While reading the paper today I came across Wattpad, an online publishing system that was founded by a couple of University of Toronto grads. Apparently it’s worldwide and you can publish long form writing. One of the big attractions is that you can get decent feedback and continuously update and edit your book.
When I finish a book I want to be finished with it. I want to leave it behind and move on. Fortunately I write martial arts manuals and that stuff never changes right? A kata is a kata, write it down and you’re done. Go back to practice.
The idea of constantly changing my books on the advice of readers sends chills up my spine. You could spend the rest of your life trying to please “the reading public”.
The nice thing about budo is that it’s autocratic. What I say is what it is! That means I can write a book and say to myself, “that’s what it is”. If I change my mind in ten years, well, write another book.
The idea of constant editing of a manuscript reminds me of constant correction of a kata. The idea that you spend 30 years correcting a kata sends those same chills up my spine. Let it go. Perform the kata and let it go. Now perform a different kata (even if it’s the same kata) and let that one go.
Just because you can’t edit the kata you just performed doesn’t mean you can’t try to do just that. “Oh I should have been a bit more sharp on that move, a bit slower on the other”. Rehearse it endlessly in your head or just leave it and do the next one.
OK now you’re going to tell me that writing benefits from editing, that even I go back over these essays and correct grammar and spelling and sometimes even the writing itself. You’re right, I do, I also work on the shape of a kata, the way I perform it, but once I’ve “pulled the trigger”, once this essay goes out there onto the net, I don’t want to be trying to perfect it for the rest of my days. What a waste of time, I want to leave it behind and go on to the next adventure.
In other words, I like physical books, they can’t be edited, you have to do the next edition. You have to write it again. Go ahead, tell me my seitei iai book is lacking two kata. I have no impulse to add those in, that book is a thing, call it a fossil if you want, it’s worthwhile for it’s antiquity as far as I’m concerned.
That lets me leave it behind.
May 4, 2019
May 13, Port Credit intro to iaido and jodo class with Galligan sensei and Matchuk sensei, iaido and jodo. 6-9pm. Clarke Hall. Be there! I will be. It’s on the Go line, like a block from the station.
May 17-20 Annual CKF International Jodo and Iaido seminar and grading, (Kurogo sensei, Tsuriga sensei and Mansfield sensei) Guelph.
HNIR and Kageryu:
Guelph (Port Credit) Seminar – Kajiya Soke and Watkin Shihan on the weekend of June 28/29/30 (yes, Canada Day weekend) https://seidokai.ca/niten-seminar.html
Calgary Seminar – Watkin Shihan on the weekend of July 6/7
August 10,11. Quebec City, Jodo seminar and grading with Eric Tribe, Ed Chart and Tsubaki sensei.
November 8-10 Annual CKF Fall International Jodo seminar and grading. (Kurogo sensei), Mississauga (Port Credit).