Friday Mar 28, 2008

Experimenting with New Ink

Experimenting with New Ink

Once, when I was 7 or 8, I received two lessons from a master Persian calligrapher, a Mr. Foradi, in Tehran.

Mr. Foradi used to be on contract at my fathers' advertising and design firm. In the first lesson, he taught me how to hold the pen, how to ink its tip, and how to cushion the thin calligraphy paper. He then asked me to write, 100 times in a neat row: "A Man's Virtue is Far Better than His Post and Wealth"—a piece from a 1000 year old Persian poem.

  ادب مرد به ز دولت اوست. 

It is hard to find expert Persian calligraphers and the right equipment and training in the U.S. 

My father bought me the Persian calligraphy pen shown in this photo from The Persian Calligraphy Institute in Tehran, Iran, in August of 2006. 

I used the pen and the special ink, which my father had also purchased for me, to write "Traditional Music" on a piece of printer paper. (I should say here that I didn't think much of Persian traditional music when I first arrived in the U.S. as a teenager. Now, I have learned to appreciate enough of its subtleties to enjoy it.) 

Once, when I was 7 or 8, I received two lessons from a master Persian calligrapher, a Mr. Foradi, in Tehran. Mr. Foradi used to be on contract at my fathers' advertising and design firm. In the first lesson, he taught me how to hold the pen, how to cushion the paper and asked me to write, 100 times, that "A Man's Virtue is Far Better than His Post"—a piece from a 1000 year old Persian poem.

 

Friday Nov 23, 2007

The Value of the Typewriter

International Herald Tribune reporter Doreen Carvajal writes about the value of the typewriter.

Saturday Jan 13, 2007

Light on Character

If you'd like some light but insightful reading on character with plenty of literary illustrations, consider Lajos Egri's The Art of Dramatic Writing. I ran into Egri's book in an independent bookstore quite accidentally. Egri's book reads as crisply as it must have read back in 1942 when it was first published as How to Write a Play. The first Touchstone edition, which I have in my hands came out in 2004. In this day and age, if a book survives past 60 years, let it be named a modern classic!

Prior to plunging into Egri's writing, you may want to consider reading A Doll's House or Tartuffe or something more modern, perhaps Betrayal.

Thursday Jan 04, 2007

Snow Flakes


Small tourist towns such as South Lake Tahoe, near where I was fortunate enough to ski with my wife and daughters over the Chirstmas holidays, can still sustain independent and small businesses such as the Neighbors Bookstore.

We went there to supplement the books we had bought or borrowed from libraries back home--one must have alternatives to skiing when snow pack is insufficient. In the very small but well-stocked drama section, I was yet again fortunate enough to find and buy the single copy of Lajos Egri's The Art of Dramatic Writing: Its Basis in The Creative Interpretation of Human Motives that still stood on the half full shelves.


I found this passage particularly apt given how it started:

Science will tell you that no two snowflakes have ever been discovered to be identical. The slightest disturbance in the atmosphere, the direction of the wind, the position of the falling snowflake, will alter the pattern. Thus there is endless variety in their design.  The same law governs us all. Whether one's father is always kind, or only kind occasionally, or kind but once, or never kind, will profoundly affect one's development. And if the paternal kindness coincided with one's happiest and most contented moments, it might pass unrecognized. Every move hinges upon the peculiar circumstances of the given moment. 

There you have it -- lots of philosophy packed into a fragment from one paragraph by Egri, found on a cold snowy night in South Lake Tahoe with no laptop in sight.

Notes:

For the physics of snow crystals, see here.

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