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.
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.
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.
Yep. It’s perfect.
Wow, Chris. Wow…what a perfectly blissful critique. (I’ll forgive you for using Wikipedia for description, as it seems okey dokey)
LOL, I know, Wikipedia, not so good for academic essays, but fine for internet surfing. 🙂 I hope you like the book!