Franz’s beautifully crafted memoir chronicles the months that she and her husband, both Americans, lived in Japan, separated by the rules of the Zen monastery where Koun was cloistered. Presented as a diary, the book is both immediate and reflective, full of anecdotes from Franz’s daily life as a gaijin as well as meditations on time, love, culture, and more. Franz is a compassionate and keenly observant writer, always trying to understand the rituals that shape her new life, and, as in her pottery class, always feeling she fails. Yet ultimately she learns to understand by not understanding, to see by not seeing—lessons which also help her confront the difficulties of her past. As she comes to accept the damaged and flawed parts of herself she’d once wanted only to abandon, her writing grows steadily more relaxed and humorous, her stories more vivid. By the end, you’ll miss both Franz and the many students, colleagues, monks, and relatives she’s helped you get to know. But you’ll also recognize that letting go is part of keeping, a truth Franz gestures to in her title, with its allusion to the primary elements of pottery: what remains and what flows away.
My Year of Dirt and Water - Tracy Franz
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Stone Bridge Press - July 10th, 2018