We're Safe and Here...

I smell the ocean with every breath. And my breaths are measurably bigger. *sighs* We're going to the beach today so I can finally get back into the cold, vigorous Pacific again...

Was greeted, yesterday with a mountain of gorgeous, breathtaking calligraphy and painting by my Mom and Dad, and I feel like the child I am, again. *laughs* Always. We also got an eight course dinner with duck, spicy whole fish, red cooked spare ribs, spinach, and other things we just can't get in Colorado.

It's good to be, in some sense, home again.

There's a script style calligraphy that's even more exact than the block style, it *looks* free flowing and wild, but actually every stroke, the depth of it, the width of it, the placement of it is even more exactly prescribed by tradition than the strokes and lengths of the print.

When one writes poetry in this style, each character is joined to the one next to it, so that each line must be done "in one breath". It's stupendously exacting and beautiful, and utterly amazing to really see now that I've been painting for a while.

Dad's teacher was made a forester during the Cultural Revolution and out in the woods he practiced his calligrapy day after day. When he was finally allowed back again, he entered some contests and place first... and his career has gone on from there. He can copy, to the exact thickness and speed of each stroke, scolls 1000 years old. He's also created his own style of script that people are emulating today... that, bemuses me. Style within structure.

One of my "uncle"s, a long-time family friend is publishing books of poetry in his calligraphy, both the conventional block style and the really, really old bones and curves style that's mostly used for chops now. Nearly no one does that with a brush anymore, but he decided he had to. *laughs*

And the *paintings*. My Mom and Dad's collection now makes much more of an impact on me. I understand, better now, what the heck's going on with them. What bemuses and amazes me is that Mom and Dad *like* the child's scrawls I've been doing, now. *laughs* It... means a lot to me that you folks like 'em, but to have someone that understands what I'm trying to emulate go... oh, you're doing pretty well... that's... wow.

And, actually, I was wrong. The picture of the ink stick that I said was my grandfather's? That's actually just a stick my mom bought and wasn't going to use, as she likes the bottled ink better. Yesterday, she gave me the wooden boxed ink stick that was her Dad's. It's... intimidating. *laughs*

What capped it all off was a fortune cookie, last night, that said, "Don't expect to find one right way to make yourself more creative."

I think I'd better listen.
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What an inspiring visit.

My calligraphy teacher (also my sword teacher) works with the old Hungarian sword runes. They are very much about correct placement upon the page and, not only the marks, but the spaces around them. Moreover, the breath eventually becomes part of the brush or pen strokes (although in the beginning stages it's just trying to copy the form correctly.) There are also sounds which are linked to each rune, and they have an effect. These are meant to be undertaken in conjunction with physical practice with the sword-sticks. So there is a large and small combination of effort.

It sounds as though the Chinese techniques that you are learning and which your parents have learned are very similar.
Mmm... yes. There's a lot to the connection between sword play and the character of a person to how one executes ones writing. It's amazing to know that that's true in the Hungarian styles as well, and neat to see the connections there as well.


I'm trying to follow in some of their footsteps and the steps of my grandparents in a way as my grandfather on my mother's side was a renouned calligraphist. But, yes, I'm just on the first steps of the path they're treading more fully. Hey, if I'm even nearly as good as they are in 27 more years, I'll be very happy. *laughs*
I think I've heard of that incredibly-joined-up calligraphy before: it was mentioned in one of the Judge Dee novels. The Judge looks at it and says, "How artistic! How masterful! What amazing control!" but his significantly less-cultured assistant, an ex-highwayman, mutters to another assistant that he can hardly read it. Alas. :)
Oh!!! That's so *perfect* as a Judge Dee moment.

And, yeah, it is nearly illegible to someone that can just barely read characters. *laughs and laughs*

Oh, I love it. That's exactly it. *grins*
(finds the quote)

The sergeant and Ma Joong looked up intently. The inscription was written in very cursive style.

"I can't identify a single character!" Sergeant Hoong exclaimed.

Judge Dee did not seem to have heard him. He stood there gazing enraptured at the incription.

"That is the most magnificent calligraphy I have ever seen!" he sighed. "Unfortunately the signature is so covered in moss that I can hardly read it. Yes, that is it. 'The Hermit Clad in Crane Feathers.' What a curious name!"

The judge thought for a moment. Then he continued: "I cannot remember ever having heard of a person of that name. But whoever he is, that man is a superb calligrapher! Seeing such writing, my friends, one understands why the ancients praised great calligraphy by comparing it to 'the tension of a crouching panther, and the wild force of dragons sporting among rain and thunder.'"

Judge Dee passed through the archway, still shaking his head in admiration.

"Give me handwriting that a man can read!" Ma Joong whispered to the sergeant.

-- The Chinese Maze Murders
Goodness... reminds me that there's this gorgeous painting i want to emulate, which has mists about a mountain and in the midst of the mist are the coils of a dragon peeking through the breaks. No head or tail, just a few coils... so it looks, at first, just like a classical painting of mountains and mists... but with a hint of dragon...
"Don't expect to find one right way to make yourself more creative."

wow how true that is. I miss you but I am glad you are having such a rejuvenating visit even if i can't spell it!
*hugs* Yeah. Miss my usual contacts too, but it's been a very good visit so far. whew.
I should. *sighs* but not here. too many people here for John to remain sane, and he needs the cold winters or he gets cranky.

But gods I miss the Pacific Rim... and it would be good to breathe again. I have tests at the end of August. I'll bring the John Fellow and I need to work through the whole prognisis thing and some of the data things to really see if moving would make a difference. I suspect the smog profile for So. Cal would be no better for me... but that's a wild-assed guess and I really do need data before uprooting Jet. *sighs*

Though... drat. Gryn's point about uhm.. think... "lose a Mom" versus "moving which all kids do..." Uhm.. Right.
that sounds awesome...and a very good lesson about the survival of the creative impulse.

the best fortune-cookie i ever got said "don't answer the phone." i'm using it in a story *laughing*
oh, you *must* *laughs and laughs* that is the best I've heard.

It is a good lesson. Seems there's been a long line of poets and painters in my family, and it's odd and cool to delve in that now that my parents are finally acknowledging that side of themselves as well after being a lab tech and an engineer themselves for so long. Weird and cool, after self-defining as left-brained to come into the other half of my inheritance, so to speak.