Calligraphy Log Week 5

So it went by in a breeze this time. I think I’ll have to go even longer if I’m going to have it feel like the same amount of time. I felt like I barely got any practice in. I stopped because it was bedtime, but maybe next week I’ll go longer than usual. On two sheets of paper instead of one.

I mean really, I don’t even feel like I contemplated much this time. It went so quickly. I think I’ll definitely have to go longer that time. Let’s see, what did I learn?

Oh, I know. I’ve learned something important; that sometimes you have to continually put in more effort to make a difference. It’s like exercise. I’ve gotten accustomed to the amount of calligraphy time I spend each session and now it flies by and feels easy. If I want to challenge myself I need to either try harder stokes or spend more time.

That’s a thought; next time I’ll try something new: the line instead of only the dot like I’ve been doing so far. I think exploring new territory is what I should do if I want to improve. I was kind of thinking that I would just try to perfect the dot during my time with this calligraphy, but I think that’s too limiting now.

Now that I, you know, get it, I want to try more. Do more. Learn more. It’s pretty fun, and if I learned how to do more kinds of strokes, then, duh, I could draw actual characters and have more fun with it.

No deep thoughts this time, except maybe what I wrote about learning to branch out. I think this calligraphy has been good for me so far, and has worked well as a contemplative passage. I am somewhat excited to write about it in the end.

Maybe I’ll even keep doing it after TOK, who knows.

Until next time.


Calligraphy Log Week 4

I’m finally getting the technique down, I think. For real this time. Rest, lean up, squish right, swoosh down, return. Over and over.

I don’t have as much profound to say as I did last time. It wasn’t as contemplative, it seemed, as usual.

One thing I noticed is that it felt like it went by a lot quicker than usual. Perhaps the rhythm is finally getting to me, and I don’t notice the time passing anymore? That’s pretty meditative. I guess, in any sort of activity like this, once you get numb to the simplicity, you can end up going for hours without noticing much else. I guess that’s the point.

I didn’t even open the book this time. I had the form of the stroke burned into my head I guess; I didn’t need it.

I also went even darker with the ink this time. And for the first time it seems that the lines were actually as dark as they’re supposed to look. Only on some of them, though. About 2/3 were grey like usual.

So what did I contemplate this time? Well, like I said; it felt like it went a lot faster; felt like I didn’t really think about anything but the stroke. Maybe that’s how it is sometimes; sometimes you’re just focusing on the activity, and sometimes your mind wanders. Which one is better though? Does focus mean that you are truly immersed in the activity, or does wandering mind mean that you’re so deeply focused you aren’t even thinking about it anymore? I don’t know. We’ll see what I feel next time.

I wonder if I’ll keep doing this after the six weeks is up. Probably not. It’s fun I guess and contemplative, but I just know that I’m not going to force myself to find the time when it isn’t an assignment. I could try to force myself but I don’t know if I want it that badly.

We’ll see.

Until next time.


Dreamin

My dreams, unfiltered, thought about, or censored. Straight from the heart, deep desires, wishes, and goals:

I want to race sled dogs.
I want to be an ultralight pilot.
I want to be a master chef.
I want to write novels, and pour these untold stories into the world.
I want to help people, change people; I want to counsel them, such as through psychiatry or some similar means.
I want to get better at playing the violin, and to get an electric one someday.
I want to travel, everywhere.
I want to be a treasure hunter.
I want to travel across a continent, with or without others, by foot or most likely car, and stop at every trace of civilization.
I want to scuba dive.
I want to be an astronaut.
I want to vindicate my idealism.
I want to climb mountains.
I want to donate constantly to charities.
I want to be who I want to be, kind, humble, sweet, full of life and laughter. I will drain this useless cynicism from my soul if it kills me.
I want to write poetry.
I want to learn to draw well.
I want to live in a small, quiet town.
I want to share it all with the love of my life.
I want to not be embarrased to share these dreams with anyone.
I want to learn to just go with things more, and not get caught up in arguing over details; not eveybody thinks like I do, and it’s not my place to change their minds. Leave it well enough alone.
I want to work at a movie theater.
I want to save the princess, defeat Air Man, and complete the Pokedex.
I want to learn to sail, and sail around the world.
I want to accept that it is good for the soul to have dreams such as these, and that there’s nothing in the world that can stop me from doing all of them if I try my hardest. Learn from Randy Pausch.
I want to be the very best.
I want to learn to sing.
I want to make people happy.
I want to skydive.
I want to believe.
I want to be the good cop.
I might want to be an actor.


Calligraphy Log, Week 3

So I’m really starting to get better at this. I used a lot more ink this time; I ground it for much longer and used less water. When I did that, the ink was a lot thicker and darker, and stayed much better on paper. Some of the dots I drew actually look almost black.

I think next time I will also try using even more ink.

Yes, still doing the dots. I’ve grown appreciative of the amount of effort that can go into one single tiny stroke. I mean, the dot stroke is really small and just kind of pales in comparison to the rest of a character, usually. It’s just tagging along, showing meaning or whatever, but not really showing off much. It’s simple.

But it’s so hard to draw. I think that might be a good lesson to take away from this whole calligraphy thing. That individual pieces, no matter how apparently insignificant or mundane, can have a lot of hidden depth that most people don’t see simply because they don’t look. By looking into this calligraphy—by looking into this stroke, I’ve seen the hidden depths; the countless hours masters of old must have spent poring over their parchment in desperate hope for that one perfect stroke and it’s just impossible. Caught within that simple little dark circle of ink are the outpoured souls of all calligraphers. I can see why all the books emphasize that each piece is as much a representative of the state of soul of the calligrapher at the time, and how impressively personal each little line and dot becomes.

Getting deep here, I know. But hey, that’s what this is all about right?

And I always find meanings in things like this. Hell if I know. Maybe it isn’t that deep.

But it’s what I see. It is what I am contemplating after a session. But not during, that’s important. It’s ridiculous to reflect and contemplate—to step aside and see yourself—while you are doing your task. You do the task. You write your script, you finish your argument. But all the time you are immersed in it. You go with it. You live it and breathe it and feel its wake awash over your soul and you don’t stop to listen. You don’t stop to think. That would be suicide.

You simply do.

And that, my friends, is calligraphy.

See you next week.


Calligraphy Log Week 2

So I’m getting a bit better. I put into practice some of the things I learned from last time. I ground the inkstick harder and longer, and I didn’t use as much water. That worked for the most part to make a darker ink. But I think I could go even darker. It’s tricky, though, because once it gets really dark it dries up quickly in the inkstone. We’ll see.

I realized something a bit way through; that I had been doing the dot wrong. I’ve been practicing only the dot technique so far and I suspect I won’t go further than that even by the end of six weeks. Anyway. I realized that I have to lightly inscribe upwards and then really just press the brush down to the right, then press the brush down to the down. That way, it makes a nice almost 90 degrees of ink on the right side of the dot. Which is what you want.

So I used up a whole sheet of paper drawing dots. I felt a little silly, looking over it and seeing that that was all that it was. But I looked and saw that overall the form was better in the later dots than the earlier ones. So I think that the practice is getting through to me.

It’s very meditative; calming I guess. Since it’s so repetitive in one aspect; you’re dipping ink, drawing a dot, dipping water, dipping ink, drawing a dot, over and over. But it also gives room to be a bit creative. Like where exactly you put the dot. Also, with each dot it’s a challenge to try and make a better dot than last time; so the whole time you’re thinking about your technique and exactly what steps you’re going to do and how they’re going to be better than last time’s steps and then you take a deep breath and plunge into the shape. And you inhale with a lilt at the top of the stroke, and then the tension relieves itself as you slide to the right and down and finish the stroke. It’s like resolving a chord; the cycle of tension then relaxation.

And then after all that you look and it’s just a spot of ink on the page. But it’s a pretty dot! Or at least slightly prettier than the last dot.

Grinding the ink was soothing, like before. Spent more time doing it this time because I was trying for darker ink. Whatever.

I had 89.9 All Classical FM in the background. Some pianist was being interviewed and he talked about Iceland and how he was married to another pianist and how Rachmaninoff’s music reflecting Russian landscapes or something. I couldn’t decide if he was entertaining or annoying to listen to as I calligraphized. Maybe I should turn off the radio next time; it might be distracting me from the ink and brush.

The book said Chinese students sometimes practice a single stroke for months.

Oh boy.

Actually, I believe that. It’s much more not simpler than it looks. I think I already said that last entry.

Well, anyway. I think this calligraphy thing was a good choice for contemplation so far. I mean, I’m reflecting, right? Let’s see what happens next week. Hey, who knows? I might just enlightenment, hidden within brushstrokes.

Until next time. Party on, dudes.


Updates

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Also fuck my mouse you are the worst mouse ever.

And with that, we’re off. So. Today’s post. How am I feeling, doctor man?

Pretty bitchin. Coolio. Rockin. All those good words.

Nope, not going to be emo and whinybitch today, no siree. That’s so last month. I’m too cool for that now.

Cool like Rainbow Dash!

Anyway. Enough rambling. I’ve got two more future things to think about since last postage.

First off, pilotry. Aviation. Whatever you want to call it. Flightering around the skies. For some time I thought this was the coolest thing ever. After all, you’re flying. And I looked into it a bit. There’s a bunch of things you can do with a pilot’s license. You can fly peeps and bitches around for money. You can fly a commercial jet. You can do shit like crop dusting.

Also, stunt flying. This is actually what seemed greatest to me. Pullin G’s like a boss, loopdeloopery and shit. You know it. Actually, being serious here for a second. The satisfaction and amazing feeling of pulling off some incredible maneouver (how the fuck do I spell that?) in the sky sends me the chillies and I think would be wonderful.

So yeah. Flying. You don’t need to study it at college or anything. You can go get it independently. So I might do that.

Nextly, here we go. Something I hadn’t thought much about before. But now that it’s bouncing around in my head it seems amazing and wonderful.

Music. I mean, duh, right? I love music so much. Why did I never think of doing it in college? Music theory is super cool and I’d love to learn all that stuff. Learning more and better musical skills and all that with pitch and chords and composition and arranging sounds really awesome. And there’s a lot you can do!

Actually, something that I was specifically thinking of was doing composing work. I’ve been reading about it a bit, and it sounds great. Firstly, assuming that I like to compose (I do) and that I’m good at it (learn that in class and always improving and also I have good beats and creative musical things I think) then we can look at jobs. Plenty of people do freelance composing for movies, games, theater, TV, etc. And it pays pretty well. And they say that it’s kinda hard even if you’re amazing to stand out to potential employers but name recognition comes with time and if you work something else to get by while you’re building a compositional name then it’s not so bad.

I just love the idea of freelance composition, now that it’s been turning over in my head. Just imagine, not bound by location or time. I can compose anywhere, and I can compose anywhen. Yeah, there’s deadlines, but I can make those. The point is that it’s not 9-5 (unless I want it to be).

I’m just falling in love with the idea of waking up, heading down to the park, composing in my notebook for a while. Then heading out for breakfast. Maybe on the esplanade. Then composing a bit more over my biscuit, looking out over the river. Then maybe I have a club or a class to go to (acting, plane lessons, whatever). Then I have some lunch maybe with some friends. Then I go see a movie or a play or something. Then I compose a bit more before dinner. Then I eat. Then party and bed, or compose some more if I’m feeling it.

And just imagine having a day like that most days. Punctuated by turning in a music and getting a paycheck and looking for a new offer. Granted, all of that I described above could apply to any kind or creative freelance things. But if I like and am good at musical writing, then it would be so perfect.

I know I’m getting ahead of myself here, but it’s just what’s been going on it my head the last few days.

So, another thing I realized from all this soul searching is something very important. That I don’t really know why I didn’t think of this much before.

I know exactly what I’m going to do in college. And this is it:

I’m going to take at least one class in every subject that interests me even a little. (so far, the list seems to be music, psychology, math, aviation, maybe a science like geology, creative writing, etc). And do this for a year or two until I find one that really clicks. I can’t know what will click until I try it. And also having varied classes like that would be nice and educationally perspectivey, like the guy from Quest college was talking about. So I think this is a great idea. No worries about life and future and career and all that crap. Just have fun taking interesting classes (never really get another chance for that) and see if something really latches onto me. That’s what I’m going to do.

So that means that when looking for a college, the important things for me to remember are (a) a large variety of courses, (b) good teachers in most of those courses, (c) good location and aesthetic (if I’m going to enjoy myself, the environment better be conducive to enjoying myself) and maybe (d) something neat about the course structure, like a way to allow more exposition to moar subjects.

And then once I’ve found my cutie mark at that school, I’ll do what I have to do to live it. Grad school, if it’s that sort of thing, or whatever the next step may be. In any case, I don’t have to worry about it right now.

I’ve also been thinking that it might be best to go to an Oregon or Washington college. I’ve thought about going someplace like eastcoast or mild west or somewhere like Colorado. But I dunno. I think that, if I take the view of undergrad school as a place to have fun, learn some experiences, and find the clicking subject, it’d be best to be close to home. I like it here anyways. And it’s really nice to be within a few hours drive of my home town and my house and my parents. I think I would like that.

Especially if I do any sort of Gap program that would shoot me somewhere else for a  while; that might satisfy whatever wanderlust I may have and let me peacefully study back near home.

Ooh, I just had a great thought. Imagine heading down to the Schnitzer with my dad to see a symphony that I COMPOSED. That would be so great. *sigh*

So, what else?

Oh. I got my driver’s license. Now I’m free. Hee hee.

So about the close to home thing up there. I had another thought. Part of me is so scared that it’s going to be BOOM OFF TO COLLEGE NEVER SEE FAMILY AGAIN LIVE YOUR OWN LONELY LIFE BY YOURSELF ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

But it doesn’t have to be like that at all. During and/or after college, especially if I stayed close, life wouldn’t be that much crazier. I’d not be a real adult yet. I’d still be a young person. Doing young person things. Being with my friends. Seeing my family often. Bumbling around the minefield of love.

Most of all, I’d still be me. I’m not going to change just because I’m older and wiser. I’d still be me. Cameron. Nobody else. I think that I forgot that for a bit when I was afraid for the future. I’m not going anywhere. I think I was afraid that I was going to lose myself and become somebody else when I grew up. But that’s just not true. I’ll still be me.

I’ll still be me. And that is so cool.


Calligraphy Log Week 1

Calligraphy is hard. A lot harder than it looks. I’ve tried it before, in Chinese class, and it hasn’t gotten any easier. But that’s what this is for, partially, right? Learning something?

Anyway. I spent an hour relaxed at the dining room table, leafing through the calligraphy book I got and practicing on paper. I appreciated the steps the book laid out about preparing your mind and about the proper way of sitting, as both of those pieces helped me relax and focus on the contemplative aspects as well as the technical and artistic.

Huh, this sounds all deep and everything, but really I just set brush to paper for an hour trying to make shapes.

Anyway, grinding the ink was pretty special. It was rhythmic and calming. I understand now the focus the book put on that. In general there was a lot of focus on the aesthetic and the set-up of the whole thing. The paper goes square in front of you, the brush and water in reach to the right, the book to the left. I think that going through a routine of setting up like that and grinding the ink and all that really will help focus my mind and relax when I do this.

I used some of the breathing exercises we’ve learned to relax before doing the brushwork.

As for the actual strokes, I mostly practiced the simple dot today. It’s the first thing in the book and seems a good place to start. But it’s actually really surprising that even the simplest thing; a single dot takes a lot of effort and practice to look good and I’ve gotten nowhere near making it look good.

I think I might just continue trying that dot until I get it, even if it takes the entire six weeks. I think the repetition of trying that same stroke over and over will open my contemplative thoughts a bit more.

Anything else? Well, uh. I need to grind more ink next time; it was way too watery.

See you next week.