Living in Quiet by David Kherdian
I finally finished “Living in Quiet” but will start at the beginning again. The woman who wrote the introduction got the most important thing; that you help us relive our most heartfelt experiences and especially the positive ones. And you do it with eloquent, simple language.
You did a profound job of describing the predicaments of life and the sense of mortality and wonder of it all. and an emptiness that is not lonely. Beyond that, it is difficult to know what else there is to do. There is no cure for our “educations” as Gurdjieff expressed it. Until we somehow find a place of perfect peace we are stuck longing for it.
I spent quite a bit of time in monasteries and a number of years trying to discern whether I should join. I am attracted to that life. And I would say that your life resembles that life very closely. You have managed to avoid “the world” as Christians would think of it. Christ told his disciples, basically, that “ the world hates you because you are not of the world.” Thinking about your poems they seem to come from a place outside “the world” a place where there is time to think about it from a distance, from a place of relative non-attachment which is the recommended stance of Buddhism and Vedanta Hinduism among others.
In your interview you mentioned, “the scorn that was directed at me as a child by the established order only deepened this feeling. Hence, I have worked to become invincible.” I know what that means and it is at the core of my book coming out soon. You don’t have to be poor or an immigrant to feel unjustly marginalized as an “outsider” by “the established order”. The distinctions people create among themselves for reasons of power and superiority are myriad.
Recently I read a very original novel addressing this in dramatic ways: The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga. Among the pleasures of the servants, (outsiders), are “kicking the masters’ pets and pissing in their potted plants.”
If I am not wrong you have never been back to visit Armenia. I wonder why. With its big lake and mountains, and situated like it is, round and contained, it calls to me when I see it on the map. But you must have your reasons.
I hear it has been an old fashioned winter. They are even less kind on the senior citizens. Watch out for the ice. Warm wishes.
PS: this one of the best books of poetry you will ever own.