April 5, 2016

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April 5, 2016


I wandered around in the old Woodstock Library.  It was fall 1983.  I found an old paperback named The Pillow Book.  The writer was Sei Shonagōn, a woman of the court of Japan about 1000 AD.  Ivan Morris had translated it.  I curled up in one of the big easy chairs beneath the picture windows by the entrance. 
I looked at The Pillow Book.  A detail from the Genji Scroll decorated the cover.  I leafed through its pages.  It began with a gorgeous description of the seasons.  I read further into the book.  Sei Shonagōn had been writing in the same style and structure and mostly on the same subject that I had been writing about a thousand years before me!  Stunned, I set the book down.  I liked the way Morris had numbered the sections and began them with a fragment of the opening line or labeled them a list.  I knew I could use that.  I studied the leaves of the fall trees outside.  Then I plopped back down in the chair and began reading intently.

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