Monday, February 8, 2010

My car book

I used to get stuck waiting for my kids--back before they had cars. Now they have cars, but my youngest has a "cool" car, not a dependable car, so he uses mine. Like most moms in the same situation I sit around waiting for someone to pass by and give me a ride. Kind of sad when I'm throwing the payment in the mail.

My oldest kid got me a gift certificate to Amazon and I've been getting things I'd like, but couldn't justify buying. The other day, Wabi Sabi for Writers arrived, and wow--it's really hard to read. For some reason I expected one of those bubble-gum books, like 10 Easy Ways to put Zen in your Work. Instead I got a literary treatise on Basho, the history of haiku, and a whole bunch of people I'd never thought would show up in a craft book together. It's...way cool and more than I expected.

I've been dragging it with me everywhere. Reading a little here and a little there, spaced out so I can think about what I've read before reading more.

It's an odd book and pretty much proves out my theory that certain teachers assume everyone knows what they know. Chatman with his assumption everyone in the world has read Lagos Egri and Aristotle, Genette thinking everyone has read Proust, McKee thinking everyone knows what he means when he references the "well-made" play in his intro.

I'm a big Basho fan and spent weeks listening to the performance poet at my last job expound the virtues of samurai death poetry so renga isn't totally unknown to me, but if I'd been clueless it'd have been a great big, "huh?" It's not exactly the most reader-friendly book. There are a lot of references to obscure articles, Chuang Tzu, Taoism and bits and pieces of just about everything. It's a magpie book, full of hidden gems and odd insights. Absolutely brilliant, and totally non-commercial in a cult favorite kind of way.

I like it, I just wish I could translate it into more word count or finished wips.


Hailey Edwards said...

I'm glad you are enjoying your read. Pooh is about as Taoist as I get (sad, I know). My only defense is that, at heart, I am a bear of very little brain. ;)

"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"
"What's for breakfast? said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"
"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully.
"It's the same thing," he said.
-The Tao of Pooh

deanna said...

While waiting for my kids, I read Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and some Kierkegaard (though he was hard to get into during Shakespeare rehearsals - difficult languages clashing, I guess). I'm glad your book gives you magpie-joy. It sounds like something to revel in and savor. :o)

jodi said...

lol, Hailey--it "is" all the same time. And Pooh is very profound. :) Unfortunately I'm a lot like the villain in the Princess Bride. I over think things--my downfall, I know. One day I'll get a grip on it.

"Waiting for my kids" books is much better than car books, Deanna. I once read all the Shakespeare I'd heard about but never read waiting for my husband. Amazing how much flows from him. Voltaire is next up on my list of tbr. I like his face, lol.

And it truly is magpie joy. Beautiful, shiny and fascinating.