Thursday in Santa Fe

Matt Callahan commented on March 11th, 2010 at 10:56:

I never cared for the look of my own cursive writing and stopped as soon as soon as the teachers permitted it (say around seventh grade). I’ve written in my own form of all capitals since then. I think the biggest problem I had with cursive was the fact that everyone’s writing had to look the same. Teaching methods allowed no room for an individual style while staying within the boundaries of recognition (A T didn’t look like an F).

My youngest daughter wants to learn to write in cursive but it’s not yet part of the curriculum. She practices at home and will ask me for help from time to time. I have to really rack my brain to remember how the letters are formed.

Well Matt, I am glad you are not building a house for me, because you might be tempted to express your individuality through placing bricks vertically as well as horizontally, on their side, sticking out diagonally and so on. :-)

I think of cursive letters, or any letters for that matter, as building blocks similar to those bricks. Letters and the resulting words are the building blocks of language. We need to agree on them in order for communication to happen. If one person should decide to call a tree a table, a table a cup and a cup a tree and so on, well, communication would be difficult and strenuous, if not impossible.

In my opinion, individuality expresses itself in the content that the letters represent. Letters combine to form words, words form sentences and sentences hopefully create meaning and poetry. More importantly, I believe that individuality develops over time. Two seeds from the same tree, planted in different geographical regions will produce vastly different trees – over time. I think the modern Western world entered a horrible dead end street when we started putting so much emphasis on individuality and personal expression sometime in the middle of the last century.

I applaud your daughters desire to develop a nice hand and for that reason I uploaded a sheet of my father’s handwriting. Ottokar could write at least half a dozen fonts by hand and had the most beautiful handwriting I have seen. The scan of his writing out every letter (((I asked him for this when my son was born and he was ninety when he wrote this))) has helped me a great deal, although I prefer the old German lower case z, and still find both X and x hard to write with any kind of speed. If you click on the image below, downloading of the fullsized scan is initiated. If you can’t find it on your computer, search for “Ottokar-Hand-Lg.jpg”.

It is possible that American cursive is a bit different here and there, but that sheet should get you started.

Thomas Faes commented on March 11th, 2010 at 11:02:

Piano on guitar is dull, yes. Purity should be the way. I think our organic system yearns for that. Sublime music (Italian 17th century music does that for me the most) can be like medicine, that brings clarity to the chaotic minds of the listeners today.

In 21 century we should work deeper into, and with, the fabric of the pure elements we can find, than mash everything up in the name of a, often overrated, artistic phantasy.

Nice put Thomas. Thanks!

Twenty years ago this month we had a record release party at the Eldorado Hotel in Santa Fe, for NF. The Santa Feans really came in out support that evening and the maximum allowed capacity of the room (((about 750 if I remember correctly))) was quickly reached. The hotel had to place employees by the elevator, at the main entrance and in the parking garage to turn people away.

Anyway, a Santa Fe musician sat in with us, as we performed the music from the album. He was a saxophonist and in addition to his horn he had brought one of those Yamaha electronic horns – the name of those blasted things escapes me right now. You should have seen the poisened looks he received from the whole band, when he started playing a nylon string guitar sample with his horn. He probably thought it was funny or clever, or maybe he actually liked the sound (((impossible!))).

Wednesday Morning, May 7th

I am sad to let you know that Dad passed away this morning at around five o’clock. I unfortunately missed him just by a few hours. They had checked on him around midnight and he was ok and in no pain, by the next round in the morning he had passed away in his sleep.

With dad in 1991?
In Santa Fe around 1991. Photo by Eric Swanson.Ottokar - 1
Winking – that photo always makes me smile.

His eyes were so blue.
One of my favorite pics of dad is in the “Opium”-CD booklet, but I can’t find that on my computer.


This morning it was very cold. Went to Upaya to return something I had borrowed.

Water from the Right

At noon I went back to Upaya because Roshi invited me to lunch and it was nice to catch up with friends. After lunch I noticed the sun lighting up the Buddha in the window:


Left to pick up my Negra1 (DeVoe 2002) from Keith Vizcarra, who installed his V-Pegs for me. Now I will sit down to play that guitar and this evening I am expecting Rahim, who is coming by.