As usual, you and I are on parallel paths. Here’s what I was writing when your email arrived:
Junichiro Tanizaki was born in Tokyo in 1886. He became a famous novelist in Japan.
The quirkiest thing Tanizaki ever wrote was in 1933. But it wasn’t a novel. In Praise of Shadows is Tanizaki’s contemplation of Japan’s embrace of Western science, and the consequent loss of the “stillness” found in traditional Japanese culture.
I plan to share excerpts from the book in this week’s rabbit hole.
I very much look forward to reading The Speed of Stillness, by David Freeman. When do you plan to have it finished?
Here’s the photo you requested.
Portal: The archway is the portal that moves you from the barren stone parking lot where you parked your car – that symbol of your oh-too-daily life – to the adventure that awaits you on the other side. Portals in literature and in art help us move from one level of consciousness to the next.
Downward: Then the sidewalk and steps take you downward, speaking of humility, rest and depth of meaning.
Duality: To your right (think ‘brain lateralization’) an urn overflows with endless water. To your left, the energy of fire (intellect,) dancing above the water (emotion.) Fire and Water: Masculine and feminine symbols of action and rest, science and art, religion and spirituality, imagination (by day) and dreams (by night.)
Unconscious: The surface of water, in depth psychology (the psychology of the unconscious mind,) is symbolic of where the conscious meets the unconscious. Our relationship to the unconscious is exactly like our relationship to water: We need it by the cupful to survive and we are refreshed when we plunge into it, but “stay under” too long and you’ll drown (have a psychotic break.) There are monsters in the deep.
Incongruence: The final step is a rock with no visible means of support “floating” in the water. To step on it requires that you have the courage of your convictions; faith in something you cannot see, but believe to be there, strong enough to hold you up.
And then you enter through a second portal into Tuscan Hall and take two more steps downward to find yourself below the waterline. And it’s shadowy in there. And the ceiling is high and curved. And a catwalk looms above you…
But Tuscan Hall itself is an explanation for another day.
Looking forward to your next visit.
By the way, we’re thinking about a fiction writer’s workshop. Would you be willing to do a super-abbreviated (3 hours) Beyond Structure course? Specifically, if you could teach
1. The basics of character diamonds, then
2. touch briefly on skewed opposites and
3. quirks and eccentricities, with an explanation of
4. masks, and slams to the mask,
that would be enough. I’m thinking the workshop would take place in January or February. You up for it?
Roy H. Williams
CC Corrine Taylor