Friday, January 2, 2009

Coming Full Circle, Wabi-Sabi Style

Just recently I found another circle in my life coming to completion, or back to itself. A pursuit, or rather, several, I started years ago, left more than once, and returned to more than once, came back, on its own, to find me. Let me explain.

Years ago I discovered (no idea where now) the term wabi-sabi and was instantly fascinated. It's a Japanese philosophy, that, put simply, reveres beauty in imperfection. Surrounded by a culture that disposes of people and things for all kinds of reasons easily and quickly, I found the philosophy very refreshing. It began to influence my approach to home-making, art-buying, art-making and myself. I began realizing I had always approached the world somewhat with this idea in mind but didn't have a name for it. And as usual, I turned to a book to find out more: Wabi-Sabi: for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers by Leonard Koren which I got via interlibrary loan.

I enjoyed the book but entered other proects and the overt obsession with wabi-sabi faded, but I never stopped referring to it in my days; when I broke my favorite piece of pottery but decided to keep it, chipped and all; or when I enrolled in an intuitive drawing class and wasn't producing masterpieces. Wabi-sabi came up pretty often in my life. I read other books over the years that kept the wabi-sabi ideas floating around like Wabi-Sabi: The Japanese Art of Impermanence and The Wabi-Sabi House: The Japanese Art of Imperfect Beauty and Wabi-Sabi Style. And then, in November, I married my Japanese husband and in the 2 years we've been together, have learned loads about wabi-sabi's influence within my relationship with him.

So recently, I enrolled in a writing class at the Center for the Arts to attempt to return to my previous life, as a poet in some way. And the fear and intimidation is strong! When I stopped writing 5 years ago, it was because I could no longer let myself make mistakes and if you know anything about writing or creativity, that's the death of any creative endeavor. And now with the publication and literary awards-attention of Wabi Sabi by Mark Reibstein (a book about a little cat named Wabi-Sabi who ventures out into the world to try and found out the meaning of her name,) I find myself reminded about imperfection, impermanence, simplicity, quietness, and the need for change and renewal. I might have to purchase that sweet little book about that sweet little cat now so I can embody wabi-sabi always.


kellypr said...

this is one of the best blog posts i have read recently!