Carmen Flynn

I read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance at an senior college class and was lucky to have a brilliant instructor and class to help me understand the book. After graduation my job took me around the world in foreign assignments and I always had a copy of the book ( along with a list of favorites) and read it from time to time. In my quest for knowledge and trying to find a meaning on life, Pirsigs's book was one of the closest to bring me some enlightenment (Henry David Thoreau and Robert Graves are good ones too). But nothing comes close to Pirsig's writing. Although there are alot of unsolved areas and some points of disagreement, that I hope to understand better by reading on these pages.

Twelve years later, in 1992 in the most unusual circumstances, I came across LILA. It was hard to believe that such a long time has gone by. I was engaged and planned to get married as soon as I came back from this assignment, which by the way was in China. The man who gave me the copy of the book as a gift was a nice gentleman from Canada. We were in the same hotel and he went up to his room and brought down his copy which he had just bought in Malaysia. His name was John, and I remember that in his nice smile one of his front tooth was over the other one in the most peculiar way. He knew Beijing quite well and took me to eat the real chinese duck, very greasy. We talk about values, quality, morals with such an easy that it seemed that I have known him all my life. As busy as I was I only had so little time to keep on reading LILA, I just could not put it down. I met John every morning at the breakfast room before each of us went off different ways to complete our assignments. John was married and I was engaged. One night after dinner he calls me over the phone it was late and I was reading the book. He just wanted to tell me that knowing me and those two weeks had been and would be unforgettable. I told him more or less the same thing. After we hung up, I started to feel an urge to go and see him. At his room! But, what about my engagement? How could I look at myself in the mirror and trust myself. Why was all of these happening to me? Right after he calls, my fiancÚ calls halfway across the world. After both calls, I sat there with LILA in my hands and started to think about 'Dynamic Quality' and 'Static Quality'. My fiancÚ represented SQ and John represented DQ. But, John and his wife represented SQ. It was immoral for me to brake these SQ (Both John's marriage and My commitment to get married). It was all so clear, so crisp and painless. It was beautiful. I did went ahead and married my fiancÚ and we have two beautiful daughters. We can't imagine life without each other. I did not keep in touch with John, although i often think about him with profound care.

Among other things, Pirsig's philosophy has help me in decision making. I am still searching and will keep on searching for a while, but I have found 'hope' in his writing. I hope I didn't bore you all with these mushy story. Right now I am very busy raising my two girls and studying in my own. My husband, who is from England is in a foreign assignment in South America.


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