Sunday, July 19, 2009

Zen Zoe

If you wander around in one of Oxford's many parks, you might meet an old lady peacefully drawing on a huge sheet of paper. Well, it's Zoe Peterssen. The rest of the story has been told many times, for instance here---needless to say that I was quite disappointed to see that many people had experienced just the same intimacy with Zoe, and that I wasn't "special" at all, she opened up to pretty much everybody. Fuck you for that Zoe bitch!

Under such circumstances, I'll just restrain to a couple of remarks.

Firstly, about her technique. She's drawing on huge sheets of paper, I told that already. What's surprising then, is that the next step is to photocopy those sheets repeatedly, reducing the size by half every time, until the tree is small enough to hold on a little card that she gracefully gives to wanderers that she likes (who are welcomed to then also give her something, a few pounds will do). So from say 2 meters to 3 centimetres, she must photocopy a drawing six times. What a labour! This shrinking process is actually akin to bonsai growing.

This comparison came to me because when I said that I was doing particle physics she mentioned a book she'd read about it, The Tao of Physics by Fritjof Capa (1975). I'd like to re-read this book.
She also mentioned bows and told the story of a man who wanted to learn archery and spent many years at it until finally he shot an arrow without feeling any shot, to which his Zen master said that he now knew how to shoot an arrow. I'd like to know how to shot an arrow.