Interview made out of emails between
Dennis Marshall and DC
IT all started with...
From: Dennis Marshall
Had to resend this to your alternate email address.
Hello from Crestone CO.
I just ran across the Web page while doing www research to find a Japanese publication, Ono and Hibino's Godaisan (Tokyo, 1942), for a project I'm working on.
Interesting to catch all the names from way back when (blasts from the past).
I have just read the Maggie Kress interview. Did I pick up a minor error? It said something about added material 25 March 05. That's only three days ago. Maybe it's correct, but top of same page referred to March 2004. Probably a typo.
I see the Crestone Zen folk from time to time (both CMZC and Steve/Angelique), but mostly socially. Steve Allen's group poured concrete the day before yesterday for the foundation to their new temple.
Busy now but I'll check the Web page from time to time. I'm traveling a lot these days (in a couple of weeks to Maui, where my wife's daughter has just given birth to twins; then over to UK, where I have two sons and four grandchildren). But I'm here sometimes. Let me know if you're ever in Crestone.
I have also been reading the FK interview. Long time since I
saw F, but I visited her in Santa Fe with Jerome when Jerome was
Fantastic to hear from you.
Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2005 13:31:05 -0700 (Mountain Standard Time)
Thanks for the reply, David. Sure, use the messages if you wish.
I have been here in Crestone since 1991. I first moved here to practice at Crestone Mtn. ZC. After leaving, I built my own house (Jerome was here the week we poured the foundation).
I was first at SFZC in late 1971, I think (my first sesshin was the one during which Suzuki-roshi died). The three people who, later, sat tangaryo with me at Tass. included Steve Allen--now my neighbor in Crestone; the other names I forget). I was still at Tass. for the pp when you were head monk.
As to shared memories--I remember your weeks of silence at Page Street--corresponding in writing!
Man--you really NEEDED to write those two books. [three]
Now I'm engaged on one of my own. But perhaps more about that later.
By chance, just this morning I had a phone call from Jerome, who keeps sending me materials on China to spur me on in my project.
Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2005 13:32:58 -0700 (Mountain Standard Time)
It's snowing like crazy today, here in the Rockies.
DC back to DM:
I was in Crestone a year ago visiting with Paul Shippee, Steve, Dan and folks at Dick's place, saw Rowena Pattee, met with Trungpa students to see video in progress on the Karmapa I think. Next time I hope to see you.
At 11:44 AM 4/1/2005 -0700, Dennis wrote:
My memories of Suzuki-roshi are slight--but nonetheless treasured. He
was already ill when I first went to Page Street.
DC: Wow. Your were faster than I had hoped for.
A question. Where were you born and what happened up to the time you came to ZC and what of it might have made you interested in Zen? - you seem to be adept at abbreviated telling.
Why? In brief: I was down and almost out, but was just beginning to scratch my way back.
I was born in England (1931). Had a career as a journalist (Fleet Street, London) and then went to Jamaica to help midwife Jamaican independence for the Colonial Office. Information officer--sort of junior diplomatic corps. But the bureaucracy got to me. I jumped ship (I was also at the end of a marriage: two young sons), became freelance BBC correspondent, etc. etc., and hightailed it to California, arriving in Haight-Ashbury the year before the hippie thing came into existence (1964). Lived the beatnik existence in Haight for several years, had a breakdown, was hospitalized, then halfway-housed (while in the halfway house, met Steve Weinstein, doing his selective service stint as a counselor, I believe--though that isn't what took me to Zen Center). A year or two later I found my way to Zen Center. A good job I did.
The first time I heard of SFZC was some years earlier (probably 1968). In the Haight, I ran the Weedpatch (at Haight and Masonic--a sort of head shop, though didn't deal in drugs: international tobacco store; in those days, we pretty much all smoked cigarettes). One day Tony Patchel came in as a customer. Mentioned ZC. I was mildly curious, but it wasn't until later, around 1970, with all the New Agey stuff going on-- Gaskin; TM; Yogi Bahjan; gurus galore--when I was shopping around and being turned off by most-all groups, that I went to ZC. I didn't know my ass from my elbow, or Buddhism from Hinduism. In fact, the entire "mysterious East" thing scared me. But I liked what I saw in Suzuki-roshi.
That, I think, must be more than enough. An inglorious past. But perhaps not as untypical of Zen students at that time--or some of them--as I sometimes think. I was of course a bit older than most new students.
As to the abbreviated telling, as you put it: well, I was (perhaps still am) a journalist. And for the past fifteen years I have copyedited books (for university presses: Johns Hopkins UP; Columbia UP; U of Virginia P, etc.).
And I always liked the Inkspots.
DM in subsequent email mainly dealing with technical problems we were having:
This seems to be my week for reconnecting with Zen friends. An hour ago, Michael Sawyer phoned. It's been years. A month or more ago I left a message at Green Gulch seeking his number (I may have a commission for him: artwork.--if he's well enough to do it).
DC: I liked the Inkspots too and saw them (with maybe no original members) in the early seventies in Monterey with Charles and Caroline Page, Bill Wenner, can't remember who else. "If I Didn't Care" is one of the great classics in my book. They predate rhythm and blues wouldn't you say? But at the same time they helped to bring it all in.
You were born in some town in some place in England where the language, as I remember it as you presented it to me, is unintelligible. Couldn't write out that sentence about coal oil or something could you?
From near Bradford, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, as it was called (now designated West Yorkshire: UK central government split Yorkshire, way the biggest county, into three counties--I think it was Maggie Thatcher did it--to cut us down to size. A Texan might understand that).
I have little idea how to spell it, but . . .
We're dahn int' coyl oyl
Yorkies--Tykes--are renowned for their bloodymindedness.
But Yorkshire dialect is BBC English compared with that in Westmorland (now redesignated Cumbria), where I went to boarding school. I was told that local shepherds when counting their sheep recited
A few years ago, when reading a history of the UK sheep industry (don't laugh: it turns out to be fascinating) I discovered that variations on this counting system, not too different from the above, have been found in other parts of Britain. My guess is it is Celtic associated.
DC: It warms the cockles of my heart to hear you say that so to speak again. And thanks for the counting system. And for getting in touch.
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