Wabi-Sabi

A friend wrote today to say, “I read your new book finally.  It’s very wabi-sabi.”  And more, of course.  But if she’d said nothing else but that it was very wabi-sabi, I would have been elated.  It’s the descriptor that I feel captures The Love We Share Without Knowing, and in a more American way, even One for Sorrow.  I hadn’t come across the term before I moved to Japan in 2004.  When I did encounter this word, though, and learned about its aesthetic system and meaning, it felt like I’d finally found a name for the way I look at the world, I think, which comes through, of course, in my stories.

No clue what Wabi-sabi means?  Go here.  It’s a decent background.

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5 responses

  1. I have no idea how accurate it is, but Leonard Koren’s book on wabi-sabi is beautiful and had a huge effect on my view of aesthetics — the pottery teacher at my previous school used to assign it to students every spring when he taught raku, and for me the book is entwined with a memory of the scent of the burning hay and newspaper he and the students set red-hot pots in at the end of the raku process.

  2. I read Koren’s book while living in Japan, Matt, and I think it’s sort of the standard book for describing the aesthetic and worldview system of wabi-sabi. It’s noted in the wikipedia entry on the term as a main source of information, too. The scent of burning hay and newspaper, red-hot pots, all of that really does sound pretty wabi-sabi. Sounds like he was a great teacher.

  3. Wow, Chris. Wow…what a perfectly blissful critique. (I’ll forgive you for using Wikipedia for description, as it seems okey dokey)

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