Saturday, February 7, 2009

"Those who cling to life die, and those who defy death live." Uesugi Kenshin paraphrasing Sun Tzu

Why this Japanese warrior's take on the Chinese classic text, Sun Tzu's Art of War

Surely I am not turning Japanese?  It is true that my donor was from Asia, but from Israel in the near, not the far east.

Talking about the land of Sinai, didn't I earlier preach from Deuteronomy 30:19 to choose life so that you and your descendants will live?

Why now is this ancient Chinese treatise on the conduct of war being paraded in these pages? Couldn't I find modern writings that were more humane than this ruthless text that makes the advice dispensed in the The Prince look like a text book on etiquette? There surely must have been better choices at the library for me to read this weekend. Couldn't I find anything new on the twin passions that inform my life: ice hockey and Zen?

To justify my scrappy choice, I won't march out my old battle metaphors again about how fighting cancer is a war to the death.

Instead I will say that sometimes the only way to live is to risk it all. With my brand of leukemia, had I not been prepared to face the risk of dying from a early and by existing guidelines, an unneeded or at best premature transplant, I would have been left with the creepy certitude that my cancer would kill me, sometime. Without the transplant, I may have been able to slow the fall of the sands in the timer. I might even have been able to reset it. With the transplant, my goal from the get go was to smash the bloody hourglass. 

My goal was to choose life.

Sun Tzu and Moses may be on the same page after all.

Even the transplant tactics matches the pagan's dictum to engage the enemy with blunt force and defeat them cunning. By cunning the war master means planting false information, corrupting their leadership, and infiltrating their forces.

Surely the heavy duty chemo conditioning is that blunt weapon deployed to bring the cancer to its knees but we all know that it would eventually rise again stronger and more determined without the death blow delivered by the deceit of sending in the new immune police, my new stem cells when the cancer was at its weakest.

Those kind of fighting words and strategic counsel are nowhere to be found in the bible. 

So I guess you need both kinds of text to live. 

Like in hockey, where you need the enforcer to protect your elite players. For Oilers' and Kings' fan think McSorley and Gretzky.

Switching gears, I am just back from the writers' conference. Wonderful. Despite being exposed to some gorgeous writing, and missing my exit as I got lost in Proust on my way home, I promise to keep my writing here unfiltered and rough.

At the conference, I was pumped up by the positive feedback. I now believe that I can be a published writer.

Hopefully, someday you can say you knew me when....



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