nthWORD: This strikes me as the sort of book that might get banned under a dictatorship. Are you sleeping with one eye open waiting for the pin-striped suits in fat pink ties to show up at your doorstep? VV: The American Library Association keeps a list of banned books and it reads like a goddamned literary canon. I mean you could give a sixteen year old that list and say, read like it matters, and she would be transformed by that education. But I’m not going to say I’d be glad to make the list because it would be just another sign of our slide into pitchforks and fiery crosses. I’d certainly be in good company though.
Seriously, I’m not dangerous enough to be banned. It was partly frustration with my own ineffectuality that fueled Zazen. I’ve tried a lot of political solutions over the years. I’ve seen the terrain of identity politics. I’m prone to revelation, but equally prone to morbid analysis. Basically, I see the end of a road the second I step onto it. I think that conflict ended up on the page. There’s an ugly train wreck of perfectionism, utopianism, and the annals of history in my head. I believe we are at a point where old maps and strategies for change don’t work, or in some cases even apply. On the other hand, there is history and people are people. Let’s just say I’m not as dangerous as I’d like to be but I don’t mean violent as much as effective, subversive in a way that lasts. A culture unaware of its fault lines is blind. It does not attack. A culture that is healthy does not attack. But a culture aware of its mortality does, which is why something simple and harmless can suddenly become subversive. Where Zazen would fall on that line, I certainly can’t say.