started a 3-month tour in Koh Samet. Sitting in a bungalow watching the waves sparkle in the moonlight began my work on Baengoi as Samsarapho. I retired early in June 2006, and with the freedom studying and writing just poured out (see May 2010 below and "other writings" belower).

In between the different writing I completed Baengoi, and from what I recall almost immediately began work on Sannadee. Work on it was intermittent even starting The Arico Chronicles meanwhile. I have just completed Sannadee. I am not so sure the intermittent writing is good for the flow of the story, but in truth I don't know when the storyline was broken.

I get frustrated with what I see happening around me. When I think of all the years in teaching, and how much more right-wing and dangerous the world is today I start to write. I keep saying I should focus more on stories as they are timeless - but I don't.



May 2010

Writing started for me a couple of years after leaving uni. I started work in a computing firm and learnt that I was not suited to the rat race. Working for them was a lady, Wendy, to whom I will always be indebted (as were many). She spent time with a drunken child and for that I will always be grateful. Apart from opening up a repressed little middle-class boy she encouraged me to write.

At that time I was spiritually homeless, and I latched onto an Arts Centre that had setup in the Elephant. In my search at that time I made it a home but in truth I am not an artist-writer, I do not wake up of a morning saying "I must write", "where is my muse?"etc. That would have been appropriate for the Arts Centre, and I played a bit of that game (because I was lost), but it is not me. Through Wendy's generous encouragement I started Science Fiction writing, and I was published in the Arts Centre magazine. I think the story was "Morphon", if it was I hope to put it online but at the moment it is just typed.

I drifted away from the Arts Centre as I started to work in Child Care, but the writing continued sporadically. I have no doubt that the initial passion for writing, that produced a surfeit at the time that gave me the self-pretense that I was a writer, was due to my repressed middle-class upbringing. However throughout my life I have written in one way or another so it is not totally me but it is a part - and that is fine to me.

After my first success (?) with Morphon I wrote "The Parables of Hexoto", and I finished that a couple of years later. I still considered myself a writer first, and child care second, so I sent this to a publisher. I got the manuscript returned with a polite rejection - I think Hodder and Stroughton. This wasn't a kick-in-the-teeth but it was enough to dissuade me from writing as a career. Why should life be so easy? I didn't take this as a condemnation of my abilities as a writer but as a statement that I was not commercial. I have never seen these two as the same, and validation by saleability has never been a validation I have sought - however I would have liked the money! (I only have "The Parables of Hexoto" as a manuscript at the moment, but am in the process of putting it online.)

At this stage I got sucked into work, booze and other spiritual directions (other than writing), and in my early 30s I wrote Lidors - this has been nowhere other than my website. This was written at an important change in my life, as was the next one "the Winds of Kirramura" - written about 8 years later just before I started to travel. (The other short stories were written before Lidors). Since then I have only written academically, for an M Ed or similar.

In July 2004 I began writing again at a big change in my life. In this last year both my parents have died, and I have taken time out - 10 weeks travelling out East - well not travelling much, just stopping in a few places a while. Over the last 11 years I have travelled with my work, and people have said to write about what has happened to me. I think nothing has happened that makes the stories people want to read, but I have learnt.

In May 2006 I retired from teaching sick of the careerism and profiteering. For 4 years I have studied on my own, blogged, developed my teaching site at Matriellez, and done some writing. I think there is more to come.

Wendy wherever, ifever you are, thank you.



Other writings:-
Books:- Treatise,
Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Zandtao,
Ginsukapaapdee,
Matriellez.