Five Points, Vol. 12 No. 1Spring 2008
From Philip Levine, “Shakespeare was never a king or a Roman, yet he can write about them.”
Notes on a Life
May 18, 2004 Napa
I was home a short time exploring the spring green hills, cleaning spider webs out of my studio and attacking a four-foot-high stack of mail when my friend Yoshiko Wada called. She invited me to travel with her to China to see ethnic textiles. Three other people would be along, all textile professionals. I was at once so eager to stay at home and yet not wanting to pass up a unique opportunity. When I went to India with Yoshiko, she took me off the beaten track to places where there were no tourist accommodations. We slept on the floor of a government guesthouse, were eaten alive by fleas and saw women riding camels across the barren dessert in clouds of dust wearing some of the most beautiful textiles I’ve ever seen.
I sat down quietly to meditate and ask myself what the right decision was. I closed my eyes but before I could ask the question, an inner voice shouted, “Go!”
May-June 2004 Southwest China
Rice terraces extend down thousands of feet on both sides of a deep valley with the Pearl River flowing at the bottom. Each terrace is outlined with a stone wall built by hand. We are being jostled in a small bus over unpaved roads full of potholes filled with muddy rain water. I can hear Yoshiko and my travel mates Torimaru-san, a professor of textiles, and Mr. Shindo, a textile artist and teacher, a conversing in Japanese. Our two young men guides are chatting in Mandarin Chinese. The other traveler is Christina Kim. Christina sits in the front, and when I want to have a conversation, I move up to a seat beside her.