Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The calligrapher’s prayer

    Everyone has a ritual for easing into a task.  Runners stretch, Chinese calligraphers grind ink, writers make a cup of coffee.  Calligraphers who write in Arabic have a special prayer to recite--students before they practice, and scribes before they work. 

    I like this prayer.  Every scribe--Muslim or Zen, trained or amateur, ambitious or humble--knows how difficult it is to maintain focus and bring experience to bear on writing well.  God’s help is always needed, and often found. 

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