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不高估人性,才能不低估恩典

不高估人性,才能不低估恩典

1989年12月6日,加拿大蒙特利尔大学,一名持枪男子闯入正在授课的工程学院的课堂,要求男生女生立刻分开站在教室的两边。随后,他指使 50名男生和教授离开,剩下9名女生被他以反对女权的理由一一射杀,三伤六亡,举国震惊。

我还记得大概十年前第一次读到这个案例的出奇愤怒,而很奇怪,愤怒并不是针对被击毙的凶手,而是那五十个默默离开教室的男同学。五十个青壮年,意气风发、风华正茂,面对暴力,却毫无男儿气概可言,把已知的危险留给女生。大概走出教室的刹那,还在默默感谢凶手的不杀之恩和暗暗庆幸自己得以幸存。

然而,出乎意料的是,当我试图向周围的人表达这种愤怒时,回响却十分平淡,只是同学而已,难道谁该为谁死了?可彼时16岁的我,却仍然对人性抱有许多英雄主义幻想。生而为人,彼此之间,应该有一种道义,而这种道义被侵犯,让我出离愤怒。

时隔十年,面对《奇葩说》辩题:“危险来临时伴侣手刀逃跑,该不该被原谅”,我却选择“应该”。回看当时的自己,实觉成长是天真的走失,伴随着成长的,是对人性的认识和接纳。尤其生死关头,不到那一刻,任何人都无法真正的设身处地、感同身受,因而也无权论断别人的选择。

黄花岗七十二烈士之中最为人熟知的林觉民,曾在起义前写给妻子一封诀别信,开头“意映卿卿如晤”已让人悲从中来,可是他却大义凛然,对妻子说,“吾充吾爱汝之心,助天下人爱其所爱,所以敢先汝而死,不顾汝也。”戚戚然。却历来为人所称道。在我们的文化里,似乎对“舍生取义”有着很高的赞扬和期许。“生,我所欲也;义,亦我所欲也。二者不可得兼,舍生而取义者也。”然而这是对圣人的要求,古往今来,舍生取义者少,苟且偷生者多,是不争的事实。

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林觉民

一个月前,美国拉斯维加斯音乐会上发生枪机,歹徒从宾馆高层向地面上的人群扫射,一时恐怖弥漫、硝烟四起。一个陪同儿子去音乐会的老父亲,立刻把孩子压在身下,用自己的区区肉体,保护着身下的孩子。事后他的事迹被当做英雄事迹宣传。他的名字叫Mike McGarry,他面对记者时说,“他们20岁,我53岁。我这一生很满足。”他的身上留下了很多慌乱的脚印,他却得以幸存。很多国人对这样的宣传不以为然,救了自己的孩子也算英雄么?难道不是骨肉天性?不救才凉薄吧。

相比于我们的人情社会,西方文化看起来的确更凉薄一些,但我却觉得,恰恰是这种凉薄,才是对人性更清晰的认知。而我们东方的人情社会,其实是对人性不切实际的期许。生死关头,父为子死,夫为妇死,都是英雄事迹,都是超越了基本人性的高尚情操,都应该被缅怀和歌颂。因为,本没有人,应该为另一个人牺牲。

最近引起热议的留学生江歌被害案件,弥漫着对江歌室友见死不救、事后又不思图报的口诛笔伐。三人成虎、人言可畏。人们对袖手旁观的所谓朋友的畏惧更甚于持刀杀人者。看着那一个个愤怒的留言,有时会感慨,人情社会何其温暖,却又何其复杂!我们对朋友的期待,生能两肋插刀,死能奉养父母。然而如果有人真的可以做到,其实体现的是人性的温暖善良,以及文化的代际传承。可是如果做不到,本也无可厚非,但在人情社会里,面对的道德审判却是排山倒海的。

似乎越来越多的人可以体会到直面杀人者的恐怖,避开谴责见死不救,更多是痛恨事后的知恩不报。但自古以来,就有升米恩、斗米仇,大恩如大仇等话,说明这并不是道德沦丧的个例,而是人性在面对无以为报的恩典时,选择逃避,选择宁愿没有被施恩,甚至选择希望恩人消失的普遍低劣的反应。或许作为一个幸运的普通人,我们很少直面生死关头,但扪心自问,我们日常的生活中,自觉或不自觉的抹杀掉了别人多少的恩典?男朋友为我们放弃的好的工作机会,妻子为我们放弃的事业,父母为我们放弃的生活了一辈子的故园?就连这些恩典我们都承受不起,需要经常找借口敷衍,更何况生命……

东野圭吾的话一直被引用,“世界上有两样东西不可直视,一是太阳,二是人心。”可是人心没有什么不能被直视,虽然它一再突破我们的认知下限,可是人性的败坏就是如此。

“人心比万物都诡诈,坏到极处,谁能识透呢?(耶利米书17:9)”,

“正如圣经上说:“没有义人,一个也没有,没有人明白,没有人寻求上帝。人人偏离正路,变得毫无价值。没有人行善,一个也没有。他们的喉咙是敞开的坟墓,舌头上尽是诡诈,嘴唇有蛇的毒液,满口咒诅,言语恶毒;杀人流血,脚步飞快;所到之处,大肆毁灭;平安之路,他们未曾知道;他们眼中毫无对上帝的畏惧。(罗马书3:10-18)”。

大概不能直视,是因为还没有全然认知。

可是,就是这样败坏的人性,这样本不应该有人为另一个人牺牲的世界,

“当我们还软弱无助的时候,基督就在所定的日期为罪人死了。为义人死,是罕见的;为好人死,也许有敢做的;但基督却在我们还做罪人的时候为我们死!上帝的爱就这样显明了。(罗马书5:6-8)”。

耶稣的爱,不是舍生取义,不是助天下人爱其所爱,祂明明清楚人心诡诈,坏到深处,我们明明不值得,祂却看我们为宝贵,在我们还是罪人的时候、还满口狡辩的时候、还无视恩典的时候,就为我们舍了。奇异恩典,何等甘甜!而我们又何尝不是视大恩如仇之人,这白白的恩典,我们却也不愿领受。

人性如此。直视和接纳它,可以让我们变得善良和柔软,因为它如此败坏,所以一切苟且,都情有可原。但不向人性妥协,是因为那最纯洁、最勇敢、最良善的羔羊,已经为这一切付出了代价。

最近重温见证《生命的碰撞》。中国留学生驾车不慎致使车内的白人女孩Cassie死亡。中国父母赶赴异国,一方面担忧儿子的伤势,一方面为怎样面对逝者父母忧愁。他们想好了各种对策,怎样面对辱骂、殴打、甚至起诉。但当他们见到Cassie一家人时,Cassie的父母却上来抱住他们,安慰他们,让他们“不要太自责,这是一个意外”。感动之余,他们也为自己的小人之心羞愧,转而去了解Cassie父母的信仰,最后带领全家18人信主。原来被救赎的人性,也可以闪烁这样的光辉。

不高估人性,才能不低估恩典。

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Posted by on November 15, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

《Honey&娘子》十一:婆婆妈妈

前两日,W突然说,“嘿,跟你读个笑话”。

 

原来他在The Onion (是一份以搞笑为主的模拟报纸)上读了一篇文章,标题为《妈妈利用海滩度假把所有家务搬到海边 》,

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详细描述了某妈妈距离海滩咫尺,却一直在擦拭灶台,洗擦地板,以及洗衣服、洗衣服、洗衣服……

 

待他读完,我俩面面相觑,憋笑、憋笑、憋笑……

 

不过作为一个有良知的闺女,我不能允许W笑话我妈,便先声制人,喝到,“有什么好笑的?不许笑!”

 

W指天誓日的说自己没笑,绝对没笑,最后很此地无银三百两的加了一句,“I love Mom!”

 

好吧…… 确实这次夏威夷度假,W应该受到了惊吓。今年夏天,我和W从美国出发,妈妈和弟弟从国内出发,在夏威夷成功碰头。夏威夷的海滩真是美啊,表里澄澈,阳光灿烂。不过老妈踩了两脚浪,表示,晕水,此后在沙滩边一坐五日,雷打不动。因为这次游玩租住了民居,老妈每次回到房间,就直奔洗衣机,洗洗涮涮,叫都叫不出来。W这个懒人,回家第一件事就是葛优瘫,因此别人的忙碌对他造成很大的心理压力,留下了阴影。

 

夏威夷之旅结束,我们四人一同回了费城。为了让老妈休息,我把老公、弟弟带着一起去上班。妈妈一个人在家,包饺子、包饺子、包饺子…… 休息的瘦了一圈,走之前把我的冰箱塞的满满当当,蔚为壮观,相当感人。W默默的想把被掏出来的冰棍再塞进去,简直无孔可入,老妈还在一旁交代,“立秋了,你俩都别吃雪糕了……”

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已经吃掉一半的饺子……

 

老妈走后,每日四菜一汤的日子结束,我就整天煮饺子、煮饺子、煮饺子…… 每每谢了饭,W还要正色说一句,“这是妈妈的爱,我要开吃了”,虔诚度堪比告慰神灵。

 

有时我有点同情W,因为妈妈来之前,婆婆也来了。但婆婆走后,给他留了:

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据说是W最爱吃的零食……

一盒饼干。

 

公婆的来访也十分有趣。他们从澳洲飞来,本来就路漫漫其修远兮,飞机又晚点,我去接机的时候是抱着接两个精致易碎艺术品的心态,小心翼翼轻拿轻放轻声细语。毕竟由己及人,我每次跨越大洲的长途旅行都是一副谁也别理我我要静静的死样子。然而见到他们的那一刻一切易碎的脆弱的形容词都灰飞烟灭,因为他们基本是从机场弹跳着出来,在给了我们一个大大的熊抱之后立即表示,饿死了,吃早饭!一人两片土司,两个鸡蛋,两根香肠,一杯咖啡过后, 我收敛满腹敬佩,问婆婆,“民居的房东知道飞机晚点么?现在可以入住么?”

 

婆婆潇洒的端起咖啡杯喝掉最后一口,大手一挥,“不知道,问你爸。”公公立即滔滔不绝的赞扬房东的客气以及耐心。

 

进了房间,我拉开卫生间的房门,赞叹道,“好大,还有洗衣机!”

 

婆婆当即表示,一人带了十身衣服十双袜子,出来度假,可不能再做家务了。

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难道天下的妈妈不都是一样滴么?

 

不过婆婆也有非常细心的地方。结婚前我曾向她要过W小时候的照片。她给了我一个U盘,里面从W出生到几个月前的照片都按日期整理编辑好,放在文件夹里,干干净净,一目了然。90年代时还没有数码相机,老照片都是经过扫描存在电脑里,连那些照呲了,闭眼咧嘴聚焦模糊的,全部保存下来,工作量相当惊人。而老妈在这方面,显然是没有闲心的。她仿佛特别热衷于扔东西,贮存是无法给她带来任何幸福感的。因此爸爸每次有东西找不到(其实也没有特别认真的找),就断言:“肯定被你妈扔了!”鉴于男人婚后视力急剧下降和老妈确实很爱扔东西,这种指责居然能有一半时候是对的。弟弟小时候曾经经历过一段“一夜暴富”梦,总期望能从家里找出个价值连城的古董。爸爸总在那里笑他,“就因为有你妈,也不可能啊”。

 

W 总说,我以后当了妈妈,会更像婆婆。这也没有什么好反驳的,因为我确实很懒,不想做饭、不想洗衣服、不乐意收拾,更不用说扔东西了。判断一个东西该留还是该扔总会消耗我很大的心神。不过我还是要提醒他,婆婆那样的,可不是谁想当就当的,要有一个非常体贴的老公。想公公上得了厅堂、下得了厨房,十分了得。W支吾半天,最后说,“当爸爸真是好啊……”。

唉…… 我早知道他羡慕我爸不是一天两天了!

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公婆小剧场:

 

公婆在费城一周,我们正常的上下班,每天一起吃早饭和晚饭。平日里我早饭极其简单,如今为了一起吃饭,硬生生要早起一小时。不知道是因为时差的缘故还是本身就精力旺盛,公婆早上倒是都非常精神,不仅食量好,脑子也转得快。某清晨我们看菜单,婆婆表示很多都想吃,

 

“我最大的问题呀……”她开口,大概就是想表达她最大的问题是肚里不饥眼里饥,最点很多菜,却吃不完等意思。

 

谁知阿公却接口,“你最大的问题就是我呀。”

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Posted by on October 27, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

《Honey&娘子》十:明月清风我

《Honey&娘子》十:明月清风我

人道海水深,不抵相思半。海水尚有涯,相思渺无畔。

或许应该感谢上苍,让我用这漫长的时光,读懂相思。

最近有些许怅然,仿佛回到了婚前的某种状态。前几日从加州回来,因为熬了夜的缘故,口中无味,便想吃些味道重的。一个人在家煮了鲜辣的火锅,蘸醋汁,配上酒。据说,一个人吃火锅是一种孤独的境界与标志。但这事儿,我却是常干的。过罢中秋的季节,早晚已有些指尖微凉。鲜亮的红汤在红色的小锅里冒出烟来,我捧着《红楼》趴在桌前,后腰露在外面,本有些凉,谁知知心贴意的猫儿倒跳在椅子上,用她毛茸茸的肉体暖着。几杯酒下肠,眼前的字有些忽大忽小,我便放下筷子,把书中精彩的片段念给猫儿听:“无赖诗魔昏晓侵,绕篱欹石自沉音。毫端蕴秀临霜写,口齿噙香对月吟。”不知是诗词,还是酒肉,倒也让我有了两颊生香之感。又回过身去逗猫,问她喜不喜才女。她被逗弄的烦了,便起身走了。我也关了火,追她到床上。她便在我将将吃饱的肚腹上踩来踩去。我捋着她的尾巴,看着窗外的万家灯火,真真醒也无聊,醉也无聊!

这些年来,我是常常跟猫说话的。寻常的话也不与她说,只那些在人前不好开口的伤春悲秋、自怜自艾、烦闷相思,她倒是听了一脑袋。她毛茸茸、沉甸甸的,的确帮我排解了不少。她初初来家时,W还在大洋彼岸。相恨不知潮有信,相思始觉海非深。那时候,一年半载的也见不了一次,但却神奇而顽强的靠着那么一两次,足足撑了一千五百多个日日夜夜。后来,W去了加州,见面的次数频繁了,每次都是数着日子过。每天早上的电话一接通,报出距离见面所剩的日子,仿佛成了一种礼节性的问好。十,九,八,七……

既见君子,云胡不喜?

团圆在即,回顾这七年的刻骨铭心,突然有一种小确幸,感谢上苍,给了我七年孤孤单单的时光,让我把诗词中那些入骨相思,都细细的品了。我不知道品了这些,到底有什么好,跟古人心意相通,又算什么真正的得着,但这些清冽的感情融入了我的灵魂,我不知道除此以外,还应该怎样的爱,才算深刻?我有过“平生不会相思,才会相思,便害相思”的无奈;有过“所爱隔山海,山海不可平”的愤懑; 有过“鱼沈雁杳天涯路,始信人间别离苦”的彻悟;也有过“相思相见知何日,此时此夜难为情”的煎熬。缠缠绵绵的心绪,绕在上帝的手指上,牵一发而动全身。

然而,回头去想,这些愁绪也恰合了我心中清冷的部分。它们是心灵的对话,是灵魂的诗篇。虽然我总跟猫儿自嘲我是花无人戴,酒无人劝,醉也无人管的逍遥人儿,但我其实沉迷于这份孤独,因而牢牢的抓住它,怕它走失了。所以我经常念诗给猫听,给W听。妈妈总是笑我念了也是白念,可其实妙处就在于他们的懵懂。我只是被思绪涨满了,需要说出口而已。与其说给半懂不懂的人听,被认为矫揉造作,徒增尴尬,还不如说给完全不懂的人听。没有经过别人感官处理过的感情,不变质、不变形,又完整而纯粹的收回来,铺平整,夹在诗里。或许再没有人像我这么想,人们会认为不被理解的思想没有火花,不被传达的爱情没有温度。可是,“你知道么?”我曾给W留言,“我爱我自己爱你的样子”。于我,也是另一番体验。

前几日教W几个中文常用字,随手写下了苏轼的一句“与谁同坐?明月清风我”。中文的妙处就在于可以用几个几乎初学者都认识的常用字堆积起来无尽的意境。当然,认字是第一关,后面意象的堆积与想象,各看造化。W倒是很给面子的把字都认全了,名词的累加,又毫无语法,自然理解起来也没有什么困难。我又与他讲了苏州园林里的“与谁同坐轩”。坐在亭子里,有且只有明月清风为伴,说不出的孤独与寒冷。W骨子里也很喜欢这些东西,倘若他生而为中国人,应该也另有一番领悟,如今也只能听我随便说说。他又很喜欢中国的园林,自然又扯出了一定要去苏州的计划。不过园林作为旅游胜地,即便身临其境,只怕拥堵不堪,也很难有明月清风我的体会了。W笑,“那有什么难?等我们买了沙发,你就做三个抱枕,写上明月、清风、我,不就有了?”我不禁哑然,明月、清风、我的抱枕放在沙发上,倒也是“与谁同坐?明月清风我”,还不能说他理解错了。不过想想两个穿着睡衣的邋遢人, 头发蓬乱,衣衫不整,卧在沙发上,却抱着“明月”“清风”,倒不知是大雅若俗,还是大俗若雅了。

就这样,我们已经不知不觉的在脑海里、在谈话中,布置我们的新家了。悠悠荡荡,这七年的时光,说短不短,说长不长,足够人体60万亿细胞全部更新一遍。如今这60万亿的相思,都该被一一替换了。毕竟人生境界多种:

有一种平凡,是“如今七事都更变,柴米油盐酱醋茶”;

有一种旖旎,是“笑语檀郎,今夜华帱枕簟凉”;

还有一种天长地久,是“醉里吴音相媚好,白发谁家翁媪……”

愿白发时回忆启帆的岛,没有人记得你的一切,像我记得的,那么多,那么好……

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

A different perspective

A different perspective

During my move from italic to gothic styles I picked up yet another book on calligraphy, this time Foundations of Calligraphy by Sheila Waters, which is probably now the most detailed book I have for basic technique, along with Margaret Shepherd’s book.

Actually though, the biggest breakthrough for me now came through seeing this video which is actually pretty bad (in my opinion!) except for the fact that the guy is left-handed and writes at 90 degrees to most people. So he writes the words vertically down the page towards him.

This gave me an idea because one of the biggest issues with left-handers is having to push the nib along the paper rather than pulling it. This can be a problem because the nib can catch on the paper, and spatter ink. For all this time I thought I was ok with this because I don’t get any of this, but in the video the guy says he couldn’t write calligraphy until his teacher recommended this new angle (!).

He’s an underwriter, which means that if he were writing right-side-up his hand would be below the line. I’m an overwriter on the other hand (!), curling my hand over the top of line. This gives me some advantage over underwriters with broad nibs because I can keep the same pen angle as a right-hander: the only difference is I push instead of pull. An underwriter could pull, but they’d need special nibs ground at an angle to accommodate the way their pen contacts the paper.

By rotating the paper 90 degrees and writing lines down the page towards him, forming the letters with a right-to-left motion, Klahr gets a good angle on the pen and pulls on the page, solving his problem. The only issue is getting used to the perspective, but that’s just practice. For me, the equivalent solution is a 180-degree turn: I already had the right pen angle, but I wanted to see what it was like to pull instead of push. This means writing right-to-left, bottom-to-top and all the letters are upside down.

It was glorious.

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Left: written right-side up, ink unevenly spread, uncomfortable shape. Right: written upside down, uniform ink

Except obviously now I have to write upside down like a chump, but along with Ms Waters’s book this turns out not to be so much a problem. The other thing I learned from Klahr here is it’s a good idea to save your practice sheet: like, the sheets you practice letter forms on. To me this means writing practice good enough to save, and this in turn means practising extra carefully. Practising carefully sounds obvious but if you know you’re going to save the work you’re doing it takes on a bigger significance.

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Ms Waters begins with the foundational script, which is a recent, early 20th-century script developed by the first modern master calligrapher, Edward Johnston, resembling lowercase roman. Here the letter forms tend to be based on circles rather than ovals, as in italic, and as Ms Waters develops it, it can lead naturally into gothic forms.

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Apart from more consistent practice, from here the way forward seems clear. My next project is definitely gothic, but I’ll try Ms Waters’ approach of going via narrowed, angular foundational to see how it works.

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2017 in Calligraphy

 

A (welcome) distraction appears

A (welcome) distraction appears

An impromptu adventure

So my friend Dustin is running/very recently ran a single-session DnD campaign titled “East of Enuillo” in a Wild-East-West-fantasy hybrid so crazy it just might work and sure to disrupt all worldbuilding efforts for DnD across the world hereon out.

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Man, I should’ve joined in on this one

Part of this campaign design involved construction of a pretty cool map. By his permission I got it here:

large old paper or parchment background texture

And yes, it features El Dorado. The map is adapted from Walter Raleigh’s actual map, which bizarrely is well-suited for a DnD campaign. So the map itself features two scripts: the cartographer’s script in the bottom left, and the map owner’s scrawl in the interior. The only trouble is the writing as is looks pretty clearly typeset (how about that Chiller font!), and it would be nice to have them look a bit more authentic. We thought, what if I practised a bit of calligraphy for it! Although I’ve recently been concentrating on Roman and italic lettering in the effort to learn technique properly, a bit of fun couldn’t go amiss.

The first point is that the two scripts should look distinct. The cartographer’s script might appear hand-written, but it should be clear, legible, and look at least somewhat official. So for the calligraphy here, there were a number of options:

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Top two: a kind of Gothic rotunda with Roman capitals, but it didn’t know what character to take.  Middle: Bloody uncial with those obnoxious all-caps. At least that O isn’t the problem child anymore, this time it’s the infuriatingly similar D. Bottom left: italic. Bottom right: Gothic textura, which I’ve not tried before. How about that munted ‘a’?

The map owner, on the other hand, is a foreign businessman whose script should look suitably different. At first I thought of trying some lowercase insular, with its dropped n’s and clublike ascenders, while looking reasonably suitable for a fantasy setting.

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It has its charms, but then I tried Gothic cursive, which nailed what we were trying to achieve.

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Bolded for emphasis!

The best contrast to this was probably the uncial or textura for the cartographer’s script, so Dustin and I went for that. There was one last step though: the writing on the map was much smaller! So I practised going to smaller nibs and smaller sizes:

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That was not overly easy, and of course there’s a limit to how much you can shrink the text, but I’m pretty happy with it. Finally, all that was left was applying it to the map!

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Now with new lettering!

I had a real blast doing this, experimenting with these scripts I’d barely touched before reminded me of why I started learning calligraphy. Sometimes it’s good to get away from the slow, careful practice and just do something different. Props again to Dustin for the work he put into designing this map. (Those moon symbols are particularly mysterious.)

And italics

One of the cool things about calligraphy is while it can be discouraging how bad your efforts are, a bit of practice can provide noticeable improvements, or least improved confidence. In the case of italics, I found out last week (despite actually being told this by my Margaret Shepherd book and then ignoring it) that italics can be practised every day with a regular pen. A broad nib is, it turns out, not necessary to learn the correct counter shapes and forms to write the text. Also, italics are best practised at small sizes because getting the shapes right is a matter of fine hand movements, not broad arm control. These two together mean that I’ve been able to practise during my day while writing on other things. I can prioritize the letter forms I need to learn (usually a’s, e’s, o’s, n’s and b’s, since most other forms are just variations on these) according to what I’m doing.

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This helps me tackle quotes with a bit more confidence.

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Dune’s Litany Against Fear, smudge notwithstanding

The aim is not perfection in itself but getting my hand used to the spirit of the letters. I do think I have a fair way still to go before I’ll be able to write really good italics repeatably, but I feel happy enough with all this that I can move onto (regular!) gothic to expand my basic repertoire a bit more.

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2017 in Calligraphy

 

Lowercase italics

Lowercase italics

Continuing in the theme begun by Roman capitals in my last post, I’ve been continuing to practise with italics. In typography these are very often implemented in word processors as simply oblique versions of upright styles, but in cases like this on they are genuine italics – you can tell because the a’s are different. In handwriting, italic script, or chancery cursive, is where italic typeface came from, as you’d expect. It seems that you don’t need to know any roman (properly “humanist” I guess) scripts to learn italic, but I did start with Roman capitals last time because it seems that at least to begin with, italic capitals are just oblique forms of the Romans. The fancy swashes seem to come later.

Practice, practice, practice…

Margaret Shepherd’s book Learn Calligraphy has by far the most exercises for italics compared to the other scripts. These begin with squiggles and swirls, straight lines, very slightly oblique straight lines (5 degrees!), which are amazingly hard to get consistently right by the way, and then onto basic versions of the letter forms themselves.

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I’m taking Ms Shepherd very seriously when she says “rhythm is more important than consistency” for those squiggles

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A variety of exercises from Ms Shepherd’s book. You’re supposed to do two lines of each. The o’s are, of course, not very well done here!

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I feel like I’m going through primary school

At some point you get sick of just doing the straight exercises and do just a small bit of writing. Obviously this should be done in moderation so I’ve got to just keep working at this. Unfortunately over the last few weeks my workload spiked and I’ve not had as much time to give to this but I hope this’ll change soon.

Another thing I like about Margaret Shepherd’s exercises is how they approach the letter forms themselves. The a’s and b’s are really good examples of this:

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The top line is an angular, simplified version of the bottom part of the b. The idea is it teaches the shape of the counter, the space inside the look. The bottom line is the proper version, with the corners softened and the shape smoothed out. The ‘a’ minuscule is just this shape upside down. These forms show up in g’s and p’s and q’s and d’s.

As always, there’s always more work to be done. Here’s me trying desperately to get used to consistently writing at 5 degrees. Being a left-handed overwriter I naturally slant really strongly to the right, and rotating my arm and the paper and learning to write with just the right amount of slant takes a lot of concentration.

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“Dessert”

To treat myself I tried doing an actual bit of writing.

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Dune’s opening line, because why would I pass up an opportunity to quote it?

It’s not lost on me that it looks like the entire purpose of my last post was to prepare for writing the capital “A” in this and nothing else. It did also occur to me to move the ironically misaligned “correct” to hide the fact that my guidelines slipped at the critical last moment without me noticing, but it’s better not to start down that road!

Lastly, since italic is really a cursive script I also should practise my letter joins. Might as well try a swash on the capital while I’m at it…

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I hope in my next post I’ll have some prettier examples. Once you get past the initial hump it’s really fun to see the amount of progress you can make, even though there’s clearly still a long way to go. I’m going to stick with italics for a while, maybe try and write smaller letters. It’d be really nice to incorporate these lessons into my regular handwriting, which is barely legible even to me!

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2017 in Calligraphy

 

“戏”说人生之《唐婉》—— 将你从前与我心,付与他人可?

 

我不知道该怎样评价陆游这个男人。男人,诗人,良人,想说他好,便能说出一大堆的好处来,然而若说他不好,也不是无迹可寻。他一生扮演的所有角色,都或多或少有些差强人意。

陆游,字务观,号放翁,南宋文学家、史学家、爱国诗人。这是史书对他正式的评价。他存世的作品,有“无意苦争春,一任群芳妒,零落成泥碾作尘,只有香如故”的傲然与坚贞;有“此生谁料,心在天山,身老沧州”的落寞与悲伤;有“夜阑卧听风吹雨,铁马冰河入梦来”的大气与抱负;还有“溪柴火暖棉粘软,我与狸奴不出门”的俏皮与安然。他是个多面的、立体的人物,因而后人对他评价起来,少了几分猜测,也少了几分浪漫。

越剧似乎特别偏爱陆游,确切的说,是偏爱陆游与唐婉的爱情故事,前前后后搬上舞台的有《陆游与唐婉》《唐婉》《钗头凤》等等,不厌其烦的叙述着这千古爱情。是啊,陆游这样一个才子,怎能缺少一段刻骨铭心的爱情?

陆游与唐婉的八卦从南宋传到如今,一直为人们津津乐道,大抵是因为传世《钗头凤》两首。相传陆游与唐婉少年夫妻、恩爱非常,导致陆游沉迷于闺房之中,不思进取。陆母望子成龙,岂能容忍,因此强迫陆游休妻。据说这陆母是北宋宰相唐介的孙女,说出来也是当时数得上的大家闺秀了,难道没有读过前人所写《孔雀东南飞》,年少时没有痛骂过棒打鸳鸯的焦仲卿之母么?怎的自己后来也扮演了这令人生厌的角色?亦或是为母则强,只要是为了儿子好,背上千古骂名也在所不惜呢?总之陆母强势,陆游懦弱,唐婉则成了炮灰。而后,陆游与唐婉各自嫁娶,时过境迁,二人在沈园不期而遇。在毫无心理准备时遇上少年时最浓烈的一抹色彩和一块伤疤,陆游久久心意难平,挥笔在沈园墙上题《钗头凤》一首:“红酥手,黄藤酒,满城春色宫墙柳。东风恶,欢情薄,一怀愁绪,几年离索,错!错!错!春如旧,人空瘦,泪痕红浥鲛绡透。桃花落,闲池阁,山盟虽在,锦书难托。莫!莫!莫!”才气、伤心与情谊,展露的淋漓尽致,一览无余。

后来唐婉再次来到沈园,看到题词,想起少女时代火热托出的一颗真心所落得的下场,不禁伤心欲绝,遂和诗一首:“世情薄,人情恶,雨送黄昏花易落。晓风干,泪痕残,欲笺心事,独语斜阑。难!难!难!人成各,今非昨,病魂常似秋千索。角声寒,夜阑珊。怕人询问,噎泪装欢。瞒!瞒!瞒!”也有相传此诗并非唐婉亲作,乃后人模仿唐婉语气所和。无论如何,我想这首诗写出了唐婉当时真实的处境与心情,因为此后不久,她便郁郁而终,永远的香消玉殒了。

陆游与唐婉

八卦传至此,听众不禁目瞪口呆。鲁迅曾说,“悲剧就是把美好的东西毁灭给人看。”那陆游与唐婉,实在是一出凄凉的悲剧了。他们虽是才子佳人,却也是置身于当时社会背景下身不由己的伤心人罢了,令人同情与惋惜。我一直不敢苟同“可怜之人必有可恨之处”的说法,因为沧海沉浮、世事难料,太多可怜是无可奈何。但面对陆游与唐婉这千古悲剧,我却不得不说一句,这对可怜之人,果真是有可恨之处了。

戏曲舞台上对陆游与唐婉故事的处理,我最不喜的是《唐婉》中《洞房》一折。陆游与唐婉和离后,在母亲的主持下,再娶妻子王氏。而唐婉似是为了赌气,在同一天(戏曲虚构)再嫁宗室子赵士程(史实)。洞房花烛夜,唐婉面对物是人非,唱:“身在赵家这洞房,难禁我心在陆家那洞房。一样的红烛一样的妆,一样的喜气闹洋洋……当时花烛洞房夜,斯情斯景到眼前。亦曾是红纱头上盖,亦曾是红烛映羞颜。亦曾是相依相偎入罗帐,亦曾是地久天长立誓言。谁知晓,山盟存,海誓在,天地未变人心变……我是无端被休弃,无奈另结缘。”她唱到陆务观,一脸喜色,唱到另结缘,难展愁颜。回想那一天,喧闹的喜宴,耳边响起的,究竟是序曲,还是完结篇……

唐婉在我心目中是个聪慧的女子,由她被陆家休弃后能嫁得名望家室都高于陆家的赵家来看,她的聪慧温婉不仅是后人的浪漫主义幻想,亦是被当时的世人所认可的。这样一个聪明的女孩子,经历过一次婚姻的失败,又怎会把第二次婚姻当做赌气与无可奈何?人,总归是要为自己负责的。《洞房》一折,赵士程还要配合着唐婉的回想在舞台上舞着,作为观众都有些尴尬的不忍直视。她是曾经沧海难为水了,那以大礼迎娶她的赵士程,又算什么?

感情真的很难琢磨,情不知其所起,一往而深。唐婉终身念着陆游,大家也不忍心指责,历史长河中,再嫁之人,又岂止她唐氏蕙仙!相比于唐婉,真正的可怜之人,是春秋时期息国的夫人息妫。她本是息侯的妻子,却被蔡哀侯强占,息侯一怒之下,攻打蔡国。蔡哀侯灭国难抑心头之恨,向楚文王极力描述息妫之美艳不可方物。楚文王闻之心动,灭掉息国,将息妫带回并封为王后。楚文王也是竭力疼惜息妫的,还与她育有两个儿子。然而息妫念着息侯的情谊,虽然在楚国享受恩宠,却始终不愿意开口与楚文王说话。唐代诗人王维怜惜息夫人的为难与尴尬,曾作诗《息夫人》:“莫以今时宠,难忘旧日恩。看花两眼泪,不共楚王言。”

王维以他特有的风光霁月与细腻,体会到了息妫的两难处境:前夫因自己亡国为奴,后夫对自己宠爱有加,还是两个孩子的父亲,不能爱,不能恨,进退维谷,实在尴尬。

息妫几十年如一日的坚持“不共楚王言”,这其中的心酸与坚韧,不足为外人道也!然而即便如此,还是有人称她亡国的祸水,也还是有人说风凉话,这风凉话从春秋一直说到唐朝。诗人杜牧曾作诗嘲讽:“细腰宫里露新桃,脉脉无言几度春。至今息亡缘底事,可怜金谷坠楼人。”杜牧以西晋宠臣石崇的爱妾绿珠反讽息夫人。绿珠为石崇招来杀身之祸,不惜跳楼殉情,而息侯因息夫人灭国,她却苟活世上,可耻可恨!可杜牧这货,自己却是“十年一觉扬州梦”的青楼薄幸人。呵呵。

我一直很同情息夫人。息侯是个真正的男人,因为蔡哀侯欺负息妫,不惜以举国之力攻打。息夫人为他一生默默无言,也是值得了。至于楚文王,实在很难评价。传说,息夫人在某次楚文王出宫时,偷偷潜出,与息侯相会,后来二人双双殉情而亡。而她殉情时,正值桃花盛开,因此民间又称她为桃花夫人。

周作人在评价息夫人时说,“她以倾国倾城的容貌,做了两任王后,她替楚王生了两个儿子,可是没有对楚王说一句话。喜欢和死了的古代美人吊膀子的中国文人,于是大作特作其诗,有的说她好,有的说她坏,各自发挥他们的臭美,然而息夫人的名声也就因此大起来了。老实说,这实在是妇女生活的一场悲剧,不但是一时一地一人的事情,差不多就可以说是妇女全体命运的象征。”是啊 ,“千古艰难惟一死,伤心岂独息夫人!”再嫁,是个难题,却并不是无解。

《陆游与唐婉》以及《钗头凤》中都回避了唐婉与赵士程的婚后生活,或许因为这破坏了陆游与唐婉故事的美好吧,但其实,赵士程与唐婉才是值得大书特书的。赵士程对唐婉的爱,没有陆游来的浓烈,不着色彩,却是润物细无声的。虽然南宋时期礼教还不算吃人,但赵士程娶被休弃的妇人,也是顶着很大的世俗压力的。然而作为一个男人,他默默顶起来了,把唐婉护在他的羽翼之下,在她被世人议论尝尽世态炎凉时,给了她栖身避世的别有洞天。相比陆游,当母亲的不满来临时,他很少为唐婉遮挡什么,让她一个女子,孤身暴露在婆母的狂轰乱炸之下。尤其可笑的是,陆母以唐婉耽误陆游功名为由将其休弃,陆游休妻后果然高中。这其中固然有造化弄人,但是陆游此举,无异于一个耳光打在唐婉的脸面上,印证了陆母出妻的正确性。他其实,很少为唐婉考虑过什么。

据说陆游一辈子都不喜再娶之妻王氏,因为他传世的“六十年间万首诗”中,竟没有一首是写给王氏的,在历史中,王氏也只不过是一个没有名字的、陆游与唐婉爱情的点缀罢了。然而她却为陆游生了七子二女,上敬父母、下抚子女,一生也可谓任劳任怨,却得陆游如此对待,王氏何辜!陆游懦弱无法对抗母亲,难道就该把怨气撒在生儿育女的妻子身上么?王氏亦是这场悲剧的受害者。

陆游与王氏的孩子一个个呱呱坠地,唐婉与赵士程却未育有子女,此时唐婉的处境亦是尴尬万分。又是一年春天桃花盛开,赵士程为开解唐婉,带着她沈园游玩。《唐婉——春》一折,赵士程携爱妻,唱:“十年未改沈园春,我看你是旧景赏来满眼新。这正是天若有情天亦老,何必雪泥鸿爪痕。”唐婉和:“人不能老是沉湎于过去,唐婉自蒙不弃,八年来伉俪情深,好似一梦”。聪明的唐婉,在赵士程的呵护下,已是十年踪迹十年心,终于重沐爱情。据说,一份出土于敦煌莫高窟的唐朝和离书上写着:“愿娘子相离之后,重梳婵鬓,美扫峨眉,巧呈窈窕之姿,选聘高官之主。解冤释结,更莫相憎。一别两宽,更生欢喜。” 唐婉虽然再嫁,与息妫却是不同。息侯并未背叛过息夫人,楚文王属于强夺人妻。而陆游无所作为,赵士程却默默呵护。因而唐婉有了新的爱情也无不可告人之处,大路朝天,各走一边。我断不思量,你莫思量我!

谁知天意弄人,竟在这其乐融融的沈园,又遇陆游。赵士程是个谦谦君子如兰,他对妻子满心的敬重,得遇故人,他还爽快的让唐婉去敬陆游一杯酒,自己贴心的回避。十年一梦,陆游与唐婉也该对有缘无分的曾经做一了断了。桃之夭夭,灼灼其华,之子于归,宜室宜家。如今在这绚烂的桃花下,他们也终该明白,唐婉的良人,是赵士程。

《陆游与唐婉》中,陆游其实并没有与唐婉过多的说些什么,只是看到了昔日比翼之人,与他人伉俪情深,刺激之下,挥笔写下《钗头凤》。而越剧《钗头凤》中,陆游向唐婉抱怨了怀才不遇以及奸臣当朝,唐婉则开口鼓励他建功立业,“往日已矣莫后悔,来日方长尚可追。十年一遇又别去,表兄你舒展愁眉再一杯。”这略显官方的对话,抹去了陆游唐婉特殊的关系与性格。在我的想象中,唐婉应该高举酒杯,潇洒劝陆游:“还将旧时意,怜取眼前人……”我宁愿她,是真的放下了。“我的故事,已另写一章。你的作品,是否也有新的开头?我们碰杯的时候,再没有像从前那样,碰出火花。却把记忆,碰缺了口。”钗头凤

陆游永远是那个长不大的孩子,怨天尤人。十年了,沧海桑田,他依然没有成长起来。更可笑的是,他一时兴起,将对他人妻子的爱慕写在人人可观瞻游玩的沈园墙壁上,已经平息十年的流言又平地一声风波起。与其说唐婉是被勾起旧情郁郁而死,不如说她是被陆游的一首《钗头凤》逼死的。赵士程君子般回避,陆游却公示世人,让大家随意猜测与幻想他们在沈园的桃色故事。礼教再松散,人格与体面也是不容流言蜚语猜疑的。唐婉枯萎而死,赵士程终身不娶。而陆游活到85岁,临终一首《示儿》写给最小的儿子。二人情深情浅,高下立判。

呜呼哀哉,唐婉与陆游,其实本该各自幸福。

海誓山盟是一段感情的必然结果。没有人逼迫恋人互许誓言,誓言却是情到深处的自然流露。因此一对信誓旦旦的有情人,在许诺的当下,都是无比真挚的。可世事难料,或天灾、或人祸、或等闲变却故人心,种种原因导致相爱之人不能相守。既是如此,人生漫长,风景各处,与君同舟渡,达岸各自归。放过他,重新给自己一次幸福的机会。

双桨浪花平,夹岸青山锁。你自归家我自归,说着如何过?我断不思量,你莫思量我。将你从前与我心,付与他人可!

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2017 in Uncategorized