from C·y·b·e·r·scribes: The Online
Newsgroup for Calligraphers Worldwide
December 20, 1998
All The Worlds a Stage of Breathing Lines
by Linda Lanza
is a modest example of what Steve Skaggs calls jazz writing.
Having come to formal calligraphy as a musician and poet in the late '60s,
I've always called this intuitive approach to calligraphic writing eurythmicsthe
art of performing various bodily movements in rhythm (opens up all kinds
of possibilities, doesn't it!)working without prior drafts, sketches,
or even preconceptions, just showing up at the work table and playing
like a jazz musician... responding to the pulse of something going on
inside you, staying in the moment, bringing everything you know intuitively,
formally, and didactically, have ever learned, have ever experienced,
and also summoning what you may know but don't know that you know, to
bear in the moment, staying focused, breathing, breathing, breathing,
staying with the breath and just breathing the line, the mark, letting
the materials speak to you, and listening, listening, responding with
a gesture, listening more, responding, gesturing, and listening some more.
"Players" began this way, simply showing up empty and ready
to be filled, accepting whatever materials reached toward me when I opened
to them, palms up and listening. In this case, my jazz-band partners were
a piece of Arches 140# hot pressed paper, tongue depressors with one end
cut to a chisel-edge, and a paint palette from a project I'd finished
a few days before.
When the breath of the "illegible" section seemed to have been
spent, and I came up for more air, I looked at the residue of the process
that had just taken place. It suggested to me a crowd of multi-colored,
multi-faceted people, and the Shakespeare phrase floated up to my consciousness
so I wrote it underneath and called it finished.
I put "illegible" in quotation marks because, personally, I
don't agree that the markings, any markings, are illegible. I may not
consciously know what they stand for right now. I believe they hold all
kinds of liminal and subliminal emotion, information and meaning that
is simply beyond words, beyond the intellect, gossamer threads of our
collective breath made manifest. That's why sometimes a work of art can
seem so alive, be so full of life-energybe so breath-takingit
can take your breath away!
I prefer this method of callig-ing to all others. Sometimes I end up with
something wonderful to show for it. Sometimes not. I turn my rejects into
paste papers, bookcovers, take them down for postcards, tear them up for
accents on handmade greeting cards. But I've also put them aside, pulled
them out years later, and gone back into them with new layers of activity,
so that a piece from start to finish may have taken years to complete
but my actual conscious involvement with it may have been only a few hours.
No matter. Calligraphy in the key of life.
Contact Linda Lanza
For more information
about applied expressive writing arts for strength, growth & healing,
visit Linda's site: www.inkwings.com
material, images, and text on this site are the copyright of Linda Lanza
©1981-2014 and may not be reproduced without expressed permission
from the artist.