Michael Herr Once Asked Me... “How do you write about Buddhism?” and looked around where we stood, eating our ritual potluck rice and stew after evening puja—our Teacher sat huddled with the other Tibetans laughing—I asked if he was writing anything “Nah, not much...” I never brought it up again, the writing, but now hearing news of his death— watching the ceiling fan thrum humid tropic air as a helicopter whomp-whomps tourists down-coast Hawaii to fiery lava flow, instead of soldiers to die in jungle —I think of his Vietnam War correspondent novel Dispatches and the APOCALYPSE NOW movie voice- over narration he wrote... Seeing the big crazy woman on the beach last night at sunset, the long track of her knees across damp sand to where she knelt, pounding her face and fists into it big belly hanging below her bra, her sudden heaving up to scream at the sea: “WHY? WHY? WHY? WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?” then slogging out into the waves the Bubba Gump restaurant manager and a few others of us moved to call 911 when a shadow croaked: “That’s just Doreen being Doreen. Happens all the time. No need to call nobody.” ...regret I didn’t tell Michael, when last saw him at our Teacher’s funeral, that the answer to his question I find in his own lines: “Everyone gets everything they want. I wanted a mission, and for my sins they gave me one.” ...which I quote often, likening difficult kitchen-work karma to heading upriver in the boat I chose —but keeping track as I go— my demons and saints urging me deeper to answer what Doreen demanded of her own voices: to keep pushing past the arrows the lassitude incomprehension and horror of the everyday to help finish for all Beings what our Teacher started.