I am on day five, or maybe day six, of a ten-day retreat at a Zen Buddhist practice center in a remote, Shangri-La-like part of the West Coast that I have never visited before. This is the year that I plan to do everything I've always wanted to do, and so it was time to fulfill my Beatnik-fueled teenage dreams! (See: The Dharma Bums). Every afternoon after lunch I walked a mile each way down to the sea, through a lush valley past fields of flowers and horses, to get some reception on my Blackberry (I can get email halfway down the beach but can't make calls), but then yesterday while we were washing dishes a friend told me where I could find the students' computer. So here I am. Everything is so beautiful and elegant and challenging! Right now I am chatting about conceptual art with this brilliant young monk and I am going to be late for zazen (meditation), and that'll never do, so that's all for now. More later, of course.