A Crack in Everything
Things keep breaking. Body parts, house parts, car parts, appliances, zippers. Entire days disappear into repairs.
Kintsugi, “golden joinery,” is the Japanese art of piecing together broken pottery with gold-dusted lacquer to enhance the breaks. Bloggers often pair it with Leonard Cohen’s line, “There is a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in.” If the crack holds potential for beauty, kintsugi fulfills the potential and blocks the light. The beauty lies not in the flaw but what’s done with it.
It’s another way fiction isn’t like life. I’ll deem the day a success if the repairs make things work as well as before. In fiction, with no crack there’s no story, and how the characters respond transforms them. Otherwise it’s a big yawn—which, in real life, is what I’d prefer today’s repairs to be.
12/16/2019 01:18:04 pm
Sarah, I think you've hit upon an important point. We feel discouraged with change or with our failures, what if we celebrated them and chose to make them golden instead. Great Cohen metaphor.
12/16/2019 08:58:17 pm
Everything that has happened to us, or that we have done, has helped make us who we are. For us as writers, it's all grist for the mill. How much compassion could we have for others if we thought we'd never made a mistake and never gone through hard times? Golden indeed - even the ones I'd redo differently if given a choice.
2/5/2023 05:30:15 am
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I'm a historian who writes novels and literary nonfiction. My home base is Madison, Wisconsin.