How I Came to Write Jersey Yogi

My then wife, Janine, saw that I had a story in me that needed to come out. I’d been writing other stuff – mostly philosophical essays and things I call Short Pieces, but she noticed that I was still in great awe of the changes I had experienced when I first encountered Rolfing, and Muktananda. At a party, or any other venue where I could find someone interested enough to listen, I would never fail to relate, with great animation (not my normal way), one or more of the magical incidents from the years when I began to wake up. I remember them so vividly!

Jim, what you really want to write is your story.”

I knew in my gut that she was right, but hesitated because I didn’t know if I could pull it off. These stories are so precious and vital to me that I suspected doing them justice was beyond my ability as a writer. I went through a long period of “deciding” (did I really have a choice?), then rolled up my sleeves and sat down to give it a go.

I feel that in general my memory isn’t so good, but when I remember something, I really remember it. I was scared that I’d leave out some key incidents, but no way! The stories I wanted to tell, all of them, lined up in front of me waiting their turn. None of them would be denied! And I recalled the content of each story with such clarity that even dialogue from over 50 years ago is often exact, word for word.

But could I, in written words, do justice to the essence of these personal treasures? I found that I could!

ffI’d sit down each night and work for about three hours, sometimes accompanied by a glass of Irish whiskey. The writing wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t fast. I’d write a sentence, then edit it immediately, perhaps several times. Then do the same with each paragraph as it was finished. It was slow going, but actually rather steady. I was definitely focused, and at the end of the session I would usually have written one page. That single page contained the distilled energy of three hours of one-pointed, passionate labor. People tell me that my writing is concentrated. I suppose this is why.

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