Friday, May 18, 2012


I'm beat after a long but coming-together kind of day. This morning, I rushed to the library to find and devour My Stroke of Insight. Two people here had recommended it and discussed it over lunch the other day, and I realized I had, years ago, watched her TEDTalk. I was so happy to be on the top floor of the library, nearly alone, to simply read for the morning. She hit upon something I have been struggling with mightly, the not-so-nice aspects of our mental loops that get us snagged on negativity and nagging brain chatter. We can choose to stop thinking in those ways, though it takes plenty of training. The night before, Melissa had sent me comments on my manuscript that illuminated so much for me in her special knack for tying things together and making connections with razor-sharp precision. Her articulation is outstanding. Anyhow, I came back invigorated by the book and then took a walk with the residency director to the music building to check out the practice room situation. Because my violin was ready this afternoon after two weeks of maintenance. My violin!

I have been away from it for years and am so happy to be reunited. I played a little in Marci's studio (the acoustics here are so nice but I can't play all out here--it would completely disturb the other residents). One big reason that I put the violin away for so long was that I wanted to focus more fully on papermaking and hanji. While doing all of that, I was so grateful for my musical background and how it informed the way I learned how to make and manipulate paper. But now I realize that the reverse is also true, that the papermaking (and making of things) informs the violin playing! I have such a deeper understanding and appreciation for the beautifully-crafted wooden marvel under my chin and how it breathes and changes, just like paper. I am kicking myself for not bringing Bach with me (I left it at home, fearing it would be too heavy to carry), but it will all get sorted out.

Before lunch, I got an unexpected call from Ohio and did an impromptu consultation via phone and text with Mason at the Morgan to help prepare an eastern papermaking demo for this weekend's Cleveland Asian Festival. I also fielded more of the daily emails organizing a tour for Asao Shimura in the USA this fall in partnership with Tim Barrett and got more research responses back from national collections about a hanji book to fill in the minute details of my book. In the midst of my attempts to flesh out the back matter of my book, I finally stopped to break for socializing. Marci had family in town, so we drove downtown to see a staircase, walk around, indulge in ice cream, have a drink, banter with feisty dogs, and have a filling dinner. I don't usually get to hang out with Utahians, and it's always a treat to get off campus and relax.

Throughout the day, I marveled at how my life is turning out. A couple weeks ago, I had a long phone conversation with a printmaking professor in Wyoming who was doing research on hanji. He said that every road eventually led to my name, and I told him how eerie that was. When I had started my hanji research stateside, Tim told me to watch for the names that would come up repeatedly, since those would be the people I would need to meet or know about in Korea. Now, this. It feels like witnessing shifts in constellations, or something else that I can't articulate as well as the friends and mentors I admire so much. I think that means that it's time to lay down and rest, since tomorrow brings the first real reunion with my violin, playing all out, in a soundproofed practice room.


Velma Bolyard said...

oh, good! play and play and play!

mjc said...

I love this post, not just because you made me blush ^^...but especially because of the 'all hanji roads lead to Aimee' part - and the violin / paper connection. Play on, with all of the above!

(A couple of years ago, touring a violin-making school with a group of bookbinders, we were all struck by the odd familiarity as well. We breathe along with the things we make with our hands...)

aimee said...

it's funny i didn't pick up earlier on the violin/book/paper thing but i love that they DO have those resonances.