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Musing

Internet wabi-sabi

The other day Gluten Free Girl wrote this post:

When I have looked at too many blogs, or lingered in the pretty world of Pinterest for a few moments, or spent too much time on Twitter, I start to doubt. I start talking to Danny about the photo studio space we should make under the one window in our garage, the props we should buy, the ways we should change. I wonder if I should buy those sturdy striped straws that show up in every third photo. I start thinking about hiring someone to teach me what the heck SEO is so we can increase the number of hits we get each month. I start worrying. I stop writing or dancing or looking for light. I start worrying.

If I were good at this blog thing, I would have written something entirely different. It would have been less than 500 words. It would have trumpeted easy! delicious! good for your family! I probably would have called it The Best Eggplant Parmesan, gluten-free, for the most hits. I used to do that because so many people told me that was the best way for hungry people to find my website on Google.

It reminded me of the day Joy the Baker mused about a similar phenomenon when she posted,

Should I write about how sometimes I think my blog would be more popular if I were engaged or pregnant?  Should I write about how that thought makes me want to run full throttle into a wall?  Probably not.  That’s a little hot-button for these parts.  Those are just my weirdo backbrain thoughts anyhow… I know you’re mostly stoked to be here regardless of my… status (is that the right word?).

It’s fun to look at pretty things on the Internet! But I hope that that is not all that we take away. Lest it turn into the idea that by leading a carefully styled life and surrounding yourself with beautiful things, you are somehow living better.

There is a Japanese phrase, wabi-sabi, that I remember an old art counselor telling me about. Of course, the phrase represents more than a direct interpretation – it’s an entire concept. A simple go at it would be the beauty of imperfection. The ability to find life and beauty in what is natural and simple. That in the process of creation, things weather the quirks and imperfections that got them to that place. Especially concerning pottery, the slightly uneven, flawed pots were prized in some ceremonies. I’ve heard that artists would intentionally make sure that pottery pieces had at least one flaw.

Good writers share what they know – the full spectrum of experience included. To show me only the perfect gatherings you hold, the perfect food you create, and the perfect flowers on your dresser is to show me a small part of your life. But to tell me of your self-doubt, your thoughts, and your mistakes is to welcome me into a small part of your life.

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