The first Buddhist priestess wins the Women’s Creativity Award

Perhaps an extraordinary year in the life of Japanese-American writer Ruth Ozeki, who won this year the (British) Women of Creativity Award. As was the case for the novel written by women’s pens, the list included six strong titles and some expectations emerged that “Lost Tree Island” owner Elif Shafak would win, along with “Wealth and Weakness” by Meg Mason . account. .
Ozeki herself has not included it in her daily program. The day the result was announced, she prepared with enough plans to devour the whole day, leaving no way out for her soul, for the harshness of the expectation. She laughs addictively: I do not want to say no complaints, but I’m not used to winning anything!
The women’s foundations and the women who have supported her along the way are the ones who deserve her thanks for receiving the award. She also attributed the secret of her victory in the British newspaper “The Guardian” to chance, because none of the books on the long list and on the short list were fully qualified for her to win, and the first thing she did this morning after won. the price was to sit for a long time in one position, practicing meditation.
Jury chairwoman Marie-Ann Siegart says: “We were so happy to see Ruth Ozek’s ‘Book of Shape and Space’, his warm and cool, sharp and sharp style. It is a celebration of the power of books and the joy of reading, tackling the dilemmas of life and death, through a truly startling and original tale.

Is there a limit to a person’s desire to accumulate more?
Ozeki is a passionate novelist, director, environmental activist and feminist. She turned to Buddhism after the death of her parents, seeking refuge from a breakdown whose feet could be heard from nearby objects. Afterwards, she went a long way in Zen’s teachings, until she was ordained in 2015. Then, she can say with confidence: I am the first Buddhist priestess to win the Women’s Award for Creativity.

Ozeki grew up reading Rachel Carson; The American writer and aquatic biologist, who emphasized in her books the interrelationship between all living things and the dependence of human well-being on natural processes, which developed her ability to integrate issues of science, technology, religion, environmental policy, and culture. global pop. in unique forms. Her first and second novels, The Year of My Flesh (1998) and All Creatures (2003), have been published in 14 countries and translated into 11 languages. Her third novel, A Tale of Present Time (2013), was published in more than thirty countries and won the Times Book Award and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. , which raises many very real issues, such as climate change, consumerism, mental illness, and raises a number of existential questions: What is real? Is there a limit to the human desire to accumulate more?

Memorial quilt from the shirt of the dead

Ruth Ozeki holds her book The Book of Shape and Space, which won the Women Award for Fiction 2022, at Bedford Square Gardens / London (6/15/2022 / Getty)


The book of form and space tells the story of a young boy, Benny Oh, whose father is hit by a chicken truck behind their home in a well-known Chinese neighborhood. Kenji, Benny’s father, was a clarinetist who loved jazz and when they were about to burn his body, a fiery question occupied the boy’s mind: Would they burn the clarinet with the hand that caressed him ?!
The coffin in the coffin was not actually Kenny, Benny concluded, however he could not help but look at it as it was thrown into the fire. He preferred to leave, following a voice calling to him “somewhere in the depths of the building.”
Thus Ozeki begins her bizarre story with the sounds that come out of everything about a boy named Benny. She asks him to take care of her, or wants to show her some of her pain from negligence and abuse, so that the rotten debris in the fridge murmurs in her ear; moldy cheese groans; Sigh the dried lettuce leaves, sigh half a cup of yogurt left on the back shelf.
Penny did not quite understand what things were saying, a chattering mixture that felt his emotional tone; Some are soft, smooth, buzzing or buzzing, and others are nasty, angry and full of pain, and the metal skin rubbing against each other!
Rather, Annabelle, his mother, falls prey to consumerism and accumulation, refuses to bow for a year before his desire to get rid of it, and even worse, is eager to accumulate it day after day, though she sometimes talks to her (husband’s shirts, snowballs, yellow teapot).
Annabelle chooses to stick to her job as an archivist, leaving her home filled with newspaper clippings and dusty news. Protests and noise increase day by day so much that a child’s ear can not cope and very soon the relationship between them breaks down and fails to create a new family culture; He can not silence the voices, nor can she give up on anything!

On one occasion, Annabelle is making a “memory quilt” out of her husband’s clothes, praying with magical realism to make old Kenji blouses scattered on her bed so that, to their astonished eyes, as if “he was already trying to organize himself in a quilt shape.” But in the end, without Ken, his flying soul, neither his son nor his widow can organize their own lives!

Embellish reality with a fantasy veil

Ben ends up in the psychiatric ward, under the care of Dr. Melanie. He was no longer able to concentrate on school and the crisis got to the point of hitting himself with sharp Chinese scissors. He was initially diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and later, with early signs of schizoaffective disorder. And he had to seek refuge for his weary soul in the silence of a large public library, where things are good at acting, and they knew the value of speaking in a whisper, to reveal to him a world of cloud from which he can draw his lesson in life, what is really worth the consequences of asking, and how can he find his unique voice in the uniqueness of every human being, in the midst of all this noise and chaos.
The idea for the book Full of Sounds, which took Ozek eight years to write, dates back to her father’s death in 1998. For a year, the child has been listening to her talk to him; “Every time I put something in the house while folding my clothes, I heard it calling my name. When I came back, there was no one.” Like Benny, who struggled with depression and anxiety, Ozeki spent several weeks in a psychiatric ward after having a nervous breakdown at boarding school.

Ozeki made an attempt to count what she had in her parents’ home in New Haven in 2002, after her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. She found gifts for her father from First Nation, with whom he worked as an anthropologist. She also found Japanese artifacts belonging to her mother, a language professor, a set of smooth pebbles belonging to her grandfather during his arrest in New Mexico, and a box on which he carefully wrote “Empty Box.” ; “I knew these things had stories, but I did not know what those stories were, so I felt sad.”
Ozeki has since been able to develop a relationship with things as if she were conscious and can share her conversation with them. She says it was the inspiration for the novel and so far “I’m thinking about stories that things could tell if they could just talk.”

When a book can talk to us
The Guardian reports that Penny’s adventures in the society he created from the books are vividly reminiscent of Borges, as well as Russell Hoban, Tim Powers or Thomas Pynchon. In a review in Good Reader, a reader described what Ozeki did by presenting these broken relationships that he thought he was addressing not just one person, but an entire world, a world that did not exist before, except that which is parallel with ours, a world built with ideas That penetrates the text constantly, precisely in time. A voice that comments on the present, or that the present is attached to itself. So does Zen Buddhism have a role in giving this cheerful spirit to the Book of Form and Emptiness?
“I just have a weird sense of humor, because the other side of sad things is usually funny,” Ozeki says. “There’s a reason Shakespeare’s tragedies always have a clown in them. Everything is funny and everything is really sad, they are both. Of them together, just like ‘The Book of Form and Void’.” ‘, through which she wanted to teach us that nothing is real, things do not accept immutability, are in a state of constant development and besides them instability, they contain within them a colossal emptiness!

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