Thursday, January 20, 2005

Let Wabi-Sabi Happen in Your Journal

Wabi-sabi, the quintessential Japanese aesthetic, can be applied to journaling and is, in fact, an integral part of true journaling, whether we realize it or not. Wabi-sabi is the beauty of things imperfect, impermanent and incomplete. It is a beauty of things modest, humble and unconventional.

Published writing is usually rewritten, edited and polished writing, set in symmetrical fonts and printed in uniform order and quality.

Journaling, most often, is composed of our raw thoughts or emotions, scribbled down in an unsteady hand on a commuter train or a dimly-lit kitchen. Perhaps the pages are occasionally smudged with ink or stained by drops of coffee. Entries may be heartfelt and passionate, but can simultaneously be random, incomplete, unconventional and bold, without need to please an audience.

In the long run, the journaling process may add up to a complete picture or an epiphany of revelation, but tracing any single journal's pages, one-by -one, can render a modest journey, the humbleness of following a foggy path with no promise of reaching a clearing.

Most distilled, the Wabi-Sabi of journaling embraces a sense of faith -- in yourself, in life, and in the promise of a future.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Remembering Carlos Cortez

Poet, artist, Wobbly and journal writer extraordinare Carlos Cortez quietly passed away yesterday evening in his Chicago home. He used to own a large leatherbound journal/artist's notebook filled with journal jottings, haikus and pen-and-ink drawings that he lugged through Greece, Germany and his criss-cross excursions by train across America. He died at age 81, but Carlos' elder years were some of his best, with a prolific outpouring of linocuts, classes, tours of Pilsen murals and two retrospectives at the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, fueled by his unlimited capacity for generosity and humor, even while ailing.