May 5, 2009


My sister is a writer, a true writer. Her passion for writing can only be matched by her passion for reading. Unfortunately a passion I do not share with her, despite multiple birthday and Christmas presents bestowed upon me in the form of hardbacks and first editions. I can't seem to sit still, or make my brain sit still rather, long enough to retain the words page after page, let alone rip through an entire book. I've always been a movie type of person, and as much as I joke about questioning the act of reading when one could watch the movie, deep down I wish I had a passion for curling up with a book and putting an evening to bed with a couple hundred pages.

In all the years of my sister's book giving and books being stashed on my shelf, one actually got read. The book came, unknowingly to me, at a time in my life when it just plain made sense. I didn't know I needed to read the book until I started, but Robert Pirsig's, Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance was not only able to hold my attention page after page, but open my eyes wider word after word. I was able to relate to the father and the son both, as they embarked on their trip atop their bike and through their thoughts. Though two people rode the Honda through the highways of the US, three of us sat on the seat when I read about it.

An amazing collection of original photos of the 1968 trip of Robert and his son, Chris. It's unreal to see the real characters in full color. You get to know them so well, see their faces so clearly, and become such close friends with them that you're almost afraid to see their faces in fear that you might not recognize them.

"Now it's become apparent that this [cultural change] isn't a fad that going to go away next year or the year after. It's here to stay because it's a very serious and important way of looking at things that looks incompatible with reason and order and responsibility but actually is not... It was an intrusion on his reality. It just blew a hole right through his whole groovy way of looking at things and he would not face up to it because it seemed to threaten his whole lifestyle."

After doing a little research, I found that Robert's son, Chris, was murdered 11 years after these pictures were taken. Although I was saddened to read this, I was happy I was ignorant to this information while reading the book. Thanks to Pirsig, both of them will live forever in all of us who have read Zen, and everyone else who is lucky enough to get a copy for Christmas.

I would say that reading Zen was like reading a book for the first time, but honestly, it almost was my first book. I don't know if I've read an entire cover to cover since. I've watched a lot of movies though.

PS- Pirsig refused to sell the rights of the book to Robert Redford...... poetry.