Chinese Calligraphy and Its Life Lessons

I read an article lately written by an alum from my high school, which I weirdly related to a lot - and I say “weirdly” because I never thought this would be a problem for me. She wrote about how, in college, she does not want to pursue writing as a profession anymore, despite being known as the most incredible and talented writer that has ever graced our high school. It seemed disappointing at first, but she thinks it's best for herself. I'm no writer like her, but my Chinese Calligraphy skills have brought many to the idea that I will pursue calligraphy as a profession in the future. Granted, I'm incredibly flattered. I never set out to have a talent I was blessed with. I was very fortunate to be able to use my calligraphy skills and collaborated with animation companies, such as Disney, or write pieces such as Chinese Couplets for big corporations in Taiwan and China. However, I never set out to actually make a name for myself with my calligraphy skills. I was a very simple girl who could sit her ass down long enough to practice a piece over and over again ever since six years old. Coincidentally and fortunately, I fell in love with the craft. But now? I'm not too sure. The amount of pressure I have to churn out a calligraphy piece is insurmountable. I always feel like a fraud on some level because when people ask me to craft my own writing and own piece for them without my teacher's guidance, I feel like I'm giving them a second hand shit show. I barely know what I'm doing when I write a piece on my own. I don't have my own style, and I certainly have not practiced for enough years to be able to write the way my teacher writes. But the illusion that I can or I will simply scares me. I don't want to lose passion for this craft; It's far too important in my life to give up now. I'm going to college, and certainly a dorm room won't allow for much room to practice; plus all the college shenanigans going on, the odds are against me. It'll die out somehow. My passion. But every day I see someone who's seen my work, they say to me, "we know you're going to college, but we are so looking forward to next year's calligraphy couplets from you. We love them so much." And these words always kill me. It doesn't matter if I know them well; this kind of support always brings tears to my eyes. And it gives me motivation to continue.

 

Maybe I don't need to make a career out of this craft. Maybe somehow one way or another, I'll creep back in, and it might be part of my career. I guess I just have to wait and see where life takes me. Even if I stop calligraphy after college, the years I spent practicing, those will never change. It'll be the most beautiful memory I get to own because it was a little career I got to call my own. It might disappoint a lot of people - not pursuing this art form - but at the end of the day, my passion and love for this art is far more important. And if full-fledged pursuing this as a career in the future will kill my passion for Chinese Calligraphy, then I'm gonna have to say no to this.

 

I know this sounds super arrogant, insensitive, and arbitrary because I actually had a little success with this talent, and Chinese Calligraphy isn’t exactly the most famous art form in America, but I guess the point is: to anyone out there who wants success in their talent, passion, or career, don't be alarmed when plans change when you are on an uphill climb or when you hit the summit. Plans change all the time. Sometimes your greatest love turns out to just be a beautiful past. But never forget the journey you had with whatever you started out with. It's not "I've failed." It's "I've tried. And my amazing run with it will forever be mine. Now, I'm ready for more." Don't fret when you get to a place where you don't know what you want to do anymore. No one does. At those bleakest moment, pick up a book, watch a TV show, hang out with your friends, go travel, do something, find inspiration. It's all around you. I don't and will never believe that we are only meant for one thing and one thing only. We evolve. Our passions do too. Sometimes you just have to accept the fact that it does. And when you do, you'll see many more doors opening up for you.