Recently, one Japanese phrase has caught on in the west. Wabi-sabi.
I hear it everywhere. Books, articles, blogs (yes, the irony has not escaped me) Netflix shows. And When I hear it, I think, Ugh! Not again.
But either that expression has a ring that pleases our western ears, or our language lacks a way to reconcile our imperfect creations – and so we’ve latched on to it. It’s as though we needed a beautiful sounding rug under which to sweep our mistakes.
Yesterday, I made a scalloped potato roll (a BuzzFeed Food recipe). It didn’t look quite like BuzzFeed’s version or even like what I’d imagined mine would end up looking like. It fell apart at the edges because I’d totally forgotten to get mozzarella, which was instrumental in holding the whole thing together, so not only did it not have that ooey-gooey texture like BuzzFeed’s, it wasn’t quite as pretty.
I had no choice but to accept the falling-apart dish and I consoled myself by saying it was a chance to do it again, make it better. But in the grand scheme of things, small potatoes, right? (ha!)
Sometimes though, things turn out almost exactly how I imagined they would. They look like the picture in my mind’s eye. But just then, the Universe steps in and decides to have a little fun with me.
Yesterday, I worked on a small painting, trying out some new paint (Flashe paint) on paper. The finished piece looks okay-ish. It was after all just meant to be a quick little thing.
But then I decided to brush the back of the paper with water, the first step in flattening it. This way the paper would no longer be warped. Twenty-four hours later, after pressing it between cardboard, I took it out only to find that one edge was folded down, resulting in a definitive crease and ridge on the bottom corner.
Part of me is annoyed. I was impatient; I didn’t check to see that I’d laid the paper flat before pressing it.
But part of me just thinks ‘ la-la-la whatever’!
Embrace the imperfection, I say to myself. And I pick up the edge of the rug to sweep this mishap underneath.
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