Sensei Michael, Sensei Jan and I have been having an online discussion about kata and bunkai. Sensei Michael quoted a book and said that he had “Written notes in the margins.” I do that, too. I write notes in the margins, on the blank pages, inside the cover. Sometimes I have so much to say that I even write over the words on the page, to the point where I might not be able to read what the author wrote because of what I wrote!
There are many people who will not write in a book. They believe is defaces the printed word. I enjoy receiving books that other people have written in. That way, I not only engage the author of the book in conversation, I am able to engage the author/authors of notes in a conversation as well. I have a friend who has chosen to write on post-it notes. She puts identifying marks on the notes. She then allows the new reader to leave the notes or not, and read it free of her conversation, or include her.
In Jewish interpretation of the Tanak, there is a process called midrash. Midrash is engaging the text through an interpretive process, and many times, includes writing the interpretation alongside the text. Sometimes the midrach can become art.
Just think of the multitude of conversations we have as we read people’s work. And along side of that, we read the conversation that others have had with the work. You multiply that by the number of books you have, and the conversations are numerous. We soon realize that each conversation has an affect on our understanding.
This is true with life. Each of you are writing in the margins of my life, and I in yours. We engage in conversations with each other. Through these conversations, we encounter the thoughts, feelings, beliefs and understandings of an ever-widening circle. We come to know one another, as well as those with whom we have connected.
And so, feel free to write in any book of mine. In fact, I hope you do. I’ll re-read it having a new conversation with you included. More importantly, I ask you to write in the margins of my life. Enter into discussions with me. Engage the dialogues of others in my circles. View the pictures of what I have seen. And I will do the same for you.