I'll go with thee to the lane's end... I am a kind of burr, I shall stick. Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

I write not to teach but to learn. Rebecca West

drew's writing:

  • "Always Forever Now," Ideomancer volume 13, issue 2
  • "Black Sun," Black Static # 32
  • "Bread or Cake" and "Pride/Shame,"2nd Annual Philadelphia One-Minute Play Festival
  • "Copper Heart," Polluto Magazine issue 5, A Steampunk Orange
  • "The Accomplished Birder's Guide to Overcoming Rejection," Last Drink Bird Head, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
  • "Another Night With the Henriksens," Player's Theater Halloween One-Act Festival NYC 2008
  • "Hating the Lovers," and "Pipe Down!" Geez Magazine: Thirty Sermons You Would Never Hear in Church
  • "Beth/slash/Nathan," Paper Fruit Blogiversary Contest

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

daruma for Jane

A daruma is traditionally given to little boys in Japan, though increasingly there are "princess" darumas for little girls. What you see above is a bastard Western version of a daruma that I made from a Mini Munny. Look at the image on the screen below to see a bona fide daruma:

Next to it is the Mini Munny--here just a doughy homunculus awaiting an identity, which it will receive in a tickley encounter with some dry erase markers from the white board in my kitchen.

Since a daruma is just supposed to be a head only, I should have ripped the body off and thrown it away to make the daruma more accurate to itself and to the occasion of my geographic separation from my friend Jane. She is moving away--losing her is like losing a part of myself, or several parts of myself. An elbow, ear, and prostate, for example. Think how that would feel!

Mini Munny dolls come with a surprise accessory--Jane opened that and enjoyed the virgin surprise. It was glasses! Synchronicity at work!

When you get a daruma, you are supposed to color in one eye while thinking hard about a wish. When the wish comes true you color in the other eye. There are a lot of darumas out there with no depth perception. If Goonies had been made in Japan, the whiny kid who wanted his wish back would have been fiercely erasing the eye of a daruma instead of kicking coins around the bottom of a wishing well.

When you think of it, the angry, wish-kicking boy at the bottom of a well is a pretty good metaphor for our civilization. But the well would have to be an oil well, to symbolize our oily foods, oil-dependent transport, and oleaginous entertainments. I drive a car, so I am in the same metaphorical well I have placed everyone else in.

With its body and movable arms, Jane's is an action daruma. Possibly the first. Perverting one Asian tradition has whetted my appetite, so I may make a sand mandala next and affix it to the ground with spray glue. Death to impermanence!

Seriously, I hate impermanence and resist the notion that accepting it is good for me. It's healthy and natural to rage against any dying of any light. In Japan, if your wish doesn't come true, you may take your one-eyed daruma to a temple to be burned, in a ceremonial surrender of your wish. But, American for better or worse, I will not surrender my wishes without a fight--or at least a long, adamantine sulk.

I wrote "daruma" on the back of Jane's, as you can see above, so she would remember what it was--memory being our final grace against impermanence. If I were a kabbalist, the name on the daruma would animate it to do Jane's bidding--kicking down obstacles and scooping up wishes in its giant doughy arms.

1 comment:

Anita said...

Hmm...how interesting! Thanks for educating us about darumas. I'm sorry to hear about your friend Jane leaving.

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