Senbazuru

I have this nervous tic where I fold cranes. Any suitable piece of paper — paper napkin rings, foil candy wrappers — I’ll trim and tear it down to a square and start folding. Corner to corner, corner to corner, flatten, open, mountain fold, valley fold. I think I got into the habit around high school, when I stage managed a show set in a circus: huge inch-and-a-half wide confetti pieces were scattered all over the set, and I’d sit backstage sweeping them up, fidgeting and folding.

Right now I’m stage managing again, assisting on Book-It’s The Brothers K. Any rehearsal process has a certain amount of hurry-up-and-wait to it, whether it’s waiting to finish table work or waiting for the next scene transition. And when I’m waiting I either fidget or I get distracted by something with a screen. So a few weeks ago, I dug out a pack of small origami paper my mother gave me a while back, and I started making cranes.

 

First I finished up that pack — a little less than half the paper had already been folded and the cranes probably given away to someone or other. It didn’t take me nearly as long as I might have hoped to get through all the paper, and then to string the finished cranes together. And since it had taken so little time, I decided hell, I may as well make a thousand.

A group of one thousand paper cranes is called a senbazuru. They’re considered good luck symbols, and according to some sources, if a person folds a thousand cranes in a year, they are granted one wish. Famously, a young survivor of Hiroshima named Sadako Sasaki folded a thousand cranes after she was diagnosed with radiation-induced leukemia. Sadako and her cranes have become a symbol of a global longing for peace. I used to walk past the statue of her in the University District on a regular basis. She’s always draped with strings of cranes of every size — paper wishes, bright in Seattle’s rain and mist.

I’m superstitious enough to feel like most wishes are best kept to the wisher’s self. But it does seem appropriate, while working on an anti-war play, to fold these cranes with an anti-war intention. Or, more positively, a peaceful intention.

The prismatic string on the left here, hanging on our callboard, that’s the leftover paper I started with — probably a hundred or a hundred and fifty cranes. The string on the right is 272 cranes, the first pack of paper I finished and strung yesterday.

Just 728 to go.IMG_20160402_141807

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emerge (v).

Here’s a thing I learned today! The verb “emerge” comes from the Latin emergere, from the roots “ex-,” meaning “out” and “mergere,” meaning “to dip or sink,” so the verb “emerge” creates an image of something coming up out of liquid. Snazzy.

This is relevant because next week I get to emerge onto Seattle stages as a writer, as part of the Intiman Emerging Artists Showcase — August 4-6 at the Center House in the Armory, 7:30 PM each night. (Admission is free! Just RSVP here.)

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Look at this attractive and talented group of artists! Damn, son, that is a fine looking group of artists.

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Guys Catcall Me On The Street: A regrettably regular series

Women do not owe you their time or conversation, by Tatyana FazlalizadehLeaving Elliott Bay Books tonight after writing, I barely glanced in the direction of a couple of guys sitting on the windowsill outside Nube Green and was greeted with “How you doing, angel?” I ignored them and moved on, still lip-syncing along to whatever was playing in my headphones.

Waiting for the crosswalk outside Julia’s, still listening to music, I was approached by an obviously drunk guy who got juuust inside my personal space bubble* and initiated the following exchange:

Him: [slurred] ‘Scuse me, miss.

Me: Yes?

Him: Do you know this bar?

Me: No, I’ve never been in.

Him: I wanna drink.

Me: Well, it’s worth a shot.

Him: Let’s go.

Crosswalk light: [changes at this instant]

Me: Oh no I have to go home have a good evening bye!

He didn’t get threatening or anything, except for being slightly closer to me than I was comfortable with, but I hope I don’t have to explain why an attempted pick-up line by a drunk on a Wednesday night made me side-eye him pretty hard.

I don’t know why I keep blogging about this crap, except that a) it feels personally useful to keep a record of such things, and b) I seem to know a sufficient number of guys who have had no idea that this goes on regularly to women they know that I hope I can shed some light on the subject.

Nothing gets better if you don’t talk about it, anyway.

If you have a story to tell, you are always welcome here in the comments, or on Hollaback!

*Being five-foot-none tall, my personal bubble is probably a few inches larger than most people’s because if you are very tall and you get close to me, I have to crane my neck to see your face and that is not comfortable. My personal bubble gets even bigger and more rigidly defined when it’s after 9PM in Capitol Hill and I am by myself and you are a visibly drunk guy approaching me. GO FIGURE.

Raven, why’d you make the sky?

So I asked the raven as he passed by,
I said, “Tell me, raven, why’d you make the sky?”
“The moon and stars, I threw them high,
I needed someplace to be flying.”

– Kiya Heartwood, from “Wyoming Wind”
(via Charles de Lint’s Someplace to be Flying)

The other day I went for a walk with my parents around Green Lake, just as the sun was starting to go down. It was gray, and chilly, and the pathway was crammed with people out walking. Meanwhile, the trees were filled — filled — with crows. Like, several hundred crows, cawing and moving from tree to tree in great flocks.

It was kind of creepy and kind of beautiful, all those monochromatic grays and blacks and the raucous noise over the water, caught between Hitchcock and de Lint and Cooper.

A silvery day in Seattle

It’s the kind of day where the air is so cold it feels liquid. There’s a scene in A Swiftly Tilting Planet where Gaudior tries to teach Charles Wallace to drink moonlight, and that’s what days like this always feel like to me: that the world is full of water so cold and exquisitely clear that it’s become nearly intangible.

I think these things to make myself feel better about the prospect of spending nine hours in a metal box outside selling pies. Wish me luck.