Sunday, October 23, 2016

愚 is what makes it tape instead of paper.

So, I wanted to write iki (息, breath/breathing) for my desk at work, as a reminder. (I can be kinda intense; I forget to breathe.) I was paging through The Book for examples—kokoro radical, ten strokes—and happened onto this bit of wonderfulness.

The writer is Zangzhen, apparently considered one of the two greatest calligraphers of the Tang dynasty (7th to 10th centuries) and particularly good at cursive, fluid writing. ("The crazy Zhang and the drunk Su"—just my kind of crowd.)

I love looking through these examples by the old masters; I wouldn't say you can feel the person who was writing, but you can feel the energy with which the writing was done. Some writings are Correct and authoritative; some are somber or subdued; many are playful or energetic; some are made to look like something else. There's an expressiveness to kanji that English, love it though I do, doesn't afford.

The kanji in question isn't iki; it's one I found along the way. Not surprisingly, it's 愚 (gu), foolishness—in this expression, a foolishness which literally surpasseth the margins. I enjoy its lightness, indifference, dancingness. I loved writing yama in gyousho for the same reason: It always seemed to be running. (行、走)

I'd better write 愚, too, for around the house. Or maybe have it tattooed onto my face.