Even Housework – Kim Taylor, Renshi, CI Sei Do Kai Guelph ON, Nanadan Iaido and Roukudan Jodo

In search of something to write, I looked randomly in my notebook, decided to be more relevent and drifted through Faceplant for a bit. What was I thinking. Honestly, if you don’t like those Vox Populi, phone-in radio shows, why would you ever read Faceplant? The opinions of the man on the street? Really? Now the phone-in shows were sometimes genuine, as in, you could tell that some of those talking could barely use the phone, let alone write, whereas in FP the posters are often writing instead of just retwitting a meme (which I have been informed is a photo with a caption, not what anyone who was educated in the late 1970s knows as a meme). Being able to write implies a certain amount of education, a certain amount of “what the hell are you thinking”?

But hey, for the memes I found a way to shut them away from my sight, there’s a button (so far, wait until the Zuck figures out we’re using it) that lets you hide all from the originator of the meme. As for original stuff from my FPFBFFs that is somewhat “silly”, well it doesn’t take as long to recognize something I’m not interested in reading as it does to type this paragraph. So onward and upward.

One of the students did post something I read this morning, it was about feeling guilty about wanting to do random things while doing other random things. Like wanting to do something active when watching TV. Wait, that doesn’t sound so random, it sounds like a body trying to talk to a brain. OK building a pill shelf from a clementine box. Random?

I dunno, creative I’d call it. Give in to your urges to do random stuff and do them when the urge hits you. Too much planning can (usually does) prevent fun, and too much thought puts way too much “gotta do this and then this before I can to that” in the way. Just grab a pencil and whatever scrap of paper is in front of you and draw something.

Oh, but what if it’s amazing and the paper wasn’t acid free?

See the problem? Draw the picture, give it away fast to someone who will throw it out if it’s garbage. Your mom will put it on the fridge.

This is what I would call essential to creativity, the urge to do random stuff without too much organization in between.

What is it with the Catholic high school around the corner, I just noticed all the girls are wearing black bell bottom pants. Bell bottoms? BELL BOTTOMS? With the school crest on the front of the hip (not supposed to be looking there, look away fast). OMG school contest to design a new uniform…. please! Every generation needs their very own fashion faux pas, don’t use mine. Get your own.

Too much planning gets in the way of creativity, had we got there yet? So we come to a note in my book that says “P. 6 – Even housework can be meditative if [done with] strict etiquette”.

Must have come from some paper I was reading at the time, likely on Noh theater judging by the notes around it. It was a Japanese author I’m sure, because of the insistance on “strict etiquette” which, in this case probably means “done in the same way every time you do it” as opposed to “done with instant, constant, unswerving, unthinking respect to your teacher and the leaders of the country”.

I was going to take all sorts of exception to that, with reference to my argument that creativity requires random urges and no etiquette. Now I think my first urge was wrong. Meditation is the opposite of creativity, meditation benefits from routine, from an etiquette, a consistent pattern of action. So does falling asleep at night, apparently I’m really good at that, I do the same thing every night, up to and including how I lie down and then turn over. If I’m not asleep in ten minutes I may as well get up again.

So I am arguing that meditation is good, and routine (etiquette) is good because it calms the mind prior to calming the mind. The settling down on the pillow, the wiggling of the buns, the folding of the hands are all part of the process. As for housework, the lifting of the chairs, the getting of the broom, the sweeping from that corner to the other, the wiping of the table, the doing of the dishes, if it’s all done the same way every day it can allow the mind to flow, to drift.

Not to come up with random stuff, that’s not useful, especially random stuff you want to write down in a notebook. You want to come up with drifty thoughts that you can look at and say “that stuff is just stuff, random, often harmful to me, part of the delusion I build up around my world every day”. Let it go, “bye bye”, it’s gone and Micheal Collins’ voice is in my head. Share if you get that reference.

No don’t.

Now, can I stuff these things together? Yes, how about sumi-i? In order to do “chinese ink painting” correctly, properly, traditionally, etiquetttely you have to have all the right bits and pieces of kit. Then you have to grind the ink on the stone and mix the ink with water and cut the paper from the roll and weight it down just right and hold the brush just right and then you must do the painting in just the way you were taught, each leaf of the bamboo started and ended in a single stroke from the correct end to the other (hah, I don’t know which end you start at… what a maroon). How is this creative? Well you’re creating, I mean something with ink on paper is produced, and because it’s standard it can be judged, you can have a contest to see who is the best at doing the specified scene to the accepted standards.

It’s also meditative, because you aren’t really making shite up, you’re painting the standard scene. You’re counting your breath as you sit and breathe. So there you are, creative and meditative.

Just not the creativity that comes from a random urge to do something that happens at unpredictable, impolite (not etiquette-surrounded) times. That’s another sort of creation, something that you can look at afterward and say “what the hell was I thinking”?

Didn’t think I would tie that in did you?

Kim Taylor
Jan 18, 2019



March 2-3, Port Credit seminar, TBA

April 6, Seito Bugei Juku seminar in Peterborough.

May 17-20 Annual CKF International Jodo and Iaido seminar and grading, (Kurogo sensei and Mansfield sensei) Guelph.

August TBD. Montreal Jodo seminar and grading with Eric Tribe, Ed Chart and Japanese instructor (TBA)

November 8-10 Annual CKF International Jodo seminar and grading (Kurogo sensei), Mississauga (Port Credit).

iaito, bokuto, bokken, jo, shinken, karate and judo uniforms, books, videos and other…

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