“Boldly and bluntly simplify the subject so as to reveal its true essence.”
– Kiyoshi Saito, (1907-1971)
I have spent the last three months preparing to move from Seattle – where my husband and I have lived since 1986 – to London, England. I fly out at the end of the month. These last few weeks have been a lesson in letting go.
I have been going through everything we own to clear the house for incoming renters. I have picked up every object, pondered it, and decided whether to ship, store, or discard it.
This has gotten me thinking about the process of editing.
Editing your life is like editing your own personal narrative. I am an accumulator by nature, but not a collector, nor a hoarder. The difference is that I enjoy getting rid of stuff, if only to clear the clutter to let the better bits shine.
When I am writing I follow the same process. I have less confidence in my words than my imagery, so I don’t mind keeping my words to a minimum. If I can prove to myself that every word has a reason to be there, I feel I have created the cleanest, least cluttered prose possible. It’s less risky that way. Clear the knick-knacks off your literary shelf.
In my artwork I am constantly editing and revising. I strive to follow the words quoted above. Kiyoshi Saito is a contemporary Japanese woodblock artist and a master of selective visual editing in his imagery. Choosing what details to include and what to leave out reveals the aspects most elemental to an idea.
Get rid of the lesser bits. Pack them away or let them go. Only set your choicest pieces out for display.
My next post will be written from the UK. Just think of me as the Books Around The Table foreign correspondent for the foreseeable future. I look forward to exploring new territory and sending back the best bits to share with all of you!
And now, back to packing!