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literature

burlington bay campground

from zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance, robert pirsig posted in literature by crabapple

In the early spring of 1972, Robert Pirsig wrote the final five chapters of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance in a two month period. To avoid interruptions he acquired a camper and drove it to a commercial campground that was closed for the winter on the north shore of Lake Superior. He lived and worked in the camper, working while there was natural sunlight because lights in the camper weren't adequate.

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the blake school

from zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance, robert pirsig posted in literature by crabapple

Established in 1900, the Blake School is a private, coeducational, nonsectarian PK-12 college preparatory school. It is consistently ranked as one of the ten best day schools in the country.

In 1936, Robert Pirsig received a scholarship to the Blake School. While at this school, his IQ tested at 170 when he was 9 1/2 years old (a 1 in 50,000 result).

Prior to attending the Blake School, Pirsig had been accelerated from kindergarten to second grade. This obviously caused friction with his classmates- he was bullied, forced to write with his right hand (although left-handed), and he developed a stammer. Entrance to the Blake School allowed Pirsig to develop at his own pace, and he quickly accelerated to attend the University of Minnesota High School at the age of 10.

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robert pirsig’s home (former)

from zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance, robert pirsig posted in literature by crabapple

In 1966, Robert Pirsig moved to this address in St. Paul with this wife, Nancy, and son, Ted. A year later, Pirsig began a series of lighthearted essays that would transform into his best-selling book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Pirsig lived at this home as he wrote the book at his office during the early hours of the morning.

In a 1974 interview, Nancy Pirsig talked of how the entire family was practicing Zen Buddhism. Every morning, rising early, they would start the day together in their dining room, moving the furniture and meditating on cushions in silence. Afterward, they would have tea, talk, and go for a long walk along the river near their home.

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minnesota zen meditation center

from zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance, robert pirsig posted in literature by crabapple

Located across the street from Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis, the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center was formed in 1972 by founder Dainin Katagiri Roshi.

At that time, Robert Pirsig had been studying zen meditation, and in 1973 he became a board member and vice-president at the incorporation of the new Minnesota Zen Meditation Center.

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robert’s shoes

from zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance posted in literature by crabapple

Robert Pirsig wrote the majority of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle while working at his office at Century Publications above Robert's Shoes. He was employed as a technical writer for Honeywell. He would go to sleep at 6pm, then wake to write from 2am to 6am before work. The book combines a discourse on the metaphysics of quality, an examination of America's mainstream/counterculture split and a "real" haunting of personal madness.

ZAMM was published in 1974, after being rejected 121 times (a Guinness World Record for a best-selling book).

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