Jan Donley, Author of The Side Door

Bardo - Between the Islands

15 August 08

I had dinner the other night with Vanessa and Kennon. They travel all of the time. I told them that traveling makes me anxious. Kennon asked me why. I told him that transitions are hard for me. He explained Bardo—a buddhist concept that, according to Wikipedia, means an intermediate or transitional state. Apparently bar means between and do means island. Kennon explained that the most fundamental transition is the one from life to death. He looked at my denim jacket, and he said, “Consider taking off that jacket and putting on another. Consider that transition. Consider the movement from life to death as being that simple.”

In my drawing class, the instructor spent a whole class period on the concept of negative space—that being the shapes that happen between and around the object you are trying to draw. For instance, if you look at a chair, you see the seat, the back, and the legs. But if you look at the space around and between the chair, you see something else. In drawing the negative space around a chair, you end up drawing a chair.

The two concepts—Bardo and Negative Space—seem related to me. I am working on a poem about that connection.



dj 5 September 08

Recalling a book “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain’’

Your poem captures in words the essence shown in how the left brain which does not deal with spaces, as someone gazes upon negative space, halts intruding with what it knows about the object allowing the right brain to take over in order to draw what is really there. I can only conclude in drawing the one shape, I must of course draw the other

luny 24 September 08

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