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Showing posts from March, 2009

Memories of Taiwan: the calligraphy master

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The most enduring memories I have of my trip to Taiwan are of the locals we met, in particular one or 2 very remarkable individuals. The calligraphy master was one of these.

My good friend, photographer Lucia Ondrusova, had asked whether I would be interested in accompanying her to the master's house/shop. Almost everyone in Kaohsiung lives and works in the same space, and their shops generally stay open till late in the faint hope of extra custom. One of my Chen Pan-Ling martial arts "sisters", Karen Jensen had apparently seen the shop open during the day, and told Lucia, her room mate at our hotel. Having experienced a calligraphy lesson at a Buddhist monastery the day before, Lucia was quite enthusiastic - and I must say that my own interest had been piqued (you can read about the monastery experience here).

As we walked along the ramshackle streets searching for the address it occurred to me that, ostensibly, I not only fulfilled the function of a protective escort…

Friendship without mystery

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While I'm on the subject of love and friendship...

In my experience there are 2 kinds of friendship: those that exist principally in a comfortable social environment and those that can exist independent of this. I have been privileged to experience just a few of the latter in my life. What characterizes them is not any kind of emotional dependence, exchange of favors or enjoyment of common interests; these might occur but they might just as easily not. In fact, often such friendships seem utterly without logical basis to the outside observer. Yet they work - in fact, they go to the "pit of your stomach" as I said in my previous post "The capacity to love".

In my view what characterizes such friendships is a mutual understanding; you "get" each other. There is no "mystery" between you. That is not to say that you know every fact relating to your friend; you might know comparatively little. But you intuitively understand his or her motiva…