ASQoD: Wabi-sabi

Road trip today, from Chicago to Cincinnati! (With a required traditional stop at Crabby Mike’s BBQ in Lafayette, IN.)

In the spirit of this Friday the 13th, I offer entry 6 in #ASQoD*

“There is a crack, a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.”
Leonard Cohen

Wabi-sabi is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection; of accepting transience. It reveres authenticity and loves those little cracks in our lives that allow the light to seep in.

How much time do we spend trying to seal up those cracks? To create something that is watertight and seamless? There is a certain beauty in that, but it’s misleading. It’s the beauty of youth, of perfection. The whole skin-deep thing. We lust after it in our culture, and we suffer because of it.

At its best, opera is willing to get its hands dirty, to embrace the human experience, warts and all. It is so sprawling and multi-faceted that it has no chance to be perfect. Wabi-sabi is irretrievably embedded in what we do. There’s no way that it can be flawless, so we are freed just a bit from the tyranny of perfection.

Opera isn’t for everyone, and although that can make it difficult to pay the bills, there are advantages to admitting that we’ll never be quite glossy, glib and whitewashed enough to complete with pop culture.

Trying to be perfect is overrated, unreasonable, and selfish in all of the wrong ways. Yes, do the work. Be prepared. But give yourself permission to acknowledge the place where the light seeps in, and be ready to embrace uncertainty.

The Audition Season Quote of the Day is a month-long series brought to you by Wolf Trap Opera.

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