contribute | book | poem | background
The Shower Book is modelled on the Japanese classic, the Pillow book, which documents the fine detail of life as a courtier. However, while the Pillow Book is the work of a highly sensitised young woman, The Shower Book is the result of collective authorship. It's like a experiential quilt, dedicated to the mystical experience at the heart of Australian everyday life.
Sei Shonagon's Pillow Book lists the numerous fancies, irritations, desires of a courtesan of the highly aesthetic Heijan period. It is impressive to read of such a finely-sensed world, where hardly a detail of dress, correspondence or gesture escapes notice.

How might it be possible to re-create something of that sense in our own time?

The principle obstacle appears to be lifestyle: we do not have hours free to compose ourselves for the drama of an elite court. Perhaps there is a different route. The court of our time might be seen as the Internet, where the collective mind converses with itself and tests our different ideas and personalities. As an integral part of this collective, we invite you to contribute to one of the lists that make our own equivalent of the Pillow Book—the Shower Book.

Things that are distant though near.

Festivals celebrated near the Palace.
Relations between brothers, sisters and other members of a family who do not love each other.
The zigzag path leading up to the temple at Kurama.
The last day of the Twelfth Month and the first of the First.

Things that are near though distant

The course of a boat.
Relations between a man and a woman.

Sei Shonagon (965 - ?) The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon Harmondsworth: Penguin (trans. Ivan Morris), 1971 (orig. 997), p. 181

See also the way the Victorian gas crisis brought showers to the fore.
Water Medicine | Artists | Tour | FAQ | Contact