Mark Richardson’s Zen And Now web-site is now live in time for his book launch this Tuesday (9th Sept). On the news page you’ll find a list of stops on his promotional tour, where you can drop in and say hello.
As someone particularly interested in the biographical side of the Pirsigs, I can safely say there is plenty of newly researched material building on the original timeline, newer even than the two earlier drafts I saw. As a read, it’s easy and witty and well constructed, and neatly encloses several circles of Marks own life and journeys with those of Robert Pirsig. Those with an academic interest in Pirsig’s Metaphysics of Quality may find the book lightweight, but Mark does capture the essential message and mood of the original Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and makes a good case that new audiences should seek out the timeless value of ZMM – active human participation in real life embracing, but never limited by the social or intellectual constructs of, technology.
And by way of a random example of ZMM continuing to inspire educators.
Post Note (Friday 12th): Great review by Mel over on MoQ-Discuss.
Richardson has written a book that walks/rides a deliberately winding line between homage, biography, invitation to revisit both Pirsig’s thoughts, and the same type of ‘real world’ opportunity to look at things through the lens of quality. It is (deliberately, I think) light on the MOQ but clear on pointing the reader to a shared consensus of Quality.
It is a personal journey and a journalist’s second-pair-of-eyes on the world mythologized in Pirsig’s ZMM book. We get to see some of the “chorus” members of his book cast in a second light. (As those who’ve played at photography know a secondary light source can add depth and complexity and at time clarity to an image. It can hint and imply more)
His work has a hint of melancholy and a touch of his personal worries. Both add the flavor of the struggle of any seeker after what is “more.” It is smartly written and should serve to open the door to ZMM for those who are daunted by the work itself and yet it is a pleasant literary meditation on the familiar feel of the original journey for readers who’ve come to give a place in their heart to ZMM.
There are technical points that may be arguable by folks who’ve spent years considering the whole-of-it, but just as good Jazz can evoke another piece of music in it’s own terms, this book brings a fresh echo to recall the enduring original.