A Tale For The Time Being

Books, Music, Art, Movies


A few weeks ago I was in the middle of a children’s craft program. We were making mini collages on magnets and I was thumbing through a stack of old magazines to find stuff for my collage. I happened on the book review page for People Magazine from last year and a book cover caught my eye and I thought I would cut it out for my collage. Something also told me to read the review and I did. I immediately knew I needed to read this book. That very moment I searched our library’s catalog for it and downloaded the audio version of the book. It was serendipity.*

This is the story of Nao, a 16 year old living in Toyko, and Ruth, a middle-aged writer living in British Columbia. Their stories are separated by the Pacific Ocean and time.

Ruth finds Nao’s journal when it washes up on the beach near her home. She begins reading it and is quickly drawn into her life as she tells the story of her Great Grandmother (who is a Buddhist Nun), her father (a failed dot com bussinessman), and her great-uncle (a Kamikaze pilot who died in WWII). Nao also tells her story, which is sad but also, sometimes, full of hope as she finds her “superpowa” through zazen meditation. Ruth and Nao are drawn together, despite the limitations of time and space. They develop a relationship and grow to care for one another. Nao is writing the journal to someone, she doesn’t know who it is, but in her writing of it she finds solace. Ruth wonders what happened to Nao, she grows to care about her well being.

I can’t begin to express how much I loved this book. I love how it came into my life – being a zen Buddhist myself. Reading it has made me think a lot about my own practice. I loved the storytelling. I love the study of  space and time and the relationships that develop despite this apparent divide.  This book gave me lots of food for thought. I’m sure I will be thinking about it for a long time.

*Another bit of serendipity noted: as I was searching for the cover art on Amazon I saw that the book was released on March 11th 2013 (my birthday!)

Time

Photography

Time

“Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
Fritter and waste the hours in an off-hand way
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.”
– Pink Floyd. Time.

I have a large format pinhole camera that takes really, really wide angle shots. I have been struggling with it since I got it. I can’t quite figure out how to compose a shot, or even what the best kind of shot is for this camera. So I decided to burn film through this mutha so I can maybe learn something about how it works. I’ve spent a lot of quality time with this camera lately.

A few weeks ago I was in a “Dark Side Of The Moon” mood and listened to this album several times from beginning to end. This song, these lyrics, really stood out for me at that time.  As these lyrics were rattling around in my mind I came up with the idea for this photo (this is kind of rare for me: coming up with a concept for a photo before actually taking the photo. I usually just take my camera out and see what inspires me in the moment). I was curious to see what would happen if I pinholed a clock’s arms moving around in a circle. So I tried it. My original idea was to start the photo at 11:11 (I have a thing about 11:11) and I did do that, but the shot turned out over exposed. This was the second shot and it came out better exposed.

Is this the best photo I have ever taken in my life? No. But I learned some things from it. I learned that having an theme, or an idea in your mind is a good way to get inspiration. I may kick around more photos around “time” as a theme.

I also learned that for this camera you have to get in very, very, very close. This was close and it wasn’t even close enough. Also, I like the way still life looks with this camera (using 4×5 sheet film), as opposed to landscape. I think the crazy vignetting works well with still life. So. Note to self.