Free your mind. Open your heart. Where is your heart? You must feel fully hearted. Let everything around you melt away. Your brain, your arm, the pen: they are one. Be one with the universe.
It’s not quite Confucius speaking.
Welcome to calligraphy, an exercise that requires as much discipline and total mind-body awareness as any other yogic or martial arts practice. The summer school at NCCU offered two free workshops, one last week and the final one today. The first class consisted mostly of getting a feel for how to use the brush (毛筆) and drawing simple dots and lines.
I have to say, it was slightly difficult to be wholly focused on the process when this is what we were drawing (see left)：
Today’s class was a tad more interesting since we were allowed to try out writing Chinese characters, but was still a whole lotta difficult. One of the Taiwanese girls who was helping out told me that they start learning how to do calligraphy in the second grade. Every day they have to draw the same one stroke over and over and over and over and over again for two hours. They continue building upon this up through high school.我覺得他們都吃了非常多辛苦！！！
I would love to see any American kid in elementary school sit in one place for that long drawing lines.
As for me, I also don’t think “calligraphy master” is going to be on my resume any time soon, but it was fun to try out such an important piece of Chinese culture.