Saturday, October 6, 2007

making friends

He's called Baba Ganoosh - a little guy who pretty much demanded a physical (although limited) existence a couple of years ago. He can't stand up because his legs are too wobbly but he can sit in full lotus position (which I never could). He also has a wonderful and enigmatic smile.

I won't describe the torture involved in manifesting his little form - sculpture wire, bandaging, clay, carving, hair, beading, hand sewing, leather boots, painting - well, okay, I pretty much did describe it and it took a long time. Difficult as the process was it's nothing to the time and effort it takes to make/keep human friends. I hardly ever know where my friends are but I always know where Baba is.

Books can always be relied upon to provide distraction, entertainment and instruction so I read quite a lot. Occasionally I read one written by somebody I'd really like to have as a friend and so on behalf of Barry Hughart I'd like to recommend his wonderful novel, 'Bridge of Birds'.I've linked to an old interview with him since he's a most elusive man and difficult to catch up with but you'll get the general idea. The book is a delight - hilarious and often profound - but rather than writing a lengthy exposition, I'll end this post with a few words from Master Li, he who has a flaw in his character:

"The world of men is a world of incomprehension. Our senses are woefully limited. Our brains are but tiny candles flickering in an infinity of darkness. Our only wisdom is to admit that we cannot understand, and since we cannot understand we must do the best we can with faith, which is our only talent. The greatest act of faith we are capable of is that of loving another more than we love ourselves."

We could all do with flaws like that. Happy autumn or sad, reflective autumn - whatever feel best, my friends.

Okay, that was boring. Why would anybody be inclined to read a funny book having read such a serious paragraph? So here's another:

"Well, beauty is a ridiculously overrated commodity. Over the past eighty or ninety years I have known a great many beautiful women, and they've all been the same. A beauty is forced to lie in her bed in the morning in order to gather her strength for another battle with nature. Then, after being bathed and toweled by her maids, she loosens her hair in the Cascade of Teasing Willows style, paints her eyebrows in the Distant Mountain Range style, anoints herself with Nine Bends of the River Diving-Water perfume, applies rouge, mascara and eye-shadow, covers the whole works with two inches of the Powder of the Nonchalant Approach, squeezes into a plum blossom patterned tunic with matching skirt and stockings, adds four or five pounds of jewelry, looks in the mirror for any visible sign of humanity and is relieved to find none, checks to make sure her makeup has hardened into an immovable mask, sprinkles herself with the Hundred Ingredients Perfume of the Heavenly Spirits Who Descended in the Rain Shower, and minces with tiny steps toward the new day, which like any other day, consists of gossip and giggles."

"That's part of it!" I cried. "Lotus Cloud hops out of bed and plunges her head into a pail of cold water, bellows 'Aaarrrggghhh! runs a comb through her hair, and looks around to see if there's anyone handy who feels like making love. If such is the case, she hops back into bed. If not, she jumps into whatever clothes are lying around and leaps out the door - or window, it doesn't matter - to see what wonders the new day will bring, and since shes views the world with the delighted eyes of a child, the day is bound to be marvelous."

That's better! Have a marvelous day yourself.


  1. He has a long reach, and is surrounded by good friends. I'm sure he is quite pleased to spring from your imagination into the world. Oh to have a creator!

    Happy Canadian Thanksgiving to you and yours.

  2. Happy Thanksgiving to you too, my friend. We like to celebrate both around here and Chinese New Year too, as well as anything else worth celebrating.

  3. Boy, he's sure an arm-y and leggy fella. And he's got a face you won't forget. I do like the way you've done this.

    I followed the link back to your account before. It didn't look like you'd actually created a blog yet. Good to know about this one.

  4. I like Baba but forgot all about him when I started reading the book excerpts. I must get that book.

  5. "I hardly ever know where my friends are but I always know where Baba is."

    Baba is amazing. Without you, he would have been nothing and nowhere at all.

  6. Ben, thanks for dropping by this hopefully not too fogeyish site :-)

    Pursey, Naturally I checked out your blogs. You're pretty funny.. any relation to Persey Dovetonsils?

    Seraphine, Thanks for coming back. I'm very impressed by your work too and amazed by the consistency, wit and how prolific you are.

  7. WoW...a beautifully captured shot & lovely lighting reading your description!

  8. Kalyan, Considering the source that's high praise indeed. I love your work. Thank you.