An Exercise in ImperfectionBeijing, Spring 2012

To my readers – first off, I apologize for the lack of updates! It’s been a busy couple of weeks at IES, and while I have many things to blog about, I haven’t yet found time to blog. So here is the first in a series of quick updates on various aspects of life at IES Beijing.

One of my biggest goals for my semester in China was to take a class on calligraphy. Unfortunately, since I decided to do the Contemporary Issues program rather than Language Intensive, I was unable to sign up for the calligraphy class with Fang Laoshi, the resident art professor at IES Beijing whose work is featured throughout the building. However, he did have a calligraphy “club” that met once a week to teach basic calligraphy, and I was thankfully able to sign up!

I had tried calligraphy once before in high school when I took Japanese, and once again I found that the same problems that plagued me then still affected me now – I had trouble moving the brush slowly enough, I didn’t put enough force into some of the strokes, and sometimes had trouble distinguishing between which technique to use when. Despite that, the calligraphy club has been a great way both to relax midway through the week, listen to Fang Laoshi lecture about the history of calligraphy and proper technique, and allow myself to be imperfect for once. I had no grade dependent on my calligraphy performance, so I was able to try without fear of failure, appreciate the art form, and loosen up a bit.

That, and I got Fang Laoshi to write my name – so if nothing else, I came away from the experience with an awesome piece of artwork done by a man who seems to know everything about everything.

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1 Comment

  1. Good for you for allowing imperfection! The acquisition of a skill and an appreciation for the art form and history makes the class a great use of your time- and a skill you can use later. Perhaps people’s names in Chinese???

    Learning for a grade is necessary and challenging, but learning for learning’s sake is one of the great joys in life.

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