Via peregrinatia

Via Negativa has been getting a little extra exposure lately. At the beginning of the month, Slow Reads reprinted my post Therapy, along with some fresh content – a brief background essay on prose-poetry hybrids, which I tend to refer to indiscriminately by the Japanese term “haibun.”

For those who have never taken the time to explore Via Negativa‘s sidebar, Slow Reads is an interesting hybrid of web magazine and blog, dedicated to “reaching our hearts with our books.” Its editor, Peter, has a strong apophatic mystical streak. By all rights, he should be writing Via Negativa and I should be talking about Slow Reads! (I am, indeed, a very slow reader.)

Then today, another web magazine, Wild Thoughts, reprinted one of those Daoist short stories I wrote the other week under a new title: Newborn. Wild Thoughts is “an online journal of environmental writing” with “a commitment to art that will strengthen the more-than-human world.” Its editors are actively soliciting feedback and contributions.

It would be great if there were a lot more web magazines willing to reprint blog materials – to give them alternate and perhaps more permanent or accessible homes. This is something that Peter of Slow Reads has been ruminating on at his blog recently, as well. There is so much good stuff languishing in bloggers’ archives!

Just before I received the notice about the Wild Thoughts publication this afternoon, I had been browsing in Thomas Merton’s Mystics and Zen Masters (Noonday Press/FSG, 1988). In an essay called “From Pilgrimage to Crusade,” he wrote:

Peregrinatio, or “going forth into strange countries,” was a characteristically Irish form of asceticism. The Irish peregrinus, or pilgrim, set out on a journey, not in order to visit a sacred shrine, but in search of solitude and exile. His pilgrimage was an exercise in ascetic homelessness and wandering. He entrusted himself to Providence, setting out with no definite aim, abandoning himself to the Lord of the universe. Since Ireland is an island, this meant entrusting oneself to the hazards of sea travel, and there are records of Irish peregrini who simply floated off aimlessly into the sea, abandoning themselves to wind and current, in the hope of being led to the place of solitude that God Himself would pick for them.

Isn’t this almost what bloggers do, entrusting themselves to the frail coracles of their blogs, adrift in the placeless Internet with no firm notion of what shores they may ultimately reach? That’s how it feels to me much of the time.

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