Blog Schedule

I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

W is for Wabi Sabi

Winners of my contest will be announced no sooner than Monday, May 3rd and not later than Wednesday, May 5th!

Wabi sabi is Japanese. The words have a long and glorious history. In an effort to define the term, please excuse me while I quote from the book Wabi Sabi for Writers (Adams Media, 2006) by Richard R. Powell.(It should be on your bookcase.)

"At one time when the Japanese language was young, wabi meant 'poverty,' and sabi meant 'loneliness.' During the first major flowering of Japanese culture, wabi came to refer to the ideal hermit's life, lived in contemplations of nature and appreciation of the spiritual and aesthetic values underlying a solitary existence. His was the wabi way.... Sabi was refined over the years to emphasize a state of receptivity, fostered in remote natural settings. This positive aloneness was joined to the wabi appreciation of the understated and unrefined to form a phrase with deep resonance for the contemplative mind."

"Wabi sabi beauty tumbles out of ordinary life; your ordinary life or your family's or your friend's or your fellow worker's or the little neighbor boy who brings you a broken shell from the stream, just like that, just to look at."

"Basho saw those two words and used them for a higher purpose still. He used them to express what it was he saw in all the lovely lonely moments of his life, not just the lovely lonely places. He noticed the poignant passings, the fragile wonders like snowflakes and the sound snow makes when it slumps, the irrational happiness after he gave away something he loved."

"Nothing is perfect, nothing lasts, nothing is finished....If you are writing in the hopes that your masterpiece will be perfect and everlasting, you will trail away from wabi sabi into the soundless rooms of delusion and disappointment...."

Wabi sabi is a way of noticing life around you and in noticing it, capturing it in a few words. It's kind of like Impressionism, only using words instead of paint.

To me Tricia over at Talespinning has a wabi sabi way of writing. She writes haiku too.

A. A. Milne had wabi sabi. Or maybe it was Pooh.

The more it
The more it
The more it

And nobody
How cold my
How cold my

I like Kate DiCamillo too.

And my husband writes fine haiku:

If love doesn't work
How come we are surrounded
Try to count the stars

Do you have a favorite wabi sabi writer?

I've been given two awards this past week. I don't know what I've done to deserve them. Thank you, thank you!

Niki over at Wool 'n' Nuts passed this on to me.
Wow! Go check out her blog, you'll learn something about New Zealand!
And Anne over at Piedmont Writer has given me this award. Stop by her blog for a taste of life.
If you are reading this, consider yourself awarded. I pass them on to YOU with all my heart.


  1. woohoo...I'm first!

    Wabi sabi -- my new favorite word(s). Kinda shorthand for those 'ahhhhh' moments.

    Have a good weekend!

  2. I've never heard of Wabi Sabi but I love it. What great concept.

    Have a very good weekend, Bish!

  3. Oh! Thank you, Bish. I'm rushing around to go to a wedding and I stopped to read a few blogs and was so surprised to find this! First, I'm intrigued by the wabi sabi concept. It does sound like something I aspire to and it really touches me that you think I write that way. I so admire Basho's haiku and Milne's Pooh and, I've told people for years that I think I see the world like an impressionist painting. Wow, again, thanks!

  4. There is a lovely PB by the same name.

  5. You're welcome Tricia.

    There is, Vijaya? I'll have to see if I can find it!

  6. Here's the link:

  7. OMG! I'd never heard of this before, but LOVE the concept!!! Thanks so much for sharing--I really liked learning about it. I'm with your other commenters--wabi sabi are so my new favorite words :)

  8. 'Wabi meant 'poverty,' and sabi meant 'loneliness.' I have always been fascinated with the ascetic life and its perspectives... Thanks.

  9. Yay for the contest!!!! I look forward to see the winners!

    Thanks for the award Bish, you're a sweetherat!

  10. Thanks for the link Vijaya.

    Beth, I'm SO happy to pass on something new to a fellow writer.

    Me too Paul.

    Jen, it's going to be tough making a decision.

  11. Congrats on your awards - they're very much deserved! :)

  12. "Impressionism, only using words instead of paint." I like that.

  13. Ooh, I was excited to see this post because I was JUST thinking about wabi sabi and considered writing a post about it. I love a coincidence. :)

  14. I love haiku. And I love the Japanese concept of "kaizen". Wabi-sabi ties in beautifully, thanks for the fascinating post.



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