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“Do not confuse value with permanence.” – Irvin Yalom
Charlie Jane Anders hosts the Writers with Drinks literary events every month at San Francisco’s Make Out Room. The dimly lit club drips with streamers, glitter, a jumble of art work and animal imagery, like Christmas on an acid trip.
Five or six writers perform at each event, but most people don’t come to hear them. They’re there for Charlie Jane. Her introductions of each segment and of each writer careen wildly through time, space, and dimensions unnamed. She’s funny; she’s bizarre; she awakens thoughts and emotions in listeners even though we can’t understand what she’s talking about much of the time.
I thought her intros would make great written pieces or video. Longtime Writers with Drinks fans assure me, though, that they wouldn’t work in those forms. They’re not meant for stasis or posterity; they are of a specific time, place, and mood. Part of their power is their immediacy, and part of it is Charlie Jane’s presence. Without those, the words themselves wouldn’t mean much to a listener. An animatronic figure of Charlie Jane performing one of her monologues might be exhibited for 10,000 years in an extraterrestrial museum, but few would go to see it. It would just be a curiosity, whereas for one night, the real Charlie Jane is spectacular.
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Job (of the Bible) died “old and full of days”, and that feels right for him. He held out and it is only right that he got his reward. It’s a hard concept to pin down, but there is fulfilled impermanence (Einstein) and there is unfulfilled impermanence (Amy Winehouse, Mozart). Mostly tho, are you really moving?
I always enjoy your blog. Keep on writing them. Thanks.
I wish I could look at everyone in my life and work place with “wabi-sabi” eyes. To look at them, with their imperfections, irritating manners and impatient words, and remember they, too, were created by God and they are impermanent just as I am. And more importantly, to have them look at me with “wabi-sabi” eyes because I need the same considerate empathy. I love your wise writings.
Linda, I just finished reading a short book called Living Wabi-sabi by Taro Gold. It’s really good and taught me a lot. I’m glad you like my writing. Please tell your friends about The Inn by the Healing Path. E-books from the Path will be coming out soon.
I have been pessimistic for a long time about global warming and the severe damage we humans have done to the earth. But I just finished reading “The Optimistic Environmentalist: Progressing Toward a Greener Future,” which has given me much more hope than I expected it would.
The author is David R. Boyd, who is an environmental lawyer in British Columbia, Canada.
In the book, he talks about many positive things that have been done and are being done to repair the damage we’ve done.
He writes about how birds that were nearly wiped out have come back since DDT was banned.
He describes how countries all around the world came together 30 years ago to address the very serious ozone depletion problem (and they had to deal with deniers and those who predicted that economies would be destroyed by the costs of fixing it).
The chapter about the dramatic decrease in the cost of photo voltaics and exponential increase in the use of solar energy is very encouraging, as are the chapter about no waste product design and zero energy use buildings.
Given the major environmental problems our human race faces, I highly recommend this book. It is hope giving and motivating, so much so that I think reading it should be mandatory.
Thanks for the lesson on Wabi-sabi! I have always been a fan of this esthetic for objects and love the idea of applying it more widely in my life to people, situations, events, relationships, etc.
Glad to hear that eBooks from the Path will be coming out soon. It’s good sh*t!